It‘s usually in a moment of feeling blocked or stalled that there’s a fierce temptation to seize the nearest reasonable solution. This is when we need a tolerance for ambiguity. It means staying in uncertainty, or staying with the question, despite the discomfort of not knowing the answer, or not knowing where we’re headed. It requires relinquishing control – even though a solution isn’t always guaranteed – to make room for new and emerging connections to crystalize into a clear direction.
Graphic recording (also called graphic facilitation) requires a number of talents: artistry, certainly. You have to be able to draw. You also have to be able to listen and synthesize. It’s not far from a simultaneous language translator or sign-language interpreter; you have to be able to listen and translate – in this case from words to images – at the same time.
Workshops can be expensive. You need a budget for hotel and food and the meeting organization. The travel is an additional financial and carbon cost. These days its hard to coordinate people’s calendars so that you can actually get the right people in the room to address the challenge. So as much as we enjoy facilitating workshops and working face-to-face with groups, KI has also been exploring how to take advantage of the virtual capacity that, each year, is more and more realistic and user-friendly.
Some people think that creativity is a bit of magic or genius – it can be – but we’d argue that it’s possible to be very deliberately creative by using a process. KI’s methodology is based on the Creative Problem Solving Process (CPS), a multi-step model developed by a businessman and an academic in the 1950s. The premise is that creativity is not uniquely a Eureka experience, but that we can apply a deliberate method to produce new ideas and novel results. Creativity doesn’t have to be an accident or a bit of luck; you can do it on purpose.
Online networks like these make it easier to connect with strangers. No longer are we confined to swimming into the small sea of connections in our own discipline. You can discover and tune into the conversations of strangers, and – if you are willing to invest time into building personal relationships online – you can turn strangers into friends and collaborators. And that is good for creativity, and good for science.
One of the hardest parts of being a facilitator is the timekeeping. On one hand, our role is to guide people toward interesting conversations, to help them relax and get to know who’s in the room so they feel comfortable thinking out loud, taking intellectual risks and tapping into their stream of consciousness. At the same time, there is a workshop agenda and in order to stay within a reasonable schedule, sometimes we have to drive things forward.