In March of this year, I attended the South-by-Southwest® (SxSW) Interactive festival in Austin, Texas. The conference continues to grow in size and influence since it started 23 years ago. It’s known for being an incubator and showcase for emerging technologies and creative thinkers (Twitter and FourSquare both made their debut at the conference). This year the schedule was chock full of thought-provoking keynotes, panel discussions and workshops from leading business and workplace authorities this year including talks from author and social psychologist, Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson, former Vice President, Al Gore and New York Times best-selling author, Dan Pink.
One of the highlights of my SxSW 2015 experience was Kate Haywards sketchnoting workshop (http://schedule.sxsw.com/2015/events/event_IAP42923). Sketchnoting is a process of creating simple hand-drawn images to convey complex information from a talk, lecture or a business meeting. While I’ve attended a number of sketchnoting workshops in the past, this workshop rose to the top for me. The buzz in the room during the workshop was palpable. I credit Kate for creating a space and a program that kept our attention and fostered our creativity for the full four-hours – which is no small feat.
Kate is an extraordinary teacher. As a facilitator myself it was an absolute joy to watch her work and learn from her ability to draw the large audience of nearly 100 together with such ease. I was so captivated by her presence that I felt compelled to introduce myself to Kate when the session concluded, happily running the risk of missing the start of my next session.
That quick introduction lead to a series of e-mails, regular Skype calls and now a friendship. Kate is as good at they come. During our early conversations back in the spring we were convinced that we would make great joint-venture partners and the brainstorming ensued.
Kate and I have a number of ideas in the hopper that are at various incubation points. What we are most excited (and frankly I’m most proud of) is our submission to the 2016 South-by-South West Interactive Festival. It seems fitting that we make our co-facilitation debut at the conference where we first met.
Our workshop is entitled: Connecting at the Speed of Story.
We need inspiring and practical tools to create more connection and meaning in our work, our organizations and in our communities. Identifying, reframing and sharing our stories can lead to our best work, finding our most inspiring joint ventures and the meeting the most valuable allies in this new world.
Personal stories connect us. We need to tell stories about who we are, where we came from, what we value and where we are going.
By combining storytelling with the disciplines of appreciative inquiry and positive psychology we can share the most important stories of our lives and work.
This is where you come in.
The SxSW organizing committee looks to the community to have a say in which sessions are selected for their upcoming conference. With your vote we get that much closer to running our workshop March 2016. If you are interested in supporting this work, I’d welcome you to take a moment to vote for our submission.
Voting is open until September 4th.
Here is the link for voting: http://sxsw.is/1MgQalP, which includes a video featuring Kate’s masterful whiteboard animation work that showcases three of our stories.
I’d be grateful for your support.