(An excerpt from my keynote at the ‘heart of transformation’ conference in DCU May 18th 2018)
I stood in front of the audience, quaking in my boots. I felt the pressure.
I was in Sacramento California working for the California Air Resources Board, tasked with training environmental consulting experts, how to audit trades in electricity transactions. (If your curious look up Assembly Bill 32 of the State of California).
My degree in English and Philosophy & my Masters degree in Training & Learning management seemed to have no relevance as I listened to my audience introduce themselves…
I have a PhD in Environmental Science from Yale, with an MBA from Stanford….each one more qualified than the last.
I felt more and more out of my depth, thinking what have I to offer these people that would be of any value to them.
A few weeks earlier, after reading the hundreds of pages of the law, the guidance documents, and discussions with experts, I realized I was sunk. I had no idea how to make sense of all the terms, ‘designated entities,’ ‘party’, ‘counterparty’, ‘counterparty risk’ and how everything fit together. I was neither an expert on electricity trades, or Californian law.
So what happened?
In this confused state:
I drew to understand what I didn’t understand
Mapping who sold electricity (party) and who bought it (counterparty) and where the risk for any transmission losses showed me that the law was both, regulating electricity transactions, AND, mapping the electricity supply chain (including traders) in the state of California.
So back to the audience. As I stood there, I wondered what value I had to add.
All I could think of was to show my picture, to set the context for the discussion.
And guess what happened?
It had the same effect on the audience, as it had on me. It brought clarity where there was confusion.
To quote one of the audience,
You know I read that document about 15 times and NOW I get it
You can imagine my sense of relief, that I had some value to add.
This experience was what got me started down the path of using visual thinking, to think and analyse for myself, and to help others understand complex ideas, or synthesize information.
It worked for people (Practical) and it was authentically from me (Passion), and it added value in the situation. This combination is how I frame how I think visually.
Thanks to the audience & to Dr. Margaret Farren, Dr. Yvonne Crotty for the welcome.
An excerpt from my keynote at the ‘heart of transformation’ conference in DCU May 18th 2018.