VizThink3 Recap – VizThink4 Announced & some ideas for VizThink5…


This is a well overdue recap of the events of VizThink3. I left for Berlin just a couple of days after and haven’t gotten around to it until now though.

davegrayVizThink3 was a great event, getting Dave Gray to come up and present so quickly was really exciting and I’m appreciative that he and Scott Matthews stretched (well, started) their trip a day early so they could participate.

“So what should I talk about?”
A question you expect from anyone who’s going to speak at an event your organizing – Dave just decided to drop it on me ~30 minutes before we started. Had it been anyone else I may have gone into full panic but the reality is Dave runs these sessions all the time and while there was a touch of improv to the evening he was backed up by a bag of tricks many years in the making.


I’ve always thought Dave is a guy who’d love the BarCamp/TorCamp scene here in Toronto – loves to experiment with ideas while also experimenting with how he shares those ideas with as many people as possible.

I want… / I love…
With post-it’s scattered around the room of ~45 people these were the two questions Dave posed to the group. First he wanted two or three post-its that finished the sentence “I want …. from VizThink”. Once everyone was done we placed them on one of the walls of the space.

We then did the same for “I love … about VizThink” and placed them on the opposite wall.

What followed was an interesting exercise of group think & organization that saw the post-its categorized thematically followed by an exercise where everyone picked a theme they were interested in and then were asked to draw what it meant to them (or an image depicting the sentiment) on giant post-its on the wall (I really should drop 3M a line about sponsoring this puppy).

While doing it, it was an interesting, fun & active exercise for everyone participating. When you stepped back though what Dave had shown the group was a powerful way to bring all of the participants (regardless of their familiarity with each other) to a level playing field and have them collaboratively declare, organize & prioritize issues or themes that they are interested in.

Out for Drinks
Following our session everyone headed over to the Rivoli for some food & drink (well, I caught up once Roadside Assistance had retrieved my car keys from my trunk) .

It’s always great after an event like this to get out and meet the new faces who came out and I had a few conversations with some folks that I hope to soon convert into VizThink presenters :)

All the photos from the event can be found here.

Speaking of future presenters – VizThink4 is on deck and ready to go. The date will be Tuesday, July 10th in a venue TBD (got an offer of a new venue – just need to see if it’s available). We’ll be building on Mark Mulholland’s VizThink2 Mind Maps presentation and delving into Concept Maps. I’ve asked the presenters to try and keep recap to a minimum and help build out the deeper theories and practices of Concept Mapping.

Event details can be found here

And while I’m at it – for VizThink5 in August I’d like to keep things light and fun, make it more a social event than a practical one. My intial idea is to throw an informal Pictionary tournament (with some twists) but ideas and suggestions are welcome as it’s still very loose in my head.

If anyone knows of a space where we could get access to a good size deck/outdoor space with a backup indoor space please let me know – I’m thinking it be fun to be outdoors & somewhere where we can B(our)OB etc.

Event details will eventually be found here.

Hope to see you at future VizThinks!