Working Visually to Drive Enduring Change

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Big change requires big action, which isn’t possible without time, commitment and agreement. Ensuring change lasts where, when and how it’s needed most can be challenging. At Throughline, we’ve found that communicating visually builds the buy-in and support needed for change to endure even in the most complex environments. A graphic depiction of the “big picture” dramatically increases the resonance and understanding of the messages that matter most, enabling audiences to more confidently support the change needed to achieve success.

A prime example of this can be found in the cybersecurity space where leaders must prioritize changes to improve security and resilience in the face of a multitude of evolving threats and industry developments. In a time of tightening budgets, tech leaders fight a continuous battle to communicate how changes to everything from employee training to hardware investment are key to staying competitive, meeting organizational needs and thwarting adversaries.

Harnessing Visuals to Secure Resources

In need of a visual solution for change, the CIO of the U.S. Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command (NAVFAC) came to Throughline to help elevate conversations around the overall security of its facilities and safeguard thousands of industrial control systems from cybersecurity threats at sea and ashore. With no time to waste, the Command wanted to share its vision succinctly, make the case for resources and articulate material outcomes of being properly staffed for global security across the Navy.

Throughline took a human-centered design approach through research and information gathering to understand the many infrastructure and technology complexities needed to execute advanced security protections. We worked closely with the CIO and his team in a series of facilitated information exchange sessions with stakeholders across the NAVFAC organization. The resulting graphically-recorded visual artifacts served as foundational elements for the enterprise Ashore Cyber Framework and Strategy with the following objectives:  

  1. Foster a culture of cybersecurity awareness and cyber-savvy professionals across the enterprise
  1. Implement industry best practices for designing, implementing and maintaining ICS and support infrastructure
  1. Develop a consistent and iterative approach to identifying, assessing and managing cybersecurity risk to maintain availability, integrity and confidentiality of all systems

The Ashore Cyber Framework Map helped  NAVFAC tell the story of the major threats and challenges they faced, the task forces and processes they were putting in place to address them and the federal policies they were meeting through this strategy. The map enabled them to quickly gain  funding for 100 new full-time employees and perpetuities across the fiscal year, and they were able to add a whole new division  in  IT(public works and CNIC) in their five-year funding plan. 

It went around the world—briefed in Japan, Hawaii, Italy, Bahrain and Guam. Everyone knew about and had seen the Ashore Cyber Framework Map and what NAVFAC's role was in it.

The map was blown up to large-scale sizes and socialized around the Pentagon and throughout the Navy SES offices. It went around the world—briefed in Japan, Hawaii, Italy, Bahrain and Guam. Everyone knew about and had seen the Ashore Cyber Framework Map, and what NAVFAC's role was in it. So, the map not only provided details that enabled important conversations around what was needed to implement the CIO’s plan but also elevated  NAVFAC’s status and put the organization on a platform, with the Command Information Office leading that charge.

Working visually helps make ideas and innovative change stick. If you're preparing for change in 2024, consider harnessing the power of visual communications to increase the impact and endurance of that change across your organization. Need help or inspiration? Shoot us a note! We'd love to take on the challenge with you.

'Til next time,

The Throughline Team