VizThink Toronto 7: July 24th

Just a quick note to let everyone know that VizThink Toronto 7 is scheduled for July 24, 2008. Details of the actual topic are still in the works but it’s going to be good! (Have we ever disappointed? ;) )

You can find all of the details on the wiki at – capacity for this event is limited to ~35.

Also – a reminder about the Dave Gray workshop the next day, July 25th – there’s still a few spots left… it’s going to be a great day. Information & registration can be found here.

I look forward to seeing you out at one, or both, of the events!


[Workshop] "Visualizing Information" – A Daylong Workshop With Karl Gude & Dave Gray

If you’re in, near, or can get to New York City or Chicago in the first days of May I highly suggest you check out the upcoming day long workshops that we’re putting on through VizThink.

There’ll be no drab, droning PowerPoint lecture in this session – Dave and Karl are both dynamic & interactive presenters – not only are you going to learn a lot, you’ll have a fun time doing it.

I’ve had the pleasure of being in a few of Dave’s sessions over the past couple of years and hung out with Karl quite a bit at VizThink San Francisco back in January. Both are great presenters (their VizThink sessions were the highest rated across the entire conference) and all around fun guys.

If you need to give your boss some info to let him/her know more (without letting them know it’ll actually be fun too) then point them to the VizThink blog post (incl. below) – your secret is safe with me:

Visualizing Information: A one-day workshop with Karl Gude and Dave Gray

Participants will learn how visual thinking can be used to explore complex information and present it more effectively. This workshop combines high-level design principles with practical applications-–rules of thumb and “tricks of the trade”–that professional information designers use to quickly create clear representations from complex or potentially confusing information.

Participants will learn through a series of hands-on exercises, designed to develop their analytical, design and visual thinking abilities. Workshop facilitators Karl Gude and Dave Gray have, collectively, more than 50 years of practical, hands-on experience, creating visual explanations for national news media and multinational corporations.

Topics covered include:
– Introduction to visual language and visual literacy
– Strategies of information design
– Primary methods for organizing both qualitative and quantitative information
– Professional tips and tricks

Your presentations don’t have to be dull and ridden with bullet points. After this workshop you will understand how to explore, organize and visually display information of all kinds, from complex data sets to visual instruction manuals.

For registration and pricing information go here. The New York workshop is May 2nd, Chicago’s May 7th.

Hope you can make it out!

– 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

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!