This workshop will introduces lean/agile leaders, coaches, and facilitators to Visual Thinking Strategies, or VTS.

VTS is a cross-disciplinary technique applicable to anyone working in a collaborative setting where observation is key. VTS develops critical thinking skills by viewing and discussing works of art in a group. It is backed by over 30 years of field research showing its effectiveness and accessibility. By allowing individuals to talk about art - without needing a background in the field - VTS advances skills you can use to create more relevant products and stronger teams: Observing, Brainstorming, Speculating, Reasoning with Evidence, Cultivating a Point of View, and Revision & Elaboration.

We'll begin with an introduction to the concepts, background, and learning outcomes of VTS. Teaching through demonstration, I'll facilitate a VTS session with the entire group so attendees can experience the process first-hand. During this interactive exercise, we’ll discuss selected works of art and then have the opportunity to review initial impressions of the method. There are no right answers or group consensus being sought - we’re creating an environment and process for looking, thinking, reasoning and revision - skills that are mission-critical to anyone working in a software design or development role.

Participants will learn the basics of image selection and facilitating VTS sessions within their own organizations. We'll break down the various components of the technique and dig into why & how the process works. In addition to the above skills, we'll cover how VTS can help you and your team with the following: Comfort with Ambiguity, Openness to the Unfamiliar, Civil Debate, and Willingness to Participate in Group Thinking.

I'll share some case studies with the group before we break into our first set of practice sessions where workshop participants can try their hand at leading VTS discussions. We'll then take a more detailed look the process of image selection for VTS sessions, and more advanced facilitation tools such as paraphrasing. We'll then break into smaller groups for more hands-on practice of the entire process: from choosing images to facilitating sessions.

Finally, we'll review the entire day, getting feedback and having a group discussion of how this tool can be applied  in your specific environments. We'll save some time at the end for Q&A and I'll leave everyone with a toolkit of online resources to take back to their team. Attendees will leave with the ability to take VTS back home and introduce a whole new way to build better teams and products.

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Outline/structure of the Session

8:30-9:00 - Coffee, Registration & Welcome

9:00-9:30 - Overview - What is VTS? History, basic principles and learning outcomes

9:30-10:30 - VTS session facilitated by workshop leader

10:30-11:30 - Review of session - breakdown of VTS technique and process

11:30-12:30 - Lunch

12:30-13:00 - Case Study Review

13:00-14:00 - Practice Sessions - entire group 

14-14:30 - Image selection and paraphrasing - A deeper dive

14:30-15:00 - Image selection activity - break-out groups

15:00-16:00 - Additional practice sessions - break-out groups

16:00-16:30 - Final review, Group discussion of how participants might use VTS in their organizations, Q&A

Learning Outcome

  • Understanding the history & benefits of Visual Thinking Strategies
  • Multiple first-hand experiences with the VTS method, both as a participant and facilitator
  • Understanding of all steps of facilitating VTS sessions: Image selection, The "Three Questions", Listening, Neutrality, Pointing & Paraphrasing
  • Hands-on experience of each of the above steps
  • Idea generation - how can attendees use this tool in their organizations
  • Attendees will leave with the tools and ability to facilitate their own VTS sessions immediately

Target Audience

Broadly applicable to anyone working in a team - coaches, developers, designers, product managers.

schedule Submitted 6 months ago

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