A Time of Change

A Time of Change

Younito Man
Visual Friends Team

Danny & Marcel

Visual Friends Team


A time of change is upon us, like none we have seen for generations. A time of vulnerability, but also opportunity too. In this episode of Visual Friends Radio, we’re joined by Marcel van Hove and Danny Low of the Visual Friends team to talk about how they’re focusing on adaptability, innovation and channelling their creative power during the current pandemic.

Charity Shaw

Over a decade ago Charity watched a team of consultants at an offsite event create awe-inspiring visual content. She dreamed that one day she too could communicate with simple visuals from words but had no idea how to get there. Flash forward 10 years to discovering Visual Friends, bikablo and her journey has begun.

How can I get better at visualisation and drawing?

Younito Man
Martin Ruckert

Martin Ruckert

Agile Coach & Graphic Recorder

TLDR; Visual Friends Question & Answer – Use mindfulness and deliberate practice to uplift your visual capability.

The Visual Friends training team have been flat-out running bikablo® visual training over the last year. A segment of the training I really enjoy, is opening the question & answer space on the second day. We simply hang up a poster with a big Question Mark and ask for Post-Its to fill the space. As trainers, we want to create a 2-way conversation over the topics and I enjoy sharing my experience as well as collecting insights from the room.

It’s time to share back and expand on some of the insights that resonated with me and the groups I have trained through a blog series. Let’s add to the co-created body of knowledge on visual facilitation and bikablo®.

Getting Better?

tick “How do I get better? How often should you practice to become good, how do you get faster at drawing?”

Younito is thinking

How can I improve?

Mindfulness & Deliberate Practice 1I have moved towards a mindset change in how I practice drawing and visualisation. The mindset of “Practice Makes Permanent” resonates for me. In today’s world, perfect generally gets in the way of a faster, simpler outcome that still achieves the result. So following that mindset, here are the steps in a structured approach to being deliberate with practice which has helped me achieve goals.

  1. Set yourself a goal, what do you wish to improve?
  2. Break it down into small problems to solve
  3. Stretch yourself – practice at the edge of your abilities
  4. Get feedback from others
  5. Keep a journal and reflect on yourself

Set a goal, say YES, stretch yourself

Sir Richard Branson said “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”. Be open to learning and exploring new challenges. Changing your mindset about learning and practicing, will allow you to say YES more often and grow from those experiences.

Mindfulness – Coach yourself

Before starting a big visual project, I have often felt like I have ‘bitten off more than I could chew’. Sometimes I have felt challenged to the point of fear because the project required skills I simply didn’t have at that time. Some examples; “draw 6 communication posters in a weekend!”, “can you graphic record tomorrow at the conference?”, “let’s create a 5 minute sketch video on a complex strategy!”.

Initially, I had no idea on how to move forward. That feeling of fear, while true in your current context, is not helpful to achieving a goal.

I recently learnt about a framework to describe how we think and feel about situations –  ‘above or below the line’. Being mindful of your emotional state in this situation is important. Reflect on what your body and mind are saying, what is true?, what may be an illusion?

There is a catchy acronym that I use in this situation, F.E.A.R; False Evidence Appearing Real. Identify that are those things that are really not true, but are physically influencing the way you see and feel in a situation. Once you have that understanding, move onto the next step, moving above the line towards a constructive mindset.

Break a big problem into smaller problems

Think about breaking down your problem. What small step could you take, what bet could you take to get a different perspective or new information on the problem. Sit down with a pencil and paper in a quiet space and sketch out our idea. That will change your context to a place from where you can see the next step towards achieving your goal.

Reflect on your work, through different perspectives

Ask someone for feedback, but hold the feedback lightly. See how that new perspective may also help guide you towards achieving the goal. Another reflection technique is to keep a journal. Share your visual on the Visual Friends LinkedIn group or on the Graphic Facilitation Facebook group.

The Bottom Line

By being focused and committed to improvement, you may surprise yourself with the outcomes you create. You focus on the differences that make a difference. Set a goal, keep your goal, practice often.

Challenge: People speak fast, there are 150 slides of content, I can’t keep up and I loose track of the narrative.

Goal: Improve active listening skills – improve content capture and organisation of information. Strengthen your response speed between listening, synthesizing and drawing. Capture less but focus on verb & noun combinations. Practice recognising the key themes and patterns coming through.

Challenge: I can’t remember the symbols when I draw and I can’t remember people!

Goal: Build Visual Dictionary – recall more symbols and shapes that improves the anchoring and aesthetic of your poster. The less you need to think about what to draw, the more you can focus on capturing the content of the dialogue – the most important part of visualisation.

How to focus when practicing? When you are at the wall, turn off mobile phone, take everything out of your hands and pockets, slow down, take a deep breath, remember lines are your friend, draw slow but deliberate. Really, really focus on the speaker. The outcome is you will get “into flow” faster and you can be 100% present to serve the group.

Creating opportunities in the workplace. Practicing visual facilitation in your place of work is ideal. Many different sources of content, different communication contexts. Offer to perform a visual recording of a team meeting, strategy session, all hands meeting or communication poster. Be humble and thankful of feedback. My steer here is to be strategic with what you say Yes to..

Go small Sketchnotes are possibly the best way to practice – in meetings, at presentations, visualise the conversation and share it.

Please get in touch, I’d like to hear your feedback on this article and your experiences in personal growth and working visually. hello@visualfriends.com. Stay tuned for the next instalment of Visual Q&A from Visual Friends.

ref 1https://expertenough.com/2327/deliberate-practice-steps

The article was written by Natalia Tsygankova. Natalia has always loved words and talking to people. She has put that passion to good use and has been sharing people’s stories in the community radio, TV and print media for the last 10 years. Natalia is also a big fan of true storytelling events and regularly volunteers at the most famous one – The Moth, interviewing the winner. You can hear her own story of moving to Australia from Russia in 1999 here. Natalia believes that everyone has a story – So what’s yours? Contact her today to share your story.

How to spark the visual revolution inside your company

Younito Man
Marcel van Hove

Marcel van Hove

Co-Founder of Visual Friends


You probably agree with me when I say you can’t change people!

Even if you have the best idea on the planet not everyone will stop working in the old way and jump onto the new idea immediately. If that would be the case all people in the Tech-Industry would be Lean-Agile-Design-Thinking-Visual Facilitators. So what can we do to inspire others and facilitate change? First, let’s talk about why not everyone follows you…

Every Person is Different

I often experience that people might not listen to me but believe in the same idea explained by someone else. The reason here is that they find it hard to identify themselves with my person but can see themselves and understand the idea through another coach. So it is not about the idea it is about the person who presents the idea. By the way, that is a great reason why it is hard to change the world alone.

Repeating a Great Idea

Another important insight is that hearing a great idea through different channels makes it easier for our brain to believe that it is true. Sadly that is true for fake news as well as for helpful great ideas like bikablo®. If you hear them more often, through different channels – they become real in our brain.

First Follower

In every job as an agile coach I tried new things almost every day. I shared the idea quickly across the companies I worked hard to inspire others but not every idea went viral. You need a first follower to validate that the idea is great. The first follower shows that it is okay to follow and to join in. A great example of what I mean is this “Dancing Guy” who starts a party in the park. Here is what happens: One dude starts dancing and another person joins in – soon everyone is dancing but it needs the first follower to validate this behaviour. Watch the full video here.

Prophet In Your Own Land

Last but not least it often helps to add an outside perspective by inviting a external person speaking about your idea. In this way skeptical people might be more open to ask hard questions as they don’t have to work with him the next day. The fresh perspective of an outsider around your idea also helps to reingnite the fire and keeps the idea alive.

Why I am telling you this?

You have learnt to draw using the bikablo® technique and if not come to one of our next training. You know now that it is so much more powerful to convey your message with words and pictures and that it enables a much higher level of collaboration because you use all four modalities to communicate. Someone speaks and you listen. But you also visualise it and if you share the pen and draw together with you actually have a kinaesthetic experience together. There is no better way to communicate and collaborate with a pen on the whiteboard. However, when you are back at your company you need to connect with others inside your company to start the visual revolution. For that we suggest three steps to spark the change:

Step #1 – Let’s run a brown bag session at your company
Step #2 – Through that, you will be able to identify your visual friends inside your company
Step #3 – Host a Lunch & Learn to connect, learn and help each other working on a whiteboard.

I hope this episode helps you to find your visual friends inside your company and we would like to point out that the first three people who book a brown bag session will get this workshop for free. Just book your brown bag session here.

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

Combination of Graphic Facilitation with NLP (Part 1/2)

Younito Man
Antonio Meza

Antonio Meza

Founder of Antoons

About Antonio

Antonio Meza is born in Mexico and has been drawing and sketching his whole life. He started his career as a cartoonist animating stick figures between 2 keyframes across the screen. He moved to Paris where he studied communication science and became a trainer and coach for neurolinguistic programming (NLP).

In the first part, Antonio introduces you into NLP and the science behind language patterns, body language and our eye movements. We clarify misunderstandings about NLP and talk about coaching contracts and the right coaching setting in general.

Antonio experience in coaching made him the perfect match to illustrate a book about success factor modelling which turned into the illustration of three books around the subject.

We talk about graphic recording using digital tools like iPad and ask the million-dollar question about his favourite iPad app for graphic recording on an iPad.

From here we give an introduction into symbolic thinking which we have decided to split the podcast into an extra episode about symbolic thinking.

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

Introduction into Executive Coaching

Younito Man
Jaya Machet

Jaya Machet

Founder of Coaching Tiger & All Lined Up

About Jaya

Jaya Machet has seen the world: She grew up in Mumbai, India and moved with her family to Switzerland when she was a teenager. She studied German and French before she joined Nokia Treasury in Geneva. More than 10 years ago she decided to move back to Asia and picked Singapore as her new home.

After all Jaya describes Singapore as the “the Switzerland of Asia”. Through her work at Nokia she got excited about executive coaching and graduated with a Masters of Counselling from the Monash University in 2010. She runs her own full time coaching business and recently discovered bikablo® and Neuland and added it to her portfolio. Today she is the local distributor for Neuland® facilitation gear in Singapore under the venture “All Lined Up.biz”.

What is executive coaching

Jaya introduces you to the topic of executive coaching. She explains what coaching is and isn’t by comparing it to deeper interventions like counselling and therapy. We introduce different coaching approaches and how they might be a fit for you. Jaya offers deep insights into executive coaching: Starting with the coaching contract and defining the objectives before we move on to practical tips & tricks you can use as a coach. We have a look at how bikablo® helps you to become a better coach and look into the future what bikablo® in Singapore might bring to the world going forward.

I have enjoyed the interview and the first bikablo® training in Singapore and look forward to be back for the next bikablo® training in September. Last but not least, if you live in USA, please check out our USA tour this summer. 

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

The Evolution of Product Management with Nick Coster from Brainmates

Younito Man
Nick Coster

Nick Coster

Co-Founder Brainmates

About Nick

Today I talk to Nick Coster. Nick founded Brainmates together with his wife Adrienne Tan more then 12 year ago. Brainmates is one of those companies who are not very big but very professional. Their special field is product management. We talk about the evolution of product management. How the role of product management evolves when the organisation scales up and the CEO can’t be the product manager anymore.

Product Management is Storytelling

Nick describes the role of a product manager as the chief storyteller in a company. The product manager is the CEO of a product but normally doesn’t have the same authority as the CEO. He needs to take everyone on the journey and explain the challenges ahead of the product. Storytelling is the key to this way of leadership and visual storytelling is the lasting version of it as you can capture the visualisation of the story in photos and videos. Therefore I am very excited to announce that we will run the bikablo® Visual Storytelling (bikablo Advanced) class in Australia shortly before Christmas.

Many of my bikablo® visual facilitation students are in a role around requirements gathering or are working in a business analyst role. In this interview, I put myself in the role of a business analyst and ask myself how could I become a great product manager. What does it take to become that person and what do I have to learn on the way.

Being on the product management journey alone can be quite challenging. It’s much better to go the way together and catch up with mates who are in a similar role as you. I would like to highlight the “Leading the Product Conference” run by Brainmates every year. The conference will be held this year on the 20th of October in Melbourne and 25th in Sydney. Check it out and I hope to see you around in one of the next bikablo® visualisation training.

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

Keith Greaves about the Beautiful World of Big Group Facilitation

Younito Man
Keith Greaves

Keith Greaves

Founder of Chit Chat and Mosaic Lab

The visual facilitation garage

A couple of weeks ago I was running the first bikablo® visual facilitation garage. This advanced workshop has been around in Europe for a while and now we start this advanced class for people who have participated in the fundamentals class in Australia as well. When you start something new, you start something small and so Keith Greaves attended as the only attendee at the first visual facilitation garage in Melbourne in May.

Keith and I had a great time together working in the garage. We had 4 hours of intensive learning together and we both learnt from each other. So I thought we share our conversation over those four hours in an interview with you.

About Keith

Let me introduce Keith Greaves in a couple of sentences. He grew up in Ireland and worked in several very interesting countries including Azerbaijan and Syria. Today Keith lives with this family in Melbourne running two companies: Chit Chat and Mosaic Lab.

Mosaic Lab is a company that facilitates big groups and creates spaces for c0-creating and collaboration. He sets up workshops for 80-300 people to bring people together from all parts of the societies and brings people together to collaborate. Keith puts a lot of this energy into preparing those venues and you will learn in this podcast how he does it.

Public Participation and the IAP2

What really hit me when listening to Keith was his passion for public participation following the core values of IAP2. He makes a difference in the world by improving our democracy. Our democracy is based on a the idea of a majority. A 50% majority is good but imagine you had a co-created law proposal for the prime minister that bases on a super majority of 80%.

Now let me pass on the microphone to Keith Greaves from MosaicLab listening to this story and I hope we see us at the next bikablo® visual facilitation garage in Melbourne!

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

Helping others with a pen and improve your company culture

Younito Man
Visual Friends Radio Cover

Why are we hesitating to ask for help?

Helping others is natural to us but asking for help is sometimes difficult to many. The reason behind lays in the way we grew up, how we were raised and not at last in a school system that was focused on competition and performance not on collaboration and creative thinking. However, todays challenges in business lay in the ability to solve complex problems together as a team and for me one of the most important steps to become a strong team is to overcome the fear of asking for help and embrace the fact that nobody is perfect. Through that asking for help becomes a personal strength. Remember todays problems are just too complex for one brain anyway.

From going grey with a problem to a collaborative team session in 8 steps

In this insight episode I walk you through a scenario how you can offer help as a visual leader. You don’t have to be the subject matter expert – just a good listener with a pen using a whiteboard. Often it is enough that the person who has the problem steps out of the problem space for a moment and explains the challenge to someone else. I explain you my 8-steps to help him/her to unblock any problem solving. By following the 8-steps you have a chance to engage even more people of your team in the solution design and through that improve your team and company culture on the long run. These steps are not always strictly followed, they shall be a guide to get started as a visual leader on a whiteboard.

I hope you enjoy this episode! Please share it in your network if it is useful for you.

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.

Much More to Explore in the World of Visualisation with Martin Haussmann

Younito Man

Martin Hausmann

Director of the bikablo® company for visual storytelling, graphic recording, visual facilitation and visual consulting

Solving problems through drawing

This episode looks beyond the horizon: We start with a comprehensive introduction into the world of visualisation and go down the rabbit hole into group facilitation and conflict solving through drawing together. When we come out again, we go 12 years back in history and talk about the early days of visualisation when bikablo® wasn’t known at all. How the systematic bikablo® technique appeared and what the three pillars of bikablo® are about. We then look into the future and explore areas that bikablo® could explore in the future.

Having a look into different cultures

We look into different cultures and how other cultures use visuals in different ways. Over the last 12 years we have just started to learn about visual thinking and there is much more to explore.

Marcel van Hove

Marcel combines agile team coaching with visual thinking. Marcel believes that a group of people drawing together on a whiteboard can change the world. He loves high-performing teams and therefore coaches teams every day.