Case study: Old’s Cool Intergenerational Project

Case study: Old’s Cool Intergenerational Project

In April 2021, we caught up with Ryan McKay from the Citadel where he shared how his young people from their Old’s Cool Intergenerational Project benefited from learning drawing and visual storytelling skills.  

 

What is Old’s Cool?

The Old’s Cool Intergenerational Project was launched in August 2015, and it supports young people to facilitate intergenerational activities with older people in their community and to record and present their work in a medium of their choice.

 

Why make use of drawing?

During a pandemic, it was always going to be difficult to deliver Old’s Cool.  With the added challenge of having to bring together both young and older people over Zoom, it was vital we used an approach that could engage both generations successfully.   As a graduate of the secrets of simple graphics course, when our young people expressed a desire to explore a creative method of capturing their Covid19 stories with older people, I knew Emer was the ideal partner to support us.

 

What did you do in your sessions?

Over the course of the project, Emer delivered 3 sessions exploring drawing and visual storytelling skills, with one taking place over Zoom and two in person at the Citadel.  Following this, our young people interviewed the older participants primarily over Zoom using their new drawing skills to capture their Covid19 stories.

Our first session over Zoom delivered an introduction to drawing and despite some considerable technical issues, the experience provided a fun and engaging way of connecting both generations.  Zoom can often feel very artificial, and this was especially true for our older participants who were new to the platform.  However, by focussing on drawing we were able to provide a familiar experience, which in turn, enabled us to focus on connecting with one another.

 

Case study: Old’s Cool Intergenerational Project

“Zoom can be hard at times, but it’s always amazing to see the young people.” (Mary – Older Person)

 

For our second session, Emer trained the young people to utilise icebreaker drawing activities and visual recording techniques.  The young people then used these techniques when interviewing the older participants.

“We used the ice breaker exercises to allow our brains to start thinking more creatively, as well as it being an exercise that all generations found easy and fun!”  (Macie – Young Person)

 

For our final session with Emer, the young people were led through an interactive final graphic workshop, to collate all the stories they had captured from the older people.  These stories were categorised by theme, helping to highlight the similarities and differences in how the young and older people experienced the Covid19 pandemic.  Having a final graphic also provided the young people a finished project to share.

 

Case study: Old’s Cool Intergenerational Project

 

What did you learn?

The young people ended their Old’s Cool experience by delivering a presentation sharing their learning as part of the intergenerational place making  Age-Friendly-Living-Ecosystem project. This included sharing their final graphic and their top 3 tips for delivering digital intergenerational work:

  1. Don’t overcomplicate it – sometimes using the tried and tested can work just as well.  On one session we struggled to get Zoom working so we interviewed the older person over the phone, and it was great!
  2. Have a backup – when thinking about this tip, our young people all agreed when you go on holiday you should always remember to pack extra underwear! This is a funny reminder to always have a backup plan, as delivering any digital work will inevitably have unexpected challenges.
  3. It’s not all about technology – when delivering digital intergenerational work, it can be easy to become preoccupied with technology.  Remember it’s relationships that really matter and don’t forget to consider the feelings of the older people you are trying to connect with.

 

 

Anything else you would like to add?

 On completing 11 sessions of Old’s Cool and over 30 hours activity our young people had this to say:

“In a nutshell, digital intergenerational work has its challenges, but it’s super rewarding and lots of fun!”

Case Study: Anat’s Story

Case Study: Anat’s Story

We caught up with Anat Shabi, who attended Secrets of Simple Graphics Online in June 2020, to ask some questions about her experience.

Anat Shabi SOSG June 2020 Case Study 2

What motivated you to attend the training in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the training would address?
As a facilitator, I used to spend hours guiding and capturing group learnings on flipcharts (remember those?) I wanted to simplify the communications and believed that simple graphics would add an element of clarity and fun.

Whilst I loved the idea of graphics, I lacked confidence in my ability and had no idea how or where to begin.

How are you using what you’ve learned?
Simple graphics now feature in many of my social media posts. They make for a refreshing change and get my ideas across with greater clarity. Prior to this, I used to spend ages looking for the right image to go with my post. Now I can just create it.

More recently, I have created postcards with build instructions for mindful Lego®SeriousPlay exercises. Postcards are pretty small and as such I couldn’t squeeze much information onto them. The use of graphics helped simplify the text and introduce an added element of fun.

Anat Shabi SOSG June 2020 Case Study 4

 

What kind of results are you getting? What kind of feedback are you getting?
It seems that people are more appreciative of a post that looks a little different. My social media posts which include graphics tend to generate more responses.

In addition, at a time when most communications occur online, the use of graphics has injected light-heartedness into my presentations, appreciated by my audience.

Anat Shabi SOSG June 2020 Case Study 1

What would you say has been the overall impact of using visual thinking/simple graphics in your work?
Simple graphics have enhanced my communications. They are a great attention grabber and have worked well to help simplify wordy narratives.

On a personal level, the use of simple graphics has boosted my confidence in my ability to draw. It is a fun, colourful and mindful exercise which has stimulated my creative thinking with surprising results.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
Just do it! Emer is a wonderful guide, making the learning journey simple, exciting, and easy. You will be surprised at your own creativity!

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you Emer for making something that seemed beyond my reach attainable, and so much fun.

Anat Shabi SOSG June 2020 Case Study 3

Anat Shabi is a business development facilitator and coach based in London. She works closely with Healthcare managers to help build strong platforms for team growth and success.  Her workshops are enriched using Lego®SeriousPlay, an innovative and creative tool that helps to explore thinking, expand on ideas, and build strong connections.

All the artwork in this article has been created by Anat.

 

Feel inspired by Anat and keen to get creative in 2021? Book your place now for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics Online 6-week course.

Already been on Secrets of Simple Graphics? Reignite your passion with our *brand new course* Even More Secrets of Simple Graphics starting April 26th. Find out more here >>.

 

Case Study: Beth’s Story

Case Study: Beth’s Story

We caught up with Beth Collier, who attended Secrets of Simple Graphics Online in June 2020, to ask some questions about her experience.

What motivated you to attend the training in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the training would address?
enjoyed drawing as a child but stopped when I was about 10 years old. I always thought I had more enthusiasm for drawing than natural talent!

How are you using what you’ve learned?
It’s sparked my curiosity for more artistic endeavours – and renewed the joy I once found for drawing. I’ve done more drawing (including Emer’s videos) with my daughter, and a Picasso painting class. I did a hand-lettering course, a course on making GIFs, and I’ve also been teaching myself how to use Canva.

 

What kind of results are you getting? What kind of feedback are you getting?
I’m having fun and I’m learning – and that was the goal.

I have shared a few of my drawings on LinkedIn, and I hope it encourages people to try drawing – regardless of their ability. I believe they can improve their skills – and use drawing or other artistic endeavours to have fun.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
Go for it! Emer is a kind and supportive coach, and you CAN learn how to draw simple graphics.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you, Emer!

 

Beth Collier is a communication, creativity, and leadership consultant based in London. Through team workshops and 1:1 coaching, she helps her clients become more capable and confident speakers and writers, and more creative thinkers and leaders. She weaves her experiences from 15+ years in the corporate world (and plenty of pop culture references) into her writing, which can be found on her website.

All the artwork in this article has been created by Beth.

 

Feel inspired by Beth and keen to get creative in 2021? Book your place now for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics Online 6-week course.

Case Study: Secrets of Simple Graphics Online with Rachel Weiss

Case Study: Secrets of Simple Graphics Online with Rachel Weiss

We caught up with Rachel Weiss, who attended Secrets of Simple Graphics Online in June 2020, to ask some questions about her experience.

What motivated you to attend the training in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the training would address?
Our work at Rowan is intangible since we deal with emotional intelligence, ie managing one’s own thoughts and feelings our responses to others’.  I hoped that simple graphics would help me illustrate our work more vividly than just talking about it.  I wanted tailor-made images rather than searching for a suitable, copyright-free image online.  And I wanted to have some fun!  I hoped that creating graphics would become a new lockdown hobby.

How are you using what you’ve learned?
In several ways!

  • I’ve used simple graphics to illustrate our COVID-19 precautions for returning to face-to-face counselling and coaching
  • At business networking events, I’ve used basic graphics to support my 60-second spiel on Rowan Consultancy services
  • I’ve also used simple graphics as part of my slides to illustrate talks on Mental Health Awareness

What kind of results are you getting? What kind of feedback are you getting?
On the COVID-19 poster, the graphics help to keep the human touch, in what could otherwise be a forbidding list of injunctions. In networking events, people have told me that they will remember Rowan’s services better because of the graphics.  The graphics helped me stand out from the many other businesses each giving their 60-second overview.

What would you say has been the overall impact of using visual thinking/simple graphics in your work?
I feel embarrassed about sharing my very imperfect drawings, so it has made me be vulnerable and pushed me out of my comfort zone, which is good for me since I am used to being competent.  The graphics make our training slides stand out from the usual stock images and grab the audience’s attention, even if it’s just to marvel at my chutzpah in sharing such scrappy graphics. When we return to face-to-face work, I believe that drawing simple graphics live will make my training more engaging and also give participants time to think while I draw.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
If you want to learn a new skill, enhance your training or talks, and meet interesting people, then sign up for Emer’s Secrets of Simple Graphics course. The more you put in, the more you will get out, so allow time to practice each week and take the risk of sharing your imperfect drawings.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you Emer for a great course, your mixture of support and challenge helped me grow. I improved my graphics skills and countered some of my self-critical thinking and assumptions about competence. It was particularly encouraging to learn that a graphic only needs to be 30% accurate to be recognisable.

 

Rowan Consultancy works in partnership with people to help them lead more satisfying lives through counselling, coaching, training, and mediation. Rachel founded Rowan in Perth, Scotland in 1997, now they have a network of over 50 consultants from London to Inverness.  In 2017 Rachel founded Menopause Café, a charity arranging pop-up events worldwide, where people meet to drink tea, eat cake and talk menopause. 

The artwork in this article has been created by Rachel.

Feel inspired by Rachel and keen to get creative? Book your place now for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics Online 6-week course.

Case Study: Secrets of Simple Graphics Online with  Emma Williams

Case Study: Secrets of Simple Graphics Online with Emma Williams

We’re speaking with Emma Williams, who attended the inaugural Secrets of Simple Graphics Online back in April 2020, to ask her a few questions about her experience.

What motivated you to attend the training in the first place? What problems were you experiencing that you hoped the training would address?
I wanted to top up my skills following the face to face course, provide a creative outlet for myself in these weird times and learn how to use graphics digitally.

How are you using what you’ve learned?
I have built graphics into all aspects of my business. From pictures for my blogs, social media, and newsletters to using drawing in my virtual training events. I have drawn ‘live’ on the whiteboard and encouraged my participants to draw out aspects of their learning using pen and paper and then sharing it over zoom. I also use it now to plan and plot – I’m a visual thinker but it is lovely to have things that look nice too!

What kind of results are you getting? What kind of feedback are you getting?
I have had comments about the pictures in my newsletters and normally no-one says anything! Also, I think the participants enjoy the variety of visual things in the VLT (Virtual Live Training).  My son, age 13, asked me to help him with his art homework!!!

What would you say has been the overall impact of using visual thinking/simple graphics in your work?
I feel it adds another string to my bow, gets me noticed, and benefits my participants.

What would you say to someone who is considering going on the training?
It’s so much fun! Don’t be afraid if you are at stick man level. Just a simple frame has transformed my flip charts!

Anything else you’d like to add?
Emer is so warm and welcoming you will have a great time and it’s a real boost to your confidence.

Emma provides career illumination for PhD+ researchers having ‘been there and worn the lab coat’ herself. Working face to face, virtually and with online courses, she helps these bright people make the most of their fixed-term contracts to navigate towards the career of their dreams – even if they don’t know what it is yet!.

All artwork in this article has been created by Emma.

Feel inspired by Emma’s experience? Book your place now for the next Secrets of Simple Graphics Online 6-week course.

Three Horizons: A Strategic Visioning Tool

Three Horizons: A Strategic Visioning Tool

I went along to the Facilitators’ Network here in Edinburgh and learned about a strategic visioning tool called Three Horizons.

It’s a tool that allows us to imagine what an ideal future (H3) may look like.

The following diagram gives us an opportunity to reflect on three co-existing horizons and the interplay between them.

H1 represents the status quo. When we ask ourselves what H1 looks like we consider what’s happening right now and within that we consider what keeps things going and needs to stay. Conversely we also discuss what we need to let go of and what no longer serves us.

H2 represents innovation. It’s an entrepreneurial space. It’s about trying things out and prototyping.
H2- may look new and different but it’s really just a version of H1.
H2+ takes us into H3 (future) space and asks the question ‘What can we try?’

In H3 we explore further what this imagined future looks like.

By exploring the dynamic of the H1, H2 and H3 horizons we begin see possibilities and opportunities for change and we imagine what that change looks like within a safe space.

On the day we did a practice run of the tool under the topic ‘Future City’. We were tasked to break off into groups and go around the city taking photos of things we imagined may be H1, H2 and H3 Future Edinburgh. It was great fun and an interesting way to collaborate, discuss and imagine our ideal Future City.

Here’s a photo our group took that represents H3 – we were going for ‘playfulness’ ( whilst reflecting the future pedestrianised George Street of our imagination…)

Image courtesy of Sabina Strachan

I love learning about strategic visioning tools as it’s an area I work a lot in. I also love blending and weaving different tools to find the right fit for my client. If you would like to have a chat with me about planning for you or your team’s future, get in touch via email or give me a call on 0131 554 6551.

Thanks and all the best,
Emer