Sam Changes Culture with Sketch Notes:
Sam Moore works on digital projects in Sales and Marketing for Carlsberg in the UK. She says, “There is a real focus on culture change and innovation here. At the start of this year, I noticed how much we relied on ‘death by PowerPoint’ for presentations and thought we really needed a new way to embrace this culture change and deliver something different. Our presentations had to convey technical information as well as lighter content. We wanted to create impact, plus make the content easy to understand. Something needed to change! I did try adding clip art to my presentations but they didn’t look great. So I was on the lookout for something to help…”
Inspiration came in a completely unexpected way. Over dinner one evening, Sam heard out about hand-drawn graphics and sketch-noting from her friend and former colleague Kerry. Attending one of Penny Pullan’s graphics workshops and then applying it at work had made a big difference. Kerry showed Sam her colourful workshop book, which displayed everything she had produced during the course. Sam knew at once that this was exactly what she had been looking for! So she invited Penny into Carlsberg to run a graphics workshop for herself and the wider team.
“My first impression on the morning of our workshop was of colour: pens, pastels, pads. It was exciting! I watched others come into the room and could see them thinking: ‘Wow!’ It felt different already. There was even music in the background.”
“In a graphics workshop, people can be a bit frightened at first, thinking they can’t draw. Our session was really well run, as Penny created a safe place, where we could just have a go – it was OK. She simplified the techniques and we learned how to apply graphics, creating icons for words. It all came together quickly. I loved every minute of it! I went from feeling that I couldn’t draw at the start of the day, to creating a huge poster with pastels and marker pens at the end. It was awesome! We achieved so much in one day.”
What happened after the workshop? Sam started to practice taking notes with graphics, making sketch-notes of the news at home for a few days. Soon she was able to do it at pace, capturing the main details first and adding in extras later, such as colour. After a week, she had it down to a T!
Once Sam was happy with using graphics at home in private, she took the step of sketch-noting in a meeting at work. “I gave it a whirl and it worked! There was quite a reaction in the room, with people asking me how I did it. Now I use graphics for taking notes all the time. I keep a pouch of coloured pens with me, so my notes are much more colourful. It’s much more fun to look back through my notebook now, as it jogs my memory. I can understand my notes more easily. The key facts jump out and I can focus on the most important points straight away. The only downside is that when I’m in a meeting, my head is looking down for longer than normal. I’ve had to reassure colleagues that I am listening to them!’
The next step was a risky one: presenting to an exec meeting. Sam wanted to create real impact by moving away from what was normal i.e. walking in, presenting slides and then leaving the room. She wanted to deliver in line with the big cultural change that the executive were driving. This meant using graphics properly, with no PowerPoint back up. Sam said, “It was go big, or go home!” That certainly took some bravery. Sam told me that they did have some PDF slides of their graphics, just in case!
Sam’s bravery paid off. As it happens, the projector wasn’t working when Sam arrived, so the executive were relieved that she didn’t need it. Instead, they helped her stick up her graphics on the wall and, instead of going back to their seats and being distracted by other things, they were intrigued by the graphics. The atmosphere was informal. The group were fascinated, saying, ‘Wow! What is this?’ It worked really well and the executive remained standing around the graphics chatting and asking questions after the presentation. The CEO told Sam that it was brilliant and well put together. The risk was worth it!
What does Sam say now?
“I use graphics every day; it’s become how I work. When I travel, I just take a smaller book with me, drawing landscape. I love the engagement I get when I use it for workshops. I often use pre-drawn agendas and processes in a simple style.”
What about Sam’s team?
Sam has noticed that others in her team use the graphics in different ways that suit them. Some like to think things through and draw them out big. Others find it incredibly helpful for planning/scoping of projects and idea generation.
If you’re interested in the workshop that Sam found so useful, then have a look here.