I selected the following large Storymap's as representative examples of my information design work at The Grove where I was a lead designer on the project. Each of them were critical in moving us to another level of confidence and excitement about this big picture way of working. What these photos do not show, of course, is the rich process of facilitated design meetings that we led as a way of generating this material.
When the Harvard Business Review celebrated it's 75th Anniversary in 1997, it's anniversary issue included a six foot long "Z fold graphic history of Management Thinking in the 20th Century. A small team of historians at HBR developed the content. I developed the design, and then tested the included data and design with six Harvard Business School professors, who added their ideas. After five iterations editors at HBR added a final gloss to conform type and other details with the HBR look. On its back they included a listing of the most requested articles from HBR over those 75 years. I believe the map is available through HBR and is their proprietary IP.
This graphic vision is one of my favorites, and a very early example of The Grove's history maps. It was created before the illustrator programs were robust enough to handle this level of graphics (in the late 1980s) Everything was hand drawn, including the little credit cards. The history was created to support a new employee training program called Passport to Visa. Senior managers would come in, stand in front of the big mural, and improvise telling the story to the new employees. Since all the facts they needed were on the big chart, they could focus easily on the color and texture of their stories. The VISA management loved this history so much they gave a framed version to all of their member banks one Christmas, and have ordered at least three extensions of the history over the years. It illustrates eight layers of information. From the top, which show external evens coming in, it includes marketing messages in talk balloons, products as credit card pictures, the main revenue line, internal organizational projects as arrows, system improvements and foundational layers, international offices as additional foundational arrows, and big eras.
When the US Army decommissioned the Presidio and it became part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, the National Park Service launched a special planning process to produce an amended general plan. They needed a group to facilitate a series of community visioning sessions around the SF Bay Area and chose The Grove. To focus these sessions, we helped the NPS create this long map of total planning process. We persuaded them to illustrate not just the plan amendment process (the top blue arrow on the left of this chart), but the entire process through implementation, with suggestive material for what would probably happen. We also included the four other planning processes that were running in parallel. Under the top blue arrow is the NPS operational planning for the group taking over the park. Then came the joint NPS/Army back room negotiations around the actual transfer of property. Under that was the Army's base closure process and along the bottom the City of San Francisco's process of tracking and following the other processes. Seeing this all on one chart helped all the planners start being aware of each others work and facilitated very productive alignment through much of the planning. This long chart was put up at each of six community meetings, and explained in about five minutes to show where the visioning processes fit in the bigger picture.
In 1988 John Weigand, OD consultant to Skip LeFaux, President of Saturn, called to asked if I would help him create a visual history of Saturn. "I want to use it to orient the 3,000 new employees that are going to start working in Spring Hill when we open our plant" he said. but he had a second reason. Saturn management and labor were not in agreement about the vision of Saturn, and he needed a context in which they could work out their differences. Arguing over their history would be a unifying experience he surmised. A several hour video taped session with about 20 of the founders and two sessions with a small team who could correct facts and tune the messages, resulted in a draft that John could take to his management for approval. When he close the door on the meeting the place erupted, as different graphics provoked memories and arguments. When the thrashing was over they had a unified vision of their history, and a stronger sense of their future. Saturn commissioned an extension in 1992, an image of which was never taken, unfortunately.
This is an example of real time graphic facilitation. It's a 24 foot long mural created live at a conference vetting Nike's Corporate Responsibility Plan with 80 stakeholders in 2004. Participants brainstormed emerging external issues facing Nike using Council, Co-Vision's electronic brainstorming software, then called out the themes in a large, town hall meeting dialogue. I boarded the themes in real time and this was the result, without any touching up afterwards.
This context map I did for the California ISO at the height of the energy crisis shows how complex the environment is for anyone tring to maintain reliable, inexpensive energy. The environmental factors on the bottom right are all huge AND unpredictable. The circles are all separate bodies that are influentially involved. It was a huge act of public responsibility to keep the lights on during all the political and other gyrations swirling around the ISO in those trying times. I came away with immense respect for these unsung heroes.
At the end of the Clinton administration the US Department of Education funded a project with The Grove and The Institute for the Future to create a Storymap of the Educational Technology Horizon. Technology research from IFTF was blended with input from two focus groups with educational thought leaders to create this map. It's not readable here, but is an example of the kind of map that a group will use to learn about a new field, by reading over the various areas of information and discussing key questions. The map was designed in layers. The silhouettes along the bottom represent various classes af stakeholders. The next layer of roadways are the various technologies, grouped in five categories. They were definited in a border area to the right. The bubbles above the horizon depict storyies about possible uses of these technologies. Half the bubble is a real story and the bottom half is a projection of what is possible. These were organized around "free play," "group exploration," "individual instruction," and "orchestrated learning," corresponding with four learning arenas identified by the Institute for Research on Learning. This map is available through The Grove store. I led the project, facilitated the thought leader gatherings, and was a lead conceptual designer along with the Grove and IFTF team. The final map was created in Adobe Illustrator by Tiffany Forner on The Grove staff.