“A thoroughly enjoyable experience…”

My most recently completed Rich Picture project was repeat business for a globally recognisable organisation who once again wish to remain anonymous for two reasons. Firstly because people pay very large sums to be associated with the brand and secondly because they are in a very competitive business and their instinct is to keep everything 'under wraps' from competitors.

“A thoroughly enjoyable experience…”

Through my association with Spitfire Consultancy I had worked with the same client organisation (a high-end engineering design and manufacturing organisation with a very strong brand and marketing bias) two years previously when they were just setting out on their Continuous Improvement journey. That Rich Picture is still on display in the various team areas and is regularly referred to, providing a compass and reference point for their decision-making. The meta-metaphor was the athletics track. They believed they were “world class sprinters” but recognised they struggled with (metaphorical) hurdles and relay baton handovers. From that initial idea we developed a wide-screen picture that told the whole story from the then current state into a better future were handovers were smooth and hurdles were cleared without breaking step.

It pretty soon became clear in the initial discussions with the team leaders that the second picture ought to pick up that baton and start with the same athletics track meta-metaphor but this time from the perspective of the Quality Assurance team. This allowed us to hit the ground running and by the morning of day two with the organisation I had a basic pencil sketch to present to the team leaders gathered around their futuristic conference table. Everyone brought some fresh ideas to evolve the metaphor and help to embed the Quality Assurance stories. This process continued through several pencil iterations over the following weeks, refining the messages and how they were represented visually.

I wish I could show you both pictures side by side in all their glory as I’m very proud of what we achieved but once again client confidentiality takes precedence over my self-promotion. Once again I am reliant of the written feedback from the satisfied client and a couple of detail pictures:

“Firstly, working with Paul is a thoroughly enjoyable experience. Paul has an ability to engage a team, allowing the exploration and coaxing out of a shared understanding which enables the creation of a powerful Rich Picture vision. The vision picture is the end result, but it’s not the only outcome. Creating the vision involves taking the team on a journey; by describing an ideal state in basic analogies, that everyone can understand, allowing the questioning of the intended and unintended meanings/implications in the analogy and if that is what the team are really trying to describe. Through this questioning and debate a successful future vision can be agreed, one in which the same scenario can be described by everyone in their own words, but they are describing the same picture. An aligned vision owned by everyone.”

MH, Head of Quality.

Champagne on ice at the winners podium

The Champagne is on ice and the podium place is reserved!


This reiterates a message I’ve posted before, that when you start a Rich Picture project the outcome is not just a pretty picture, or even just a pretty picture that does a useful job but also alignment in the leadership team, buy-in from your audiences and ownership of the vision across your organisation. Plus when was the last time you did something with tangible business benefits that was a thoroughly enjoyable experience? If you have any questions about Rich Pictures just drop me a line. If you are interested in Continuous Improvement speak to Spitfire.