It taught me a new way of thinking

Newly-minted Scriberia Diploma graduate, Richard Craig-McFeely, tells us about the transformative effect of drawing and visual thinking on his life and work.

Richard Craig-McFeely, Business Development Lead for a large media and entertainment technology company and recent Scriberia Diploma graduate, knew the course would improve the way he presented ideas. He didn't realise it would profoundly change the way he thinks, communicates and ideates.

What brought you to the Scriberia Academy?

I spend a lot of my working life talking about quite abstract concepts - like, running businesses in the cloud - and sometimes, when you're trying to explain something in detail, you need a way to make it all feel more solid. How do you distil complexity? How do you simplify it so people can really understand it? I was looking for a better way to articulate those things. 
This time last year, I was in a meeting at Deloitte when I saw people in 'Scriberia' t-shirts scribing the meeting - taking abstract concepts and conversations and turning them into something visual. I hadn't realised people actually did that, professionally. I was intrigued - it got me looking at Scriberia's website, where I found the first course - Using Ink to Think. And, although it was just a quick taster, it really inspired me. It wasn't long before I signed up to take it a step further with the Diploma.




What made you invest in visual thinking skills? 

I think, as an individual and as a business, you can differentiate yourself by showing that you really understand a problem by drawing it - even if just in very simple terms. To be able to draw it out is really quite powerful. It doesn't just demonstrate your understanding, it also gives your customer a chance to look at it and say, "actually you haven't quite got that right... give me the pen!... That arrow should be going here... this part should be doing something different..." and so on. So drawing, I find, is a really interesting and effective way to get more of an interactive conversation with someone.

What is the most valuable lesson you took from the Diploma course? 

The diploma has definitely taught me a new way of thinking. Yes, I've learned a lot about how to draw but, even when I'm not drawing, I think in a different way. And it's the thinking part that I find so fascinating.
Even if I'm just working on a document, I now ask myself: what do you need in this document? And perhaps, more importantly, what don't you need in this document? How best can I get my ideas across? I've come to realise that the way you think when you draw is a really effective way of thinking when you do anything. That was a pretty interesting discovery and, in that regard, I believe drawing is such a valuable discipline. 

And have you been able to put what you learned into action yet? 

Very recently! We just had a big internal conference, where I gave a presentation. And, though the presentation itself wasn't drawn, I planned it visually and, as a result, came up with a really neat way of explaining how a particular industry works. I created a nice, simple structure for it, which really reflects the type of thinking we did on the diploma course. The storyboarding exercises in particular helped me distil my ideas and come up with a very balanced and clear way of delivering it. Once again, for me, it came down to applying the discipline of visual thinking to the task - asking myself over and over: "How much can I strip away and still deliver the message I need to deliver?" Without doubt, my Diploma training made a huge difference, and will continue to do so. 

Want to know how to use drawing and visual thinking to make complex things simple and hard things easy? Our next Diploma course is enrolling now.

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