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This is where we share our studio notes and thoughts from behind the scenes here at Creative Sandbox Solutions™ HQ. We’re all about process here, and we’re transparent about ours, so you can learn from both our wins and our mistakes.

If you have any questions or comments, don’t be shy — drop us a line! We’d love to hear from you.

Visual Notes from Melissa’s Studio: Jan 16, 2019 08:53AM


Practicing icons. Or as @loosetoothcom calls them in her fabulous book, The Idea Shapers, “postage stamps.” A small image that communicates a big idea. This can be super challenging with abstract concepts! Quick: how would you draw “commitment”? Or “engagement”? Or “unity”?
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These are the types of things I’m working on coming up with my own visual vocabulary for, so I actually have an icon in my metaphorical pocket, at the ready, should the need arise. When I’m at a loss for how to start, Google image search is a great jumping off point! From there I can develop my own icon/postage stamp. And the real key, as @evalottchen says, is to draw it over and over and over—at least 50 times before you really “own” it. (Plus you have to *keep* drawing it, or trust me, you’ll forget how! 😂)
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#visualfacilitation #graphicfacilitation #visualnotes #graphicrecording #sketchnotes #sketchnote #sketchnoting #sketchnotearmy #graphicrecorder #visualshownotes #originalart #visualthinking #neulandmarkers

A Culture of Appreciation Case Study: Facilitator Development Award 2018

A Culture of Appreciation Case Study: Facilitator Development Award 2018

A few months ago I got an unexpected — and very personal — lesson in the culture of appreciation. Imagine my surprise when, at the 4th Annual Strategic Play® UnConference for LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® facilitators and trainers in Whistler last October, I was presented with an award!

The evening before the UnConference officially started, LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® trainers Rosa Mon and Anibal Viegas had been presented awards in a private ceremony just for Strategic Play® trainers

Then, the morning of the first day of the UnConference, co-host andLEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® Master Trainer Jacqueline Lloyd-Smith completely caught me off guard when she announced that there was a third award, yet to be presented, and played the video below. (more…)

Visual Notes from Melissa’s Studio: Dec 11, 2018 9:18AM

Visual Notes / Graphic Facilitation / Graphic Recording / Sketchnotes from a webinar by Michael Bungay Stanier titled "How to Say No (When You Can't Say No)" from thecoachinghabit.com/videos

More sketchnotes from the video series from Michael Bungay Stanier’s webinars over at thecoachinghabit.com/videos. It’s easy to say no to family and strangers, but what about everyone in between? This is where Bungay Stanier’s Strategy Question (“If you’re saying yes to this, what are you saying no to?”) comes in handy, along with learning to respectfully decline, and a repertoire of ways to “say yes more slowly.”

Making visual notes / sketchnotes of these videos is a fun way to practice my graphic facilitation / graphic recording skills, but on a smaller scale. On a graphic facilitation / graphic recording job, I typically use 4′ x 8′ sheets of paper, and very large markers, whereas these quick sketchnotes are done in a small notebook, with fine point markers!

If you haven’t ever used visual notes / graphic facilitation in a meeting or event, you haven’t experienced the power of live-drawn visuals to engage people. Not only do people retain seven times the information when it’s presented visually, but seeing their words drawn by hand on the spot is nothing short of magical to your team. 

Contact me to discuss how to bring more magic to your next meeting. (more…)

Visual Notes from Melissa’s Studio: Dec 10, 2018 11:24AM

Sketchnote / graphic recording / visual note of a short webinar by Michael Bungay Stanier, entitled "Rapid-Fire Strategic Thinking, Planning, Doing," with a link to a worksheet to download from boxofcrayons.biz/vspt

More sketchnotes from the video series from Michael Bungay Stanier’s webinars over at thecoachinghabit.com/videos. There’s a great worksheet with this video—so simple, but I’m such a visual person, the visual layout of four columns somehow makes the concept easier for me to wrap my head around. (You can see a little thumbnail sketch of the worksheet in the lower right hand side of my sketchnote.)

These videos are such a great way to warm up my sketchnoting in the morning! These are the same skills I bring to my graphic facilitation / graphic recording jobs, but on a smaller scale. Studies show that people retain only 10% of information that’s presented as text only, but when the same information is presented visually — as when captured live by a graphic facilitator — people retain 70%. That’s seven times the retention! 

Graphic facilitation / graphic recording makes for any meeting more memorable and engaging, too. Contact me to discuss how to bring more life to your next project. (more…)

Visual Notes from Melissa’s Studio: Dec 9, 2018 10:03AM

Sketchnote / Visual Note / Graphic Recording of Michael Bungay Stanier's webinar, "Increase Your Impact Learning How to Help," from The Coaching Habit book.

More sketchnotes from the video series from Michael Bungay Stanier’s webinars over at thecoachinghabit.com/videos. This one revolves around the Lazy Question from Bungay Stanier’s book, The Coaching Habit (aff link, or click here for a non-aff link), “How can I help?”

Edgar Schein posits three types of consulting roles: Expert, “Doctor,” and “Process.” Each has its pos and cons, but Process consulting has the most advantages, and benefits from a mindset of humble inquiry.

In other words, more curiosity, and less “advice monster.” (more…)

Visual Notes from Melissa’s Studio: Dec 8, 2018 11:24AM


Sketchnotes from another video from boxofcrayons.com, diving into one of the concepts from The Coaching Habit, by Michael Bungay Stanier. I’m so enjoying sketchnoting these little webinars! Sketchnoting is my favorite way to reinforce my understanding of a concept. It’s so much more fun than just taking notes, and I remember the concepts about a jillion times better. 😊
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#visualnotes #visualcommunication #visualshownotes #sketchnotes #sketchnotesketchnotearmy #visualfacilitation #graphicfacilitation #graphicrecorder #visualrecording #originalart #neulandmarkers #pigmamicron

Visual Notes from Melissa’s Studio: May 20, 2018 03:21PM


I’m at Creative Sunday Lab, hosted by @jenniheffernanbrown, working on these Visual Shownotes™ of a TED talk by @isabelbehncke, Evolution’s gift of play, from bonobo apes to humans. 🖍
I’m not at a point where I can live capture a talk like this—the talk is under 20 minutes, and I’ve spent over two hours on this flipchart sketchnote! And it feels WAY too busy, and WAY too messy, and is filled with mistakes. But practice is practice. Every time I do ANYTHING related to sketchnoting or visual facilitation/visual communication/visual notetaking, I learn. 🖍
EVERY time I do something that makes me think, “Well, THAT didn’t work…” And you know what? THAT is when the learning happens!! Because only when I make those “mistakes” can I figure out what would work better! 🖍
So go out and try something, knowing that it’s not going work the way you want. That’s the way we grow! We need the crap to fertilize the good stuff! 😊
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#creativesandboxway #creativesundaylab #visualcommunication #visualpractice #visualnotes #visualshownotes #neulandmarkers #graphicfacilitation #isabelbehncke #dailycreative #doodlesofinstagram #originalart

Visual Notes from Melissa’s Studio: May 09, 2018 07:37AM


Did you know questions are the best way to find answers to tough problems? 🖍
Here’s the top part of a sketchnote of an article about the Question Burst, a 4-minute form of brainstorming in which you collectively capture only QUESTIONS, written up as “Better Brainstorming” by Hal Gregersen in the March-April 2018 issue of HBR and summarized on episode 160 of The Creative Sandbox Way™ podcast, just dropped this morning. (Swipe to see the bottom part.)
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(I’ve learned my lesson—no more vertical orientation layouts! Square from here on out! Social media has forever changed design….)
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#sketchnote #sketchnotes #visualnotes #visualcommunication #visualpractice #visualshownotes #creativesandboxway #pigmamicron #originalart #doodleart #stickfigure #stickfigures #brainstorm #brainstorming #questionburst

Visual Notes from Melissa’s Studio: May 08, 2018 12:45PM


Working on flip charts for upcoming team building workshops. We’re all about handmade graphics here at Creative Sandbox Solutions, as you can see. It’s that handmade touch that makes people sit up and take notice nowadays.
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#graphicfacilitation #visualcommunication #visualpractice #simpleguidingprinciples #neulandmarkers #originalart #visualshownotes #flipchart #markerlettering

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