‘Rich pictures’ developed from use in Peter Checkland’s Soft Systems Methodology for gathering information about a complex situation (Checkland, 1981; Checkland and Scholes, 1990). The contemporary use of rich pictures is more frequently as a tool to engage and generate understanding of often complex strategies and visions.
Rich pictures have a number of benefits over traditional means to communicate strategies and vision:
- Using rich pictures, complexity generates interest and involvement rather than alienation;
- Many different concepts and elements can be illustrated and their inter-relationships shown in different ways simultaneously; and
- Visual analogies can be used to subtly or even humorously evoke and represent concepts and their relationship, for example moving from an undesirable state towards a desirable vision.
Equally importantly, the process of generating a rich picture is usually a highly collaborative workshop process which can engage groups large and small in the organisation, generating ownership of the strategy and getting people thinking in a different and highly visual way about future direction.
- Are a relative novelty and so are interesting and challenging;
- Require little or no technical knowledge to understand;
- Generate conversation, debate and inquiry rather than knit-picking and disagreement; and
- Engage the visual mind and fix concepts more firmly in the memory.
A rich picture is scalable (highly suitable for pdf and PowerPoint, but thanks to vector graphics, also printable at super-large size) and flexible. While it is normally to produce a single rich picture rather than a series, often separate elements can be isolated and blown up to communicate certain points.
We have developed a number of Rich Pictures including the Capital Ambition Connected London strategy, (see here for another version) and worked with organisations like the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
We were recently commissioned to produce a simple rich pictures with audio included for the Barnet customer vision – please click http://goo.gl/OPznR to see – and hear!
To discuss rich pictures, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.