Holding Complexity

It has taken me a while to track down a copy of Dan Roam's 'The Back of the Napkin' which is a great source book for all kinds visual thinking and facilitation.  

Dan wrestles with the complexity of some of the concepts he tries to represent;

"The opposite of "simple" is not "complex," but rather "elaborate."  He goes on to say, ''One of the most important virtues of visual thinking is its ability to clarify things so that the complex can be better understood, but that does not mean that all good thinking is about simplification. The goal of real visual thinking is to make the complex understandable by making it visible - not by making it simple."

Following Dan's advice, today's improvised image depicts my PhD colleague Ghislaine sensitively holding complexity during her facilitation of a group involved in a change programme within a large corporate.  

Ghislaine's attention to the group is intense - and she is also aware of the complex, competing commitments, relationships and ambiguities that this kind of work exposes.  While the participants wrestle with the change, other members of the organisation resist and try to sabotage the initiative.  

It's a simple image to depict how Ghislaine is caught between the turbulent, opposing forces yet still works to delicately support her group.

Steve MarshallComment