We’ve been drawing
This week we broke out our artistic skills and created Rich Pictures. Of course, the point of creating a Rich Picture is to explore a situation, find out what is going on from a variety of perspectives and tease put problem areas, rather than demonstrate artistic prowess. Having said that, I think we did both.
If you recall, last week’s homework was to look at the “problem” the Five Year Forward View (FYFV) is trying to solve and to create a Rich Picture to express it. This was a fairly artificial exercise in that we referred to the problem statement within the FYFV rather than primarily exploring it from personal experience and it’s also a case of working backwards as the “solution” is already in place in the form of the FYFV. Nonetheless, it was a useful and interesting exercise and gave us an opportunity to practice creating Rich Pictures.
Presenting our Rich Pictures
We had a total of 3 Rich Pictures in our session yesterday. One by Sam, another by Lee and the third a joint effort by Mary and me. Each is quite different. I think I can safely say that my artistic capabilities are the worst of the bunch. I don’t mind though. It was good to move beyond any self consciousness about lack of artistic talent, and just get on and have fun doing it. I must admit I sometimes found it hard to think of a visual representation for something, and reverted to words, bubbles and arrows, but I think that’s OK.
The important thing is that we explored the problem and practised how to express it through visual means. Have a look at the pictures below:
So, what did we learn?
We need to keep practising. We need to explore the relationships between elements and problem areas more. Simply putting arrows linking things is OK, but the nature and effect of those arrows/relationships needs to be expressed. How does the relationship feel. What is the experience? Remember, Systems Thinking is as much about the relationships and interactions between things, as it is about the things themselves.
We also need to involve more people. It’s ok for us to sit in solitude and create a Rich Picture, but when we get into using them in real life problem situations we will need to involve a variety of stakeholders in the creation process. This is important to make sure the true “richness” of the situation and interactions within it are captured and understood.
It also became clear this is an iterative process and it’s never really complete. We all wanted to go away and redraft our pictures to capture things we’d not expressed, or to refine the things that we had.
We’ve decided to keep practising with Rich Pictures. In next week’s sessions we will firstly spend a little time showing and discussing the work we’ll be doing for homework this week. We will then cover the table in paper and get down to collaborating to create a large group Rich Picture. It’s going to be fun.
So what is the homework?
We’re splitting up into sub-groups and each will take a different aspect of the big problem and create a Rich Picture for it. Lee and Jan are to look at the relationship and roles played by health care and social care. Sam and Matt are going to look at the role the changing population profile is playing, and Mary and I are going to look at the provider and commissioner space. If those of you who didn’t make it to the session want to drop me a line, we can work out what aspect you might look at. It’s well worth having a go at this.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what we come up with!
Enjoy your weekend,