Coming Up: Visual Thinking & Literacy Conference

I’m excited to announce I’ll be speaking/facilitating at the upcoming Visual Thinking and Literacy Conference in Michigan on March 17, 2012.

The 2012 Visual Thinking Conference is for anyone focused on visual approaches to thinking and communication. So whether you are a business leader giving presentations, a marketing manager designing websites and materials, or a grade school teacher looking for new ways to reach students, no other event offers you more of today’s solutions… and tomorrow’s vision. Continue reading Coming Up: Visual Thinking & Literacy Conference

Speaking at the Canadian Association of Journalists’ “Innovate News” conference


This upcoming weekend, on January 30th, I’ll be speaking at the Innovate News conference at MaRS. The conference is put on by Canadian Association of Journalists and the CAJ Education Fund.

“The Canadian Association of Journalists and the CAJ Education Foundation are kicking off the decade with a groundbreaking conference where news staff and management can learn about emerging techniques, technologies and models to transform journalism for the 21st century. The conference focuses on skills, strategies and tactics that journalists and their organizations can start implementing immediately.”

I’m quite excited as they’ve got a few visually oriented people on the speaker list. Personally, I’ll be talking about visual thinking techniques that can be used to help gather and organize information, develop the story, and even tips on recognizing opportunities where using a visual or information graphic as the final product will improve the effectiveness, or clarity of a story.

Other speakers include:

  • Jim Brady, president, digital strategy, Allbritton Communications; former executive editor of
  • Bill Buxton, principal researcher, Microsoft Research
  • John Cruickshank, publisher, Toronto Star
  • Michael Lee, chief strategy officer, Rogers
  • Patrick Lor, president, Fotolia North America
  • Rachel Nixon, director of digital media, CBC News
  • Kenny Yum, editor,

Full details for the conference can be found here, it looks like a really interesting day of content.

Upcoming: Integrated Lifecycle Workshop at Translation World Toronto – May 13th

trans_worldNext week I’ll be running a half-day workshop at Translation World 2009 here in Toronto. It should be an interesting session, we’re going to work with the attendees to start to frame out a common language for specifying and mapping out integrations in the translation industry.

The full session description is below:

The Integrated Lifecycle: Creating a Foundation for Envisioning and Planning an Integrated Translation Lifecycle

Over the past few years, the translation industry has seen a huge evolution in the tools, technologies and standards available to help streamline the translation process. Clients, technology providers and language service providers alike are dealing with an ever-changing landscape of service and technology offerings claiming to help make the translation process more efficient. While many organizations are beginning to embrace this shift, the industry still lacks a common language to describe and specify how the various components relate to each other to create a seamless process. This workshop aims to begin filling that gap.

During this unique, interactive session, attendees will work together through a facilitated, visual process to define the components, standards and considerations for creating integrated, efficient, translation lifecycles. Further, we’ll look at how the various components and workflows work together. This workshop is ideal for anyone who has involvement in, or direct responsibility for the ongoing improvement of processes within their organization, whether they are on the client or vendor side.

Attendees will play an active role in shaping this common language and will leave the workshop with a new tool set for envisioning and planning integrated lifecycle solutions.

If this is up your alley, and you want to be part of shaping this critical tool set, I hope you can join us next Wednesday! Registration is $235 for the halfday session. All of the registration details and forms can be found here.

– Ryan

Upcoming VizThink Conferences (Europe ’08 & North America ’09) Announced.


Tom Crawford (CEO, VizThink) posted a quick “Save the Date” on the VizThink blog announcing the next two VizThink conferences.

As I’ve written about previously, the first conference – held earlier this year in San Francisco – was a huge success and a great experience – if you missed it be sure to set aside the following dates:

VizThink Europe ‘08
Berlin, Germany
October 12 – 14, 2008
Registration Opens Next Week!

VizThink North America ‘09
San Jose, California
February 22 – 25, 2009
Registration Opens in August!

Keep an eye on the VizThink site & blog for further announcements as registration opens up.

Can’t wait!

– Ryan

PS: don’t forget about the upcoming workshops with Dave Gray & Karl Gude in NYC & Chicago in early May

VizThink Wrap-up: Building Visual Thinking Communities

Source: Brandy Agerbeck,

Just to close the loop on the VizThink wrap-up I wanted to take a quick look back at the session I facilitated on the Tuesday afternoon.

Free Beer
Needless to say, as the schedule emerged, I was nervous that no one would show up. The first draft of the schedule had me presenting in the same time slot as not just cartoonist Scott McCloud but also Dave Gray (Dave was thankfully moved to the morning session)… when I combined that with the fact their were 8 sessions running at a time I got very, very nervous. I jokingly asked Tom Crawford if he could add ***FREE BEER*** to my session title in hopes of drumming up some interest.

What I hadn’t factored on was the apparent desire that people have for community in the Visual Thinking space and was pleasantly surprised when roughly 30 people showed up.

The Presentation
The title, “Building Visual Thinking Communities”, is pretty self explanatory… Just to delve a little deeper what I specifically talked about were; some of my thoughts on community, my experience with VizThink Toronto and finally my recommendations & suggestions for people running their own event.

I’ve uploaded the deck to slideshare or you can view it embedded below:

During the session I included three interactive components. The first two were related where I had everyone pair up, interview each other, and then make a mind map of the other person. In the second component I had the pairs group up (8-10 people) around tables and then introduce their partner to the group.

The third component I deliberately saved for the very end of the session. Selfishly – it could be easily stretched or condensed to fill the time left in the session but from a community point of view I wanted to get participants to start thinking about what they could teach the community at their own. The premise was simple. Take an index card, write your name on it, your city/region and finally a one-liner describing something you could teach at a VizThink session.

Truth be told I wasn’t sure how this exercise would play out. It couldn’t really go horribly wrong but it also wasn’t guaranteed to generate the results I hoped for.

In the end though, I shouldn’t have been concerned. Everyone had an idea and many had two, three and even four ideas! And they were all good.

All in all I think the session was a success. I had a great time facilitating it, and I got the impression the group was enjoying it as well.

Immediately afterwards a few people came up to me and indicated they were interested in getting VizThink evenings running in their community.

Emerging Community
As of today I’ve got the following cities where there are people organizing, or interested in organizing VizThink evenings:

Atlanta, GA
London, England
Seattle, WA
Mountain View, CA
Chicago, IL
New York, NY
Austin, TX

(Edit: Forgot New York! Edit2: Got some interest expressed from Austin too!)

Active VizThink communities are already underway in:

St. Louis

Yes, that’s 11 cities listed above! It’s crazy to think that it hasn’t even been a year since the first VizThink event here in Toronto and now it’s on the verge of truly going global.

If you’re in or near any of these cities please drop me a line and I’ll be happy to hook you up. I’m also in the process of setting up a Cities section on the VizThink wiki where I’ll create a page for each city and a space for people to express interest in organizing or attending.

If your city isn’t listed but you’re interested get in touch with me as well. I’m happy to create a page that will let people express interest in your community as well, and hopefully get something.

I’ll be posting any upcoming events I know about here on this blog so definitely subscribe if you’re interested. (Watch for a London announcement soon). If you’re new to this blog also be sure to check out my Photo Blog.

All the various means of getting in touch with me are in the last slide of the embedded slide deck above. You can also find me at the following sites: LinkedIN, Facebook, Plaxo, VizThink Wiki, Flickr.