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Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes and Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity by David Sibbet

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Chapter 10. Problem Solving: Getting Unstuck & Thinking around Corners

The project driving Interaction Associates (IA) when they were Coro's next-door neighbors in the early 1970s was called "Tools for Change." IA had a grant from the Carnegie Foundation to study how teachers and educational systems could learn from designers and architects to apply all the methods creative people use to solve problems. Their team actually published a booklet with dozens of strategies, and these were quite influential in shaping what we tried in the Coro Program. In a way, visual meetings started with visual problem solving.

Problems are things that won't work the way we want them to. This can be as broad as a situation where there is a big gap between your aspiration and current realities, or it can be as simple as having something you rely on break. You may have a problem that a certain piece of software has a bug, or that a storm has closed down transportation, or there isn't enough money in your budget to hire the staff you need. Whether problems are full catastrophes or small annoyances, they all spring from a common source—a mismatch between expectations and reality.

In meetings that focus on problem solving, visualization is a true power tool. It's no accident that designers, architects, and engineers, who think of themselves first and foremost as problem solvers, all use visualization centrally. This chapter shares some of the most tried and true applications. We will begin with the basic ...

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