How to draw what can't be seen?
We talked in our last post about some of the frustrations we've experienced in recent years, as we've tried to use commonly used language to explain our mental models, which we know are unconventional.
Time and time again we've sweated over copy for social media, presentations, and website pages striving to try and explain something that's so fundamental to our way of thinking and being, that we find it hard to see why others can’t see it.
This really isn’t arrogance! It's just that we've steeped ourselves in this work, we live and breathe it - working in groups daily, eternally fascinated and enchanted by them - and we're now of an age where this work is in us. It isn’t just stuff we know, it's part of us.
Back in January 2022, we developed website version 999 and took the copy to some friends in the field to ask their views. As we shared the ideas and content with colleagues, they did their best to be constructive, but we felt our own boredom as we shared our work. It was just a load of the same blah-blah!
We almost cried. Honestly, we might actually have cried. It was so frustrating.
We feel the magic in some of the amazing groups we work with and we're clear that it can be created by anyone who's truly up for it. But we couldn't put it into words!
A powerful energetic force emerged from our frustration though, and it lead us to a new way of explaining ourselves.
If words alone can't do it, we invoke time-honoured wisdom, and turn to images to help tell the story.
We all know that the most powerful stories combine words and visuals and when we connected this with our dear friend, Tom Benthin (Illustrator extraordinaire!), this started to come to life for us too.
Over the last two months we've worked with Tom to create this short animation that explains our mental model for group work by contrasting it with current, more pervasive and conventional views and practices.
There's nothing wrong with convention in certain contexts. Tried and tested works in a tried-and-tested world. But we don't believe the future is where this is at. There's very little in the world right now that seems to be responding well to the ways we've done things in the past. Time for a different way...
We hope our attempt to tell our story raises awareness of what is, and sparks curiosity for what might be in those who are open and ready for something different.
We invite you to take a look and hope that it stimulates your thinking about how we can work with groups and teams, if only we're willing to venture to the dark side and meet in magic...