A common response to the risk of losing knowledge is to capture or document it. This is a worthy activity. However, how often is what is captured or documented, actually read or used? One factor may be the format or medium used to present the knowledge. This blog presents some creative ways you might package knowledge to make it appealing, and more importantly easy to digest and thus apply.
* Recipe metaphor
One expertise I have and use is in designing and leading the change process for an organisational change. I like to employ creative ways of engaging with people in change to providing a meaningful experience while also addressing their wellbeing (physical, mental and emotional). I redefined a ‘go-live preparation’ activity using the analogy of air travel. In order to share the idea with other practitioners, I used the metaphor of a recipe to explain the essential elements and thus enable others to easily replicate and even adapt the idea for other contexts.
* Game show presentation
When the opportunity arose to present a client case-study at a conference on ‘managing change (as a designed user experience)’ , I gave the conference participants their own user experience with a game-show format. I packaged the knowledge of the case study into 12 mini packages (1 slide, 3-4 min of talking points) that become elements of the game-show. The audience chose from the 12 about the aspects of the case study they were most interested in.
Sample ‘Managing change as a designed user experience’ [45 min audio with video of the slide deck]
* Graphical resume with timeline
Somebody has already down the work of curating a small collection of resumes to inspire doing things differently. A key idea is turning your chronological work history into a graphical timeline.
* Graphical rich report of survey results
Kea New Zealand exists to connect ‘talented Kiwis and Friends of New Zealand’ around the world. (I’m a Kiwi!) One of their activities is to survey expatriates to understand their choices about living away from NZ and engaging with NZ from a distance. The 2013 report of this survey is visually rich in graphics, colour and icons. How more compelling is this to read and understand than pages of prose, plain tables and bullet points?
* Advice about better practice in an infographic
There are often arguments that if you want to motivate people to change their behaviour you need to offer social proof; or use facts and figures; or use colourful images. Here is an example combining all of these.
Sample ‘Taking Breaks at Work’
Other advice includes provide a compelling narrative (aka story); or a large dose of humour that might trigger awareness of a reality we haven’t been prepared to face – we are laughing at ourselves!
* Graphic recording of group conversation
One master of the art of graphic recording is Lynne Cazaly. She offers a worthwhile and recommended learning sessions called ‘Catch-It’. Learn how to visually think and record the conversation of a group in real-time. Rather than read about this – experience it!
Sample ‘Video showing graphic recording by Lynne’ (1:45 min)
These references in my collection have been a source of inspiration and practical guidance to me in creatively packaging knowledge. .
- Information Anxiety 2, by Richard Saul Wurman
- Slide:ology – The art & science of creating great presentations, by Nancy Duarte
- Really bad PowerPoint (and how to avoid it) (PDF), by Seth Godin
- Universal Principles of Design, by William Lidwell, Kritina Holden and Jill Butler
- The Back of the Napkin, by Dan Roam
- Enchantment – The art of changing hearts, minds and actions, by Guy Kawasaki
I hope this selection has got your creative juices humming. As a knowledge worker we often create knowledge products – let’s find and use ways to do this innovatively. I hope you will share other examples you have created or have seen.
Helen Palmer is Principal Consultant at RHX Group. She thinks critically about knowledge work and how to ensure knowledge isn’t wasted. She revels in tackling the big processes of change and learning, so that ideas become impact. With her colleagues at RHX Group, Helen helps teams make better use of their people, knowledge and information.
Image credit: Microsoft Online Clipart