Text and bullet points - they are dead, or at least used inappropriately. That was one of the overwhelming messages from VizThink, a two day conference on Visual Thinking. We agree.
This was the first (of hopefully many) conferences on visual thinking put on by VizThink, the brainchild of Dave Gray of Xplane. It brought together people from around the world who focus in communicating with pictures. More info on the wiki.
For example, on the first morning we sat down with three pediatric ER doctors from Loma Linda University. They often talk to parents in the ER about pediatric medical problems and a brochure doesn't work. They see visual thinking as a way to communicate complex problems in the emergency room situation. Indeed, there are near-infinite applications for visual thinking.
I wish I could mention everyone we met, but here are a few.
We had dinner with Ole Qvist- Sorensen of Bigger Picture who was there from Copenhagen, Denmark - I have a feeling we'll be hanging out with Ole before long - a great guy with lots of ideas.
Ryan Coleman of Clay Tablet Technologies turned out to be a friend of our good friend Will Pate. Ryan has started local Visual Thinking BarCamps around Toronto.
Cliff Atkinson of BBP (Beyond Bullet Points) came to our session and stuck around afterward for a chat. We really connected with Cliff - he loves being small and independent and we share a lot of the same ideas.
Speaking of our session, we had a great time and I hope the attendees did too. It was called "Solving Explanation Problems with Simple Online Videos" The session was mostly group activity where we asked teams to produce storyboards.
It warmed our hearts to hear the whole group yelling "yaay!" and
"boooo!" (appropriately) when the teams presented their storyboards. As Sachi said - it was like they were singing a song we wrote. :)
One thing I found interesting was that we didn't meet anyone else doing video. It was like the visual thinking world and the video world had not previously intersected. I hope that we inspired some of the attendees to take another look at video.
We owe a big thanks to Tom, Chris, Denise and the VizThink folks for inviting us to participate and pulling off a great conference. We'll be back!