Working Visually: Key Takeaways of 2023

Subscribe to Working Visually on LinkedIn to get the newest monthly edition delivered straight to your inbox!

As this year rapidly comes to a close, we are taking a look at the 2023 editions of Working Visually and sharing our key insights into how you can improve the way you work. From visualizing digital development to transforming how government entities communicate, there’s something in here for everyone.

Are you a new reader? Welcome! Dig into our full editions by following the links provided.

Key 2023 Takeaways

  • Take a chance and visualize the possible, even if it scares you. At the top of the year, we focused on a question: what would you do if you weren’t afraid? Change and impact often come after taking the biggest chances. Learn how you can harness visual tools like roadmaps, frameworks and strategy maps to clarify your goals and the path to accomplish them and go from the impossible to possible along the way. (February)
  • Allow yourself the time to explore a problem before jumping to solutions. The unknown can be an uncomfortable space, but we’ve found that embracing the time to truly explore it can deliver the most impactful progress towards our goals. The Throughline model of Explore, Envision and Execute provides flexible structure that emphasizes curiosity and creative thought processes to fuel productive iteration and successful solutions. (March)

Throughline teams use the Explore phase to dive deep into the problem set, speak with as many stakeholders as possible, and build a realistic understanding of the environment.

  • Even the biggest ideas can be communicated visually. This year, we set out to collaborate with author Thomas P.M. Barnett and bring to life the global conversation of America’s New Map through visuals. Sometimes, books on political science, global economics and social theories are text heavy and slightly intimidating. Our goal: illustrate big, complex ideas and deliver what has been called “a graphic novel for futurists.” (April)
  • Show your audience how a new idea will deliver impact instead of just telling them. Visual storytelling enables us to simplify the complex. Next time you’re seeking buy-in and support for a game-changing idea, try leveraging frameworks, illustrations and a human-centered approach to grab and hold your audience’s attention. (May)

By bringing the value of FWCA to life, this map communicates the crucial diversity narrative with audiences who can contribute to life-changing programs.

  • But it’s not as simple as drawing a picture. You have to draw the right picture. Audience, environment, information types and desired outcomes all play a role in deciding what kind of visuals will be the most impactful. For example, while government organizations aren’t particularly unique in that they are humans doing good work for the benefit of other humans, they are often subject to a level of scrutiny that commercial organizations may not face. A tailored approach is key to developing a message that will resonate. (June)
  • Powerful, visual communication does not occur in a vacuum. The power of working visually compounds when it dovetails with ongoing team work to create holistic, impactful solutions where needed. From strategy creation to change management efforts to everyday communications, effective storytelling should build onto existing momentum to maximize results. (July)

Graphic recording, as seen above, can help bring conversations to life by illustrating ideas and dialogue in real time.

  • Even the most technical processes can benefit from working visually. The most thoughtfully designed tool in the world will go unused if potential users don’t know it exists. With the right approach and creative minds, even the most technical processes can be transformed into user-friendly experiences that deliver beneficial outcomes for all. (August)
  • Unlock new levels of learning by transforming text-heavy content into interactive experiences. While that might seem intimidating, even transitioning static documents into clickable PDFs can make a noticeable difference to information discovery and retention. (October)
  • A graphic depiction of the “big picture” dramatically increases the resonance and understanding of the messages that matter most. Big change requires big action, which isn’t possible without time, commitment and agreement. Kickstart understanding of ambitious ideas or crucial changes by providing leadership a visual they can easily absorb and confidently support. (November)

This newsletter started as a way to share our love of working visually and helpful insights for you, our readers, to apply in your work. Thank you for being a part of our community. We look forward to the next year of pushing our creative boundaries!

‘Til next year,

The Throughline Team