As I develop new products I grab the people around me to test everything. A couple of years ago I was vacationing in Cabo San Lucus with my parents and I asked them to try out an exercise using a prototype of the VisualsSpeak ImageSet.
Present and Future
At the time I was testing images, so I was asking everyone to make images of their present and future. I gave them 2 pieces of paper to assemble their images. Using the space between the sections to describe the transition was optional.
Using Piles of Images
My Dad did something I hadn’t seen up to that point. He created piles of images. They were spaced across the pages. When I asked him to tell the story of his image, he told me about the images on the top of the piles.
I suspected there was something more, so I asked him what was in the piles underneath.
Animals, animals, and more animals
There were all sorts of pictures of animals underneath the top of the piles. Not just any animals, mostly Alaskan animals. Turns out, my Dad had this dream of going to Alaska.
I remember my Mom turning to me with a comment about being married to him for almost 50 years and not realizing this. I know it was the first time I heard about it.
With a clear goal things become possible
In the initial conversations, the obstacles to going to Alaska were much clearer to my Dad than the possibilities. Once the dream was revealed then the challenges could be worked on with help from others.
It took several years to put all the pieces together to make this dream come true. However, on the week he turned 80, he left with my Mom for the three week dream trip to Alaska.
This is why I use visual tools
Secrets, insights, dreams, and new ways of looking at things come out all the time using visuals. While this is a story about something that is important to me personally, I have seen similar things happen in relationships, groups, and organizations.
- It’s not that the tools are magic. It is the conversations that happen as a result of using them.
- It’s the way the visuals activate and reveal other ways of looking at things.
- It’s the way they gently tug on the subconscious and unconscious aspects and reveal them to us.
- It’s the way I was able to see a part of my Dad that I didn’t know was there.