New Mural on Women Innovators: Art meets Research to Tackle the Biggest Conundrum of our Time

Our team is thrilled to launch our Women Inventors and Innovators mural, a story-rich big picture visual that captures the feeling of eras in history – as women changed the game, despite the obstacles. The mural takes a fresh look at the historical context as well as the amazing individual women and their disciplines. It is an aligning art piece that will help us have new conversations about women for the future. It is the foundation for a radical research project we hope will help catapult women into the positions where we need them (us!).

womentimeline-may-25

click here to enlarge

Before sharing more about the mural and the research, I want to honor the influence of Dr. Douglas Engelbart -and his radical philosophy – on this project. Bear with me on this tangent because Dr. Engelbart’s ideas helped us understand how major transformation occurs. Transformation is one of our goals with this mural.

Dr. Engelbart was the father of Collective IQ who patented the computer mouse as part of the famed ’68 Demo, the prototype of the personal computer. We worked on a book with him over a period of five years, from 2003-2008 and stayed in close touch until his death in 2013. We miss him and want to dedicate this new mural to him.  Many life-changing insights emerged from our dialogues with Doug, but the one closest to the heart is that we should dream big and devote ourselves to challenges that may seem impossible. It’s a hero’s journey, whether or not the problem gets solved, and unexpected discoveries may emerge. The goal of Engelbart’s group at the Augmentation Research Center was to raise humanity’s collective IQ to enable us to solve urgent and complex problems. On the way to this lofty and impossible goal, his group innovated the greatest technology discoveries of our time. See our timeline mural featuring Doug’s discoveries in the context of history and his philosophy, the  CoEvolution of Human and Tool Systems.

Dr. Engelbart inspired us to dream. Now we are gathering many people in Engelbart’s community to help with a huge and perplexing puzzle we have today:  What is standing in the way of women being represented in at least 50 percent of influential positions on the planet? (in science, government, engineering, leadership, politics, business, technology, organizations, etc). This huge and complex question thankfully is receiving an enormous amount of attention. However, the numbers are not changing much–women are underrepresented in nearly every influential sector of society.

Conventional wisdom is not working, and we need new approaches. Many projects to enable diversity are under way; ours is a bit unusual. We start with a landscape and stories – we created this mural as a conversation-sparker. We hope that when people look at this mural, they will see themselves, their mothers, and their grandmothers and perhaps begin to trace the feelings and attitudes that enabled or thwarted women’s contributions. We hope they will begin to uncover the more subtle conditions that may have an influence of women’s full participation in every sector on the planet.

From Dr. Engelbart we learned that the approach to research must be emergent in the context of an overarching goal. We learned about the subtle interrelationship between the evolution of technology and culture. We learned that research and communication tools must be developed in the process of research and communication–they cannot be pre-ordained. Engelbart called this the CoDIAK process: The Concurrent Development, Integration and Application of Knowledge. Thus, we are convening conversations using current technologies that we hope to adapt especially for the type of conversation we will be having: What are the behaviors and attitudes and conditions that empower (or disempower) women? What types of information or communication can support changes? How can women offer one another real-time support, information and stories to help one another through difficult situations? How can we have conversations about topics that may feel awkward? What would happen if women had immediate forums to discover they are not alone in experiencing subtle forces that keep them from moving into positions where they can have impact? With the communication tools we have available, we should be able to go deeper in our conversations and get to the bottom of the problem.

So it’s a very different challenge, a different conversation, and we want to go about it in a different way. We want to inspire your imagination! Our mural emerged from the Imaginal with shapes and pictures that evoke something more than the words. We think that an artistic view helps us with a different perspective. We want to know what you imagine, feel and think when you look at it.

Art is impressionistic and our mural is not a comprehensive final report, but rather a conversation piece. It is decidedly U.S. Centric and creates a gestalt of the different eras in U.S. history. We plan to go global with the mural and create multiple versions to reflect conditions for women around the globe, and will continually be changing it. You’ll see features in the landscape that range from whimsical to disturbing. The green fields of the Agricultural Age, the guns of the World War II era, the “little boxes” of suburbia in the 1950’s. I created this mural originally on old-fashioned paper with pastels, and then Ellen Lovelidge brought it to life with her digital art for the Web, and she worked with Sequoia Echeverry under the tutelage of David Price of DebateGraph to link the names to a robust database that ultimately will enable us to track nuances of the stories.

Besides the artistic orientation, there are other subtle features of  the mural that we hope will  shift perspective. First of all, the “key” at the left shows our categories. You’ll see we have combined cultural innovations with technological and scientific innovations. Breakthroughs that help society – promoting peace, human rights, or safety – often are placed in the “soft” category, but we think they are just as hard as technological discoveries and deserve equal play. We are also changing the conversation by combining fields and disciplines into categories that focus on outcome. Customarily, we would divide inventions into categories including science, technology, engineering, math…and expanding to include sociology, business, psychology, etc. However, we’ve been looking at research that indicates women often are more motivated by making a contribution and teamwork than they are by invention or making a name for themselves. Hence, we chose categories that focus on outcome such as Augmenting Human Potential (which includes psychological as well as computer breakthroughs) and Promoting Peace. As you read through the key, are there other categories you would add?

Right now, our greatest hope is that people will relax into the mural and take a journey through time. We hope you will have conversations about it, and let us know what you learn. We hope you may join us in our belief that we can figure this out! There is no logical reason why women are not fully represented at every table in ever place of impact on Earth! So there must be an illogical reason. Let’s figure it out together.

Visual Toolkit Supporting Organizations in the World of Creativity

Welcome to our visual toolkit supporting organizations go through the looking glass into the transparent world of breakthrough creativity and roles-based collaboration.  Here is a snapshot, and please scroll down the earlier post to see our mural from the 2014 Future of Talent retreat, showing the trends that inform our tools.offerings-1

Through the Looking Glass into the World of Creativity

world of creativity
Eileen and Sequoia created this mural to present at the 10th annual Future of Talent retreat in Marin County, CA based on Kevin Wheeler and Eileen’s forecasts of trends that will influence the workplace over the next 3-5 years.  We are continuing our research over the next few months and expect significant insights and pragmatic solutions to be released in early 2015. In brief, the trends are:

1. World of Creativit
y – In the future, leaders will facilitate individuals to develop their own creative potential, while nurturing a co-creative environment where they understand their roles and how to synchronize their gifts. In a world of rapid change and complexity, no one has the answers and success will come from innovation (goal-oriented creativity). We are exploring the specific behaviors and organizational principles that will enable results.

2. Through the Looking Glass 
– Borrowed from Lewis Carroll whose “Alice in Wonderland” recounted entry into a world where reality is turned upside down,  “Through the Looking Glass” is a way to think about how we are challenged to live in the new world of creativity. How would you work differently in a world where people are more important than products? Where health is more important than workaholism? Where emotions and intuition are honored at least as much as left-brain thinking?

3. Speed Trumps Process – 
Navigating fast change and complexity requires action — experiments, mistakes, and trying again. Resilience and readiness replace old strategic planning processes and cumbersome organizational systems.

4. Designing with Data – 
Continuous capture and organization of data is essential for decision-making. The challenge is how to curate and apply. An emerging skillset is to marry left and right brain thinking so that data supports wise and innovative decision-making. Needed: objective, robust, well organized data PLUS imagination, intuition and pattern-finding to apply it.

5. Beyond Words – We are well into the visual age. What’s new is the way we are bringing together cognitive science and ancient knowledge about “the shape of thought” to connect with hearts and feelings as well as minds. This trend accompanies “designing with data” as we are challenged to create images that compress massive amounts of information enabling us to see and act on patterns that emerge visually.  Images are central in the world of creativity because they can capture shared concepts before they have crystalized into words.

6. Tribes and Teams – The old days are long gone when people would expect to have a single job or even a single profession for their working life. We move in and out of workplaces and careers. Teams are in the moment: The group you are working with now to innovate, create collective action, and achieve goals. Tribes are long-term communities of like-minded people, fellow professionals in your field, mentors and mentees, nearby friends and neighbors who trade ideas even as they are employed or contracted by different organizations. Tribes enable ongoing mutual support.

7. Flat is the new Black – 
The idea of the flat organization has been around for decades. Yet most workplaces still operate with hierarchy that limits transparency and an individual’s capability to fully contribute to the whole. The gap between knowing and doing is closing as a result of a more nuanced understanding about how collaboration actually works. It’s not a free-for-all, but a new kind of architecture that defines roles, relationships, information flows and effective collective decision-making.

Climate Change through Visual Murals

Experts and state leaders gathered at U.C. Davis to evaluate the impact of global climate change on California agriculture. Eileen Clegg depicted the conversations and ideas that emerged at the meeting back in May. Among the speakers was California Gov. Jerry Brown, Jr.  The two murals are now posted at the Giannini Foundation offices. Can you see the elephant in the room?

climate change 1

climate change 2

Powering Group Imagination with New Visual Tools

Yes! Visuals ignite creative action. After two years in an MA program studying symbols, imagination and the unconscious, I’ve discovered some new keys to unlocking the power of group imagination. And our Visual Insight Team is transforming this knowledge into new visual tools to help individuals and organizations communicate complex messages both internally among stakeholders and with their public audience.

Please enjoy the images below and for more details go to our  Services page. Thanks to all of our Visual Insight friends for your support on our journey.

Trust-building for Teams: Deep practical connections enabling action-oriented understanding 1/2 day session virtually or live, Springboard Murals: Send us your dense reports or lengthy decks and we will turn the data into a lively, engaging one-page graphic 3 day turnaround, Leader Training in Symbolic Thinking and Visual Communication: Business critical concepts in use of imagery 1 day training

 

Trust-building for Teams: Deep practical connections enabling action-oriented understanding 1/2 day session virtually or live Trust in effective teams usually develops over time as you get to know each others' strengths, weaknesses and quirks. But with rapid-forming and ever-changing teams today, we need to quicken the process. Visual Insight has developed a breakthrough team-building experience that deeply connects people to work successfully toward shared goals and aspirations in one day, virtually or in the room together.  Springboard Murals: Send us your dense reports or lengthy decks and we will turn the data into a lively, engaging one-page graphic 3 day turnaround Most organizations have key messages that take the form of reports or slide decks. But in our increasingly visual and time-stressed culture, we cannot count on people to wade through too much information. The solution is a one-page big picture graphic that speaks to hearts as well as minds, showing meaning and patterns as well as data. Send us your materials and we’ll turn them into a one page graphic that can be posted on the web or printed out as a handout or poster.  Leader Training in Symbolic Thinking and Visual Communication: Business critical concepts in use of imagery 1 day training Leaders today need to think symbolically and speak the international language of metaphor. This enables them to shape their strategy and culture. Most people have these capabilities innately, but need to rediscover and apply them to be effective leaders.  Visual Insight has also started a publishing company, Visual Insight Press, focused on harvesting wisdom of excellent organizational practitioners, delivering their gems of insight in pithy language and graphics. We welcome your ideas about potential topics and authors. Traditional royalty structure for softcover and e-books. We are excited about our first book, The HOW of leadership by Rob Reindl.


Trust-building for Teams
: Deep practical connections enabling action-oriented understanding
1/2 day session virtually or live
Trust in effective teams usually develops over time as you get to know each others’ strengths, weaknesses and quirks. But with rapid-forming and ever-changing teams today, we need to quicken the process. Visual Insight has developed a breakthrough team-building experience that deeply connects people to work successfully toward shared goals and aspirations in one day, virtually or in the room together.

Springboard Murals: Send us your dense reports or lengthy decks and we will turn the data into a lively, engaging one-page graphic
3 day turnaround
Most organizations have key messages that take the form of reports or slide decks. But in our increasingly visual and time-stressed culture, we cannot count on people to wade through too much information. The solution is a one-page big picture graphic that speaks to hearts as well as minds, showing meaning and patterns as well as data. Send us your materials and we’ll turn them into a one page graphic that can be posted on the web or printed out as a handout or poster.

Leader Training in Symbolic Thinking and Visual Communication: Business critical concepts in use of imagery
1 day training
Leaders today need to think symbolically and speak the international language of metaphor. This enables them to shape their strategy and culture. Most people have these capabilities innately, but need to rediscover and apply them to be effective leaders.

Visual Insight has also started a publishing company, Visual Insight Press, focused on harvesting wisdom of excellent organizational practitioners, delivering their gems of insight in pithy language and graphics. We welcome your ideas about potential topics and authors. Traditional royalty structure for softcover and e-books. We are excited about our first book, The HOW of leadership by Rob Reindl.

For more information on how visuals can help your organization please contact us.