Find Waldo in your organisation

Where is your organisation in this picture?
Where is your organisation in this picture?

A children’s book with bizarre and overloaded drawings may prove useful in order to trigger organisational reflection among your colleagues.

Roughly 20 years back Martin Hanford created the children’s books Find Waldo (‘Find Wally’ in the UK).  In a nutshell his books challenges the reader to truly consentrate in order to spot the main character Waldo in the drawings. That is no easy task.

Hanford’s idea of creating miniature universes may come handy in case you would like to get your colleagues reflecting upon how your organisation, team of workers, etc, are viewing their roles at work.

Why bother to do this excercise?

Allowing people to think visually may unlock loads of reflection around people’s work and ways of solving problems. David Gauntlett, a British social researcher has developed this claim further and developed ways for people to think and create metaphors in order to get a message across to someone else.

The point Gauntlett wants to make is that people are different. While the ruling language of business and research is mainly text based, this language does not allow all kind of knowledge, insight and reflections coming to the surface. Thus you will need to involve people in several ways: ask them to create what they think in physical manners. They can draw or build representations of what they think. Restricting people only to write or talk is not sufficient. You may learn more about Gauntlett’s work on visual tools at his web site.

IBM has also proved visualising parallel worlds as incredibly powerful tools for leadership development. In the May 2008 edition of Harvard Business Review Byron Reeves, Thomas W. Malone and Tony O’Driscoll of Seriosity, a consultancy, suggested that the online gamers’ world is a perfect example of how young people today train leadership skills in multiuser online worlds. Bottom line in the article is that today’s business scene demands new leadership styles that are able to get a grip of the immense pool of knowledge and expertise present among people who are not in managerial positions.

You may read a longer piece on online gaming’s consequences for leadership development at Seriosity web site, the consultancy commisioned by the IBM in 2004 to carry out the research on possible links between online gaming and contemporary leadership tendencies.

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Find Waldo in your organisation

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