You know it’s not going to be your average business meeting when you walk into a conference room and the first thing you notice is that several walls are covered with big, white, blank sheets of paper. The reason for the meeting could be as familiar as ever—“team/leadership building,” “product/service development,” “strategic visioning”—yet this time around, the experience will be different. It will be more inclusive, more memorable, more inspiring.
In this meeting, participants’ verbally communicated thoughts will gradually take shape on these pieces of paper in real time, which, by the end, will have become a colorful, intriguing, idea-rich series of murals. The result? Not only will everyone in the room be able to see—literally see—what one another have been thinking, they will also be able to visualize how their ideas fit together…a perfect breeding ground for co-creativity.
Connecting Words and Ideas
So, you’ve walked into this room with big pieces of paper taped to the walls and joined your colleagues who are seated around the long table in the center of the room, or on chairs in a meeting hall. Pleasantries are exchanged until the announcement that it’s time to begin. The room gets quiet.
The leader explains the reason for the meeting, and the hoped-for outcomes. Cue the visual journalist. Colored markers (and maybe a few pastels) in hand, she introduces herself as the person who will be drawing everyone’s ideas: “I am here to capture the emerging ‘big picture’ that you will be co-creating in the process of your meeting. I’ll capture a little of what’s in between the lines, and how your thoughts fit together. We’ll look at the murals together from time to time during the day, and please let me know of anything I missed!”
Once people begin to talk, she begins to draw. Perhaps the topic at hand is the company’s vision or mission statement, which takes the shape of a brilliant sun at the top of the mural—each vibrant yellow ray containing a word or phrase that represents a core ideal of the company, and each ray is streaming down from a like-colored orb labeled, “Company Vision.” The words and ideas on the mural are solely those uttered by the participants, whereas the visuals are the visual journalist’s interpretation of the connection between those words and ideas.
(We’ll check back in on this scene later on.)
Summoning the Group’s Muse
In our last blog post, we defined co-creativity as we understand it and, in this one, we’re going to delve into the importance of visuals—what we call “visual journalism”—in the cultivation of co-creativity. Since the last post, it dawned on me that although we at Visual Insight talk frequently and at great length about co-creativity, we have yet to explain why it’s a big part of our business.
Co-creativity is the central goal of Visual Insight. It is the ideal end result of muralling the ideas of a group. Or, to put it another way, we believe that the ultimate purpose of muralling a group’s ideas is to facilitate co-creativity.
Visuals are the perpetual catalyst for a co-creative environment: The more ideas there are, the more visuals there are, the more cohesiveness there is among the group, the more leading-edge thinking there is among the group, the more ideas there are, the more visuals there are…and so on. (Think “spiral growing outward and upward.”) Moreover, the muse is omnipresent in a co-creative environment, and the act of muralling can either capture or summon the muse of the group, and thus reveal the group’s collective vision.
The meeting is well underway. Group members are present and engaged—leaning forward, making eye contact, nodding emphatically, feeding off of each other’s energy—while the visual journalist waves pastels and markers across the now-not-so-blank paper spread across the walls, illustrating their thoughts. You glance up at the mural…
An array of scenes are present, in close proximity to one another, each consisting of symbolic drawings accompanied by thematic quotes and phrases: Roots beneath a lush garden intertwined with the words, “Potential for Company Growth,” while the plants in the garden, budding with flowers that have yet to bear fruit, read, “New Products,” “New Talent,” or “New Strategy.” On the opposite side of the paper, a building that is under construction with a distinctly different shape than the otherwise uniform, dense metropolitan skyline in which it is located, is headed by the phrase, “Renovation Through Innovation.” Whether or not it was consciously intended, the various shapes, color schemes, and scale of the visuals are all full of meaning.
But reflection comes later. Right now, everyone is in the moment, reverberating in the eye of a collective brainstorm.
Lighting Up Ideas
Like a fingerprint or personality, each individual has his own unique muse. The effectiveness of muralling sessions, however, reveals that visuals have the power to activate the muse of each individual, or at least depict the results of each individual’s muse at work. It is a pinball game of creativity. The pinball represents inspiration, each time the ball bounces off of a bumper represents a participant’s expression of a new thought, and any time the pinball machine lights up with a congratulatory sound effect represents when a new visual is drawn. And then there’s the machine itself, which represents co-creativity. The point tally display represents innovation. Meanwhile, the collective muse is at the helm, controlling the “flippers” at the bottom of the machine and keeping the ball in play.
Imagine bright blinking lights along with a triumphant jingling sound ringing out every time an intellectual connection is realized within a group by way of muralling. So appropriate! Intellectual connections lead to inspiration, which leads to co-creativity, which ultimately leads to innovation, and thus the next big idea.
That creative connections yield inspiration illustrates that the nature of creative inspiration is receptive and inclusive. Consider this: “Inspiration” is a synonym for “inhalation.” This suggests that inspiration results from taking in something—something that Eileen refers to as the creative spirit.
Since one could dedicate a lifetime to studying and defining the source and nature of the creative spirit, as many have, I’ll only go so far as to put it in the context of the aforementioned concept of the “muse”: The muse is the channel between consciousness and creative spirit. It is what enables one to become inspired. And it’s great for organizations.
Telling a Visual Story
The papers on the wall are now fully developed murals and the brainstorming portion of the meeting has come to a close. It is now time to reflect. The group leader announces that the visual journalist is going to explain the flow of the mural in what is known as a gallery walk.
Participants’ eyes fixate on the walls covered in art inspired by their thoughts as she begins to tell the story of the day. She walks along the multi-paneled visual journal and explains the ideas that the visuals represent, why she chose to depict them as such, and how they all contribute to the “big picture”—the overarching theme of the story of the day.
The murals reflect the tone of conversation on each topic—thoughts and emotions. For example, if participants became passionate and animated when discussing a new business direction for the company, then that dynamic is reflected in the visuals with, say, bright colors and dramatic shapes. Or, if the mural is of a heartfelt and thoughtful talk given by an individual, then key quotes of the talk can be seen interwoven with one another in a fluid, wave-like design, streaming down from a central theme shaded by warm colors.
Up until now, we’ve stayed mostly in the artistic realm, but since we do art for the sake of bettering organizations, it’s time to look at visual journalism and co-creativity from a business-minded perspective. When we first started our visual journalism practice more than ten years ago, some business people were worried about the ROI (return on investment). It was a challenge to explain the intangible value. How do you calculate the ROI for an activity as esoteric as muralling, anyway?
Over the years, the practice proved itself by the results. After all, top leaders of organizations are often the people who attend these workday-long visualization exercises, which means that they are not at work (in the traditional sense, at least) during that time, yet still on the clock. Their time is valuable and every moment counts. Even number-crunchers began to see that muralling accelerates and deepens the conversations, making the most of everyone’s time together. The ROI conversation has been put to rest. I mean, hey, can you really put a price on discovering the next big idea?
From cognitive neuroscience to Jungian psychology, we have plenty of evidence that visuals are the interface between action and imagination, between the inner and outer worlds. They capture not only the content, but the context of communication. To repeat a brilliant quote from our colleague Bonnie DeVarco that we cited in one of our blog posts from last year, “Words capture ideas—images free them.”
The potential of visual communication to powerfully impact our consciousness, perception, and imagination is, quite literally, beyond words. The combination of symbolic images and written words in a mural act as a record of the stream of consciousness of a group—a record that both documents and stimulates imaginative thinking. Today, the field of visual communication is growing and expanding with many practitioners. And together we are fine-tuning processes that enable visuals to unlock co-creativity, the eye-opening transformation that takes place in the mind of each participant, as well as the group as a whole.
Visual Insight’s mission is to both advocate for and cultivate co-creativity in great organizations. In what we have referred to as our “ever-evolving quest” to capture the elusive and essential qualities of co-creativity, the expanding field of visual communication is supporting the new paradigm—that we need more than words to make it happen.
To pick up where we left off in our last blog post, “Baguettes of Co-Creativity,” we’re going to take a more in-depth look at co-creativity and explore why it’s such a compelling and influential concept in today’s workforce. Going about clearly explaining this far-reaching and important, yet unchartered and nuanced subject has proven a tall task for us, as it is such an instrumental theme in the work that Visual Insight does. In consequence, we concluded that the best way to jump into this assignment would be…
Ready? Okay. Here we go…
Let’s begin with the origin of the term “co-creativity.” It was coined as a sort of tongue-in-cheek phrase by Visual Insight founder Eileen Clegg and company in 1999 when they co-authored the book Claiming Your Creative Self: True Stories from the Everyday Lives of Women(out of print). During that time, Eileen, along with co-authors Susan Swartz, Margaret McConahey, and Deborah L.S. Sweitzer, unanimously hypothesized that, as Eileen puts it, “People still thought you needed to be ‘ordained’ (with a Rockefeller grant or some such) to be considered ‘creative.’” They disagreed with this view, and highlighted their stance by coming up with and using the now-not-uncommon phrase, which embodied, and still does, the “Everyone is Creative” movement—a movement that, in recent years, has had an ever-increasing influence on business teams’ cultures in many an industry.
“Back then, as now,” says Eileen, “being creative—as in being fully yourself—was, and still is, a little nerve-wracking. It takes courage.” One of the women in Claiming Your Creative Self, she illustrates, formed a club called the “Danger Rangers,” where people received badges each time they did a creative act. “This inspired us co-authors to take some risks of our own,” she continues. “We relied on each other. We jokingly called ourselves ‘co-dependent creatives,’ which we shortened to ‘co-creatives.’”
And the rest is, well, herstory…
Now let’s fast-forward to co-creativity in the present day. The phrase “co-creativity” is popping up more and more, and in a lot of different places. We’ll even go so far as to say it’s in the zeitgeist cloud. (Yup. We said it.) And even though the concept of co-creativity is not yet clearly defined, leading edge thinkers somehow know that it is the next “edge,” and some of them have even been able to realize its alchemical potential with respect to innovation.
So, what do we know about co-creativity? We know that co-creative groups serve as “innovation factories.” How do we know? We’ve seen it. And we’ve done it. We also know that a group of people who are not only willing, but eager to support each other’s creativity equals co-creativity. How do we know this? By the results. The results are magic.
“I think of co-creativity as this delightful state where individuals are being iconoclastic—together,” exclaims Eileen. “Maybe that sounds like an oxymoron, but it’s really not. In fact, it’s the opposite of an oxymoron. It’s an ‘oxygenius’!” (Yup. We just said that, too.)
The fact that we at Visual Insight—in addition to many leading-edge companies—have been able to identify, cultivate, harness, and now promote, co-creativity without having clearly defined it reveals something else about it: Thus far, it has been successfully employed solely by way of intuition. While such a phenomenon is awe-inspiringly mystifying, it is also daunting in its ambiguity. How can we put co-creativity into precise wording when the only way we’ve come to know it is by doing it and then recognizing its presence? Well, this is where things get a little fuzzy. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try.
To better understand what co-creativity is, let’s first look at what it is not…
Co-creativity is not teamwork. The word “work” is the big hint here. Combining the word “team” with “work” implies that a team already has a specific goal in mind, a designated task to complete—i.e. people working together to figure out how to get from A to B. Co-creativity does not involve “work.” It’s a calling. The individual is following the voice of the muse, not the voice of the boss.
This is not to say, however, that teamwork should be viewed in a negative light, or even as something that completely stifles innovation. Teamwork is as valuable as co-creativity. Both are necessary. But each serves a different purpose. Whereas the purpose of teamwork is to problem-solve as a group, the purpose of co-creativity is to feed off of one another and innovate as a group.
Furthermore, co-creativity does not replace the function of teamwork. In a co-creative environment, problem-solving plays second fiddle to innovation. After all, it’s hard to solve the problems of ideas that haven’t been invented yet, right? It takes co-creativity to come up with a new, profound idea, and it takes teamwork to practically refine that idea and put it into action.
Likewise, effective teamwork can lead to co-creativity, but effective teamwork does not automatically yield co-creativity. Although it is not unheard of that a team can be so in-the-zone while problem-solving that cohesive innovation takes shape on each individual’s own terms—a sign of co-creativity—the inherently goal-oriented, A-to-B paradigm of teamwork could likely present itself as an obstacle in the attempt to cultivate a co-creativity-friendly environment.
Now we’re going to throw another “co” word into the mix…
Co-creativity is not collaboration. Or, rather, let’s say that co-creativity is not only collaboration. Collaboration, which we can essentially define as the act of working together jointly and cooperatively, is a key component of co-creativity, but, like teamwork, does not automatically yield co-creativity.
Teamwork and collaboration are different in that teamwork is when a team collaborates, whereas collaboration is not necessarily limited to working within a team. Two or more individuals, teams, or companies working together cooperatively equals collaboration. A joint venture, for example, is a collaboration in which all parties involved remain separate entities, as opposed to fusing into one team, and yet work together to achieve a shared goal.
But enough of this hair-splitting business. Time to move on to fry the bigger fish we had in mind for this post, like…
How do you encourage co-creativity? Perhaps deconstructing this intuitive process will lead us closer to a clear definition, or at least help you come up with your own.
Co-creativity is encouraged the same way that creativity is encouraged, only the emphasis is on the group creating cohesively and equally, and with each individual creating in her own way and maximizing her own strengths and interests. In order to make it possible for such a dynamic to exist, group members must feel free to be themselves, which means that the environment must have an air of safety and comfort.
First and foremost, a safe space to innovate is one that is devoid of harsh judgment and pressure, both of which are what Eileen refers to as “Creativity Killers.” In a co-creative environment, it is important to keep in mind that innovation, like thought patterns, is not linear. You never know what an idea that you think is dumb might lead to. It is also important to keep in mind that by harshly criticizing an idea, you run the risk of knocking the idea’s owner off of the path that may have led him, and therefore the group, to a brilliant and innovative idea, or solution, or both.
With respect to pressure, it is important to remember that your muse, and everyone else’s for that matter, needs some breathing room. The Creative Spirit does not do well with being told to “Produce now!” The Creative Spirit is playful. It is part of the subconscious, which tends to follow only its own rules. Eileen points out that it is critically important to recognize that you do not make creativity happen, it makes you happen. Still, in order for creativity to find you, you have to speak its language, which sounds a lot more like music than spoken word, and looks a lot more like pictures than the written word.
Why are we encouraging co-creativity? Visual Insight has shared the idea of co-creativity with a number of leaders in companies that are what we refer to as “DSI” (Desperately Seeking Innovation). These companies are interested in harnessing the benefits of teamwork and collaboration in order to create breakthrough products and services, but the processes they have used to try to accomplish these things have ultimately let them down.
We believe that co-creativity can provide the spark that will help companies achieve the level of innovation that they have been trying to ignite. Visual Insight has, however, experienced some pushback with this stance because people want us to better explain co-creativity before committing to trying it out.
We understand such skepticism, which is why we have been grinding away at trying to fit a concept as intuitive and holistic as co-creativity into a cut-and-dry definition. We will continue to work at defining co-creativity until we succeed at doing so because we believe that organizations and thought leaders need to understand it in order to move beyond incremental innovation to the kind of disruptive, breakthrough innovation that will truly change the world for the better.
We realize that there is still much ambiguity surrounding co-creativity as a concept and process, yet we have decided to approach this project in a way that remains in line with the nature and spirit of innovation: an ever-evolving quest, a labyrinth that reveals its secrets to you the more you explore it. And with that said, we hope that you will continue to join us, as both witnesses and participants, in this—you guessed it—co-creative adventure.
In this fast-paced age of endless information and hyper-connectivity, topics and sometimes even entire projects are like baguettes: no matter how fresh you get ‘em, the countdown to when they’ll go stale is limited. When I first began working on this blog post, which was admittedly a few weeks ago, my intention was to write about how I have noticed a recent explosion in how-to-be-more-creative articles on the web and, in light of this overwhelmingly exponential accumulation of advice, how we can best make use of it all.
But then I went on vacation and, most unsurprisingly, came back to find a more relevant topic at hand: the burst in media coverage of our rampant tech addiction. Consequently, with this blog in mind, I knew I had to switch it up. All the same, though, I would still like to take some of these old baguettes and make croutons. That said, here is my “pre-vacation” thinking…
With countless articles on how to be more creative circulating the Internet these days, you could probably spend a good portion of the rest of your life just reading about it and never get around to actually putting any of the advice into action. Don’t get me wrong here: I’m all about this new ‘brain-hacking’ movement, but it seems to me that we’re ready for the next phase.
There is currently more than enough immediately attainable info out there on this topic, which means that it’s now up to us creatives to pick out a few of these tips and actually…Try. Them. Out. No more excuses. Besides, creativity is a phenomenal aspect of the human experience that can enrich our lives in profound ways if we have the courage and dedication to cultivate it.
So why not go for it? Been doing too much procrastinating? Read this. In the midst of an idea drought? Click here. Just plain bored? This’ll make you feel better. Oh, and maybe check out this, too. And this. Or maybe you want to see this topic addressed in an infographic? Here you go.
What’s next, then? Where do we go from here? If creatives do, in fact, end up making the most of this wealth of information on how to become more innovative and productive, then it will likely result in a surge of damn good ideas. And while a lot more fresh, innovative thinking is surely a good thing, it also presents a challenge: How can we effectively maximize the potential of this collective awakening? Well, we’ll get to that. After all, this could very well be a trail of breadcrumbs leading us to a new way of interacting with information and one another. But first, allow me to knead some dough for these new baguettes, if you will, and lay out my “post-vacation” thinking…
Our culture has caught a sobering glimpse of the reflection of its insatiable, entranced gaze in the screens of the various objects of its devotion, which has yielded a wonderful opportunity for some introspection. I regard this as a disruptive trend in the context of the topic I originally set out to tackle. By my prediction, if we heed this “moment of clarity” about our collective dependence on the Digital World, it could ultimately lead to more self-regulatory, selective and purposeful use of all things digital. My asking how we should harness the Blog World’s current surplus of how-to-be-more-creative advice merely echoes, on a smaller scale, the implications of our budding self-awareness regarding our culture of tech addiction.
The overall theme is this: No matter how much excellent information and advice we take in from our glowing screens, it’s still up to us to actualize the value of that information by genuinely improving ourselves and putting it into action.
Biologically speaking, food is fuel, so food-for-thought ought to be regarded as fuel-for-action, or at least fuel-for-conviction in decision making. Likewise, when we find ourselves spending an unjustifiably significant amount of time consuming endless how-to/self-help/DIY pieces without really putting any of the content we’ve read into action, maybe it’s time to start asking ourselves if we really need all those “empty calories” of information. Maybe it’s time to, you know, burn some of them off…
Okay, well, we’ve come full-circle (or, in the interest of motivational calorie-burning analogies, we’ve “completed a lap around the track”) and are now back to the question, “How can we effectively maximize the potential of this collective awakening?” In our futurist-oriented thinking, we at Visual Insight decided to answer this question by focusing on an emerging business disruptor: Co-creativity. Although the emergence of co-creativity as a disruptive trend is inevitable, we believe that to effectively leverage co-creativity is the best solution.
Eileen Clegg, founder and lead visual journalist of Visual Insight, describes co-creativity as, “Collaboration with a spark of genius within a group—just as creativity is talent with a spark of genius for an individual. The spark is what leads to something entirely unique, such as individual invention or group innovation.” When co-creativity is present, “individuals take turns serving one another’s gifts and they sync up based on their strengths.” Therefore, with an intellectual climate that encourages individuals to fully tap into their creative potential—as we have seen with the emergence of “how-to” resources on the web—there is even more potential to harness the magic of co-creativity.
Since we’ve only scratched the surface of the concept of co-creativity in this piece, we will delve deeper into it by defining it further, as well as exploring its role as a business disruptor and the implications of this trend, in subsequent posts. Please stay tuned and join us in our research, exploration and evolving perspective on this exciting new topic.
How old were you when you began to second-guess your artistic ability? At what point did you get the idea that the act of making art is reserved for “artists” only? And how many times have you talked yourself out of creating something because you’ve thought it’s been done before?
“Creativity,” says Kleon in an interview with Jordan Kushins for Fast Company’s onlinepublication Co.Design, “has become a kind of magic that only a few lone geniuses are supposed to perform.” Kleon is on a mission to change this widespread belief. “The truth is,” he continues, “creativity is a kind of magic, but unlike at Hogwart’s, any Muggle can learn to use it. A lot of people are waiting for the owl to show up with the invitation. I guess that’s how I see my book.” (Wands not required.)
All Harry Potter analogies aside, though, Kleon has identified a universal muse: idea-poaching. According to Kleon, when it comes to ideas, we all steal…and that’s okay. In fact, the sooner we creative types come to terms with this, he says, the sooner we’ll break free from the unnecessarily self-imposed plight of “trying to make something out of nothing.”
If Kleon’s endorsement of a universal License to Steal sounds like risky business to you, it may ease your apprehensions to know that he does distinguish between “good theft” and “bad theft.” With good theft, for example, you “honor” the ideas you steal, whereas with bad theft, you “degrade” them. Likewise, with good theft, you “study” the ideas you steal, whereas with bad theft, you only “skim” them.
Now, having established that it’s okay to nick ideas because, as Kleon reminds us, there’s nothing new under the sun anyway, how do we get past this whole right-and-wrong-approach-to-art thing? Sure, we can steal ideas to get started, but then we move on to the daunting task of using them to create something that we can proudly call our own. How exactly do we perform this “magic”?
In the Co.Design interview, Kleon discusses how he leads a “Newspaper Blackout” workshop that helps facilitate this part of the creative process. In this workshop, “everybody gets a newspaper and a marker and I tell them to just dive in. You’d be amazed at how quickly people take to it. People who don’t even like poetry, they have fun making blackout poems.” The beauty of this exercise is that it alleviates the stigma that the act of making art is unattainable for those who do not view themselves as artists.
Similarly, Visual Insight’s workshops teach visual language “muralling,” which enables people to communicate visually and, more importantly, frees them to think and express themselves creatively. As Bonnie DeVarco says,“words capture ideas, images free them.” This freedom is part of creativity, but since people are so worried about the risk of making “errors,” they often miss the opportunity to enjoy the creative expression and communication. Visual Insight’s workshops help people shed the creativity constraints by enabling them to focus on the high value and service they provide (to themselves and to others) with visual language.
Idea-poaching not only spawns creativity in the individual, it spawns co-creativity as well. One could argue that co-creativity and idea-poaching are inexorably linked. When you put an idea out there, you are inevitably sharing it so that it’s there for the poaching, and both sharing and, yes, stealing ideas yields innovation. To some extent, certain types of information synthesis could even be considered idea-poaching.
Because we live in a time when the need for innovation is greater than ever, the encouragement of ethical forms of idea-poaching is a big positive step in the way of creative problem-solving. The amount of good ideas in existence far exceeds the amount of ideas that bring about real change. Good ideas must be expanded upon, put into context, justified, and, above all, communicated well in order to have an impact, which is only possible with the presence of co-creativity. (Please see our blog post entitled, “Case for Creativity.” )
Talk about “ahead of its time.” This video of a sketch on Sam and Friends—the show created by the great Jim Henson that debuted in 1955 and would later become the Muppets—not only serves as a motion-picture primer on visual thinking, but also illustrates just how far how one can reach creatively when leading-edge thinking drives the use of the medium (in this case, a kinescope) that creates the visuals, as opposed to vice versa.
The relationship between the visuals and the puppets represents a sort of stream of consciousness, a projection of the workings of the interpretive mind that exemplifies what we at Visual Insight refer to as the “shape of thought” (based on our research with Bonnie DeVarco, which you can see by visiting shapeofthought.com).
Another notable aspect of this sketch is the wordplay, brilliantly woven into the brief lesson on visual thinking—e.g. a “4” appears as Kermit asks Harry the Hipster, “What for?” in response to Harry’s claim that he’s an “old hand” at visual thinking, and a ticking watch face appears when Harry tells Kermit to “watch” him demonstrate his visual thinking skills. This takes the sketch beyond the realm of visual language to an exploration of how visuals can emphasize the interconnectedness of letters, words, numbers, and other symbols, in communication.
In the latter part of the sketch, Harry shows Kermit how he visualizes music—a much more abstract exercise in visualization—with shapes appearing on the screen as he emphatically sings classical and jazz melodies. While Harry sings a classical tune, a cloud of notes appears around his head, briefly floats across the screen, and then disappears. But then, when he switches it up to a jazz number, trails of squiggly lines appear and grow haphazardly and become tangled amorphous images, capturing the genre’s raw and dynamic spontaneity. And in about a minute or so, a television show starring puppets effectively illustrated how the human mind can visualize sound and language.
Valuable art begins with valuable ideas, and the visual thinking concepts conveyed in this sketch are as timely and entertaining as ever, with a level of brilliance in the writing that remains rare, if not unrivaled, to this day. We at Visual Insight believe that the take-home message here is that if a more-than-half-century-year-old clip about visualization from Sam and Friends can wow us in this age of rapid technological advancement in visual communication, then it is hard to dispute that the quality of the technology being used, and the visuals themselves, are only as good as the ideas that they are conveying.