• German
  • English

Graphic Recording is more than just drawing quickly


Some of the most important thin­kers and doers of our time from the world of eco­no­my, poli­tics, and aca­de­mia rely on his skills as a Visu­al Cata­lyst. In an exclu­si­ve inter­view, Mar­kus Engel­ber­ger tells us what Gra­phic Record­ing is, how he star­ted in the pro­fes­si­on, and why a good Gra­phic Recor­der has to do more than ‘just’ draw.

Mar­kus Engel­ber­ger: Visu­al Cata­lyst & Crea­ti­vi­ty Enab­ler

Mar­kus Engel­ber­ger is known as a pioneer and inno­va­tor in the visua­li­sa­ti­on sce­ne.

Mr Engel­ber­ger, could you tell our rea­ders how you work?

My job as a Gra­phic Recor­der is to make dia­lo­gues, ide­as, and know­ledge visi­ble in real time. I need to be a keen obser­ver, a curious ana­ly­ser, empa­thic lis­tener, sharp thin­ker with spe­ci­fic know­ledge and a quick ‘doer’ (dra­wer). Drawing is just one of the many ele­ments in the crea­ti­ve pro­cess. If you were to hear the word ‘inno­va­ti­on’ and then draw a light bulb, well, that’s not enough. A machi­ne can do the same. Thanks to my edu­ca­ti­on and vast expe­ri­ence, I bring a deep under­stan­ding of the lear­ning pro­cess in a com­pa­ny, bes­i­des the skill of quick gra­phic imple­men­ta­ti­on. Moreo­ver, expert and rele­vant under­stan­ding for the com­plex sub­jects my cli­ents ope­ra­te in are necessa­ry to crea­te per­ti­nent pic­tures. In this case, I’m rare­ly the expert on the sub­ject. The experts are tho­se peop­le who work day in, day out with the­se topics. Howe­ver, I am an expert when it comes to accom­pany­ing the deve­lo­p­ment, trans­for­ma­ti­on, and crea­ti­vi­ty of a cli­ent. Visua­li­sa­ti­on is a work tool I use to sup­port the­se pro­ces­ses.

Im star­ting to under­stand why Gra­phic Record­ing is more than just drawing…

Pre­cise­ly. There’s a lot more behind the pro­cess. Gra­phic Record­ing is, inci­dent­al­ly, more diver­se than one would think. The scope of this method is as varied as that seen in pic­tures. If I record the core messages said by the key­note spea­kers and panel­lists at a big con­fe­rence in front of hund­reds of peop­le, my approach will be dif­fe­rent from, say, an inti­ma­te set­ting with three mem­bers of a com­pa­ny Board who’ll use my pic­tures to crea­te new stra­te­gies and com­mu­ni­ca­te them easi­ly and under­stand­a­b­ly. Regard­less if the pro­cess takes place in a mee­ting room or during a con­fe­rence: by pre­cise lis­tening, obser­ving, fee­ling and con­den­sing the con­tent, I trans­form ver­ba­li­sed con­tent heard during the event or mee­ting, as well as non-ver­bal lay­ers, into sto­ries and images.

At the end of the day, a minu­te of words and images sur­face and the­se con­tain the most important con­tents of one or more days, cemen­ting expe­ri­en­ces and events lived by the par­ti­ci­pants. As a refres­hing coun­ter­ba­lan­ce to our digi­tal world, cli­ents often even use ana­lo­gue inspi­ra­tio­nal mile­stones, sci­en­ti­fic data, and stra­te­gic pic­tures. Of cour­se, depen­ding on the pro­ject, I can also work digi­tal­ly.

Which cli­ents most­ly use your ser­vices?

Every human being has the poten­ti­al to beco­me a Visu­al Thin­ker. See­ing some­thing hel­ps us grasp con­cepts. Thanks to my con­tri­bu­ti­on, I crea­te an addi­tio­nal lay­er of inter­ac­tion and under­stan­ding: my work makes sen­se even across so many dif­fe­rent set­tings. I work for inno­va­ti­ve orga­ni­sa­ti­ons in the who­le world. From Ugan­da to Lat­via, from Dubai to Alp­bach in Tyrol. I’m con­stant­ly lear­ning some­thing new, which then flows into my work. Around 20% of my pro­jects are dedi­ca­ted to Gra­phic Record­ing events. 80% of my work hap­pens behind clo­sed doors. I’m boo­ked by whoever needs me the most as a sup­por­ter and over­seer of com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on, reflec­tion, crea­ti­vi­ty, inno­va­ti­on, deve­lo­p­ment, and trans­for­ma­ti­on pro­ces­ses.

How do you beco­me a Gra­phic Recor­der?

The best opti­on would be for you to enrol in my ‘Vien­na School of Visu­al Com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on’. (Wink). No, jokes asi­de, the­re is no spe­ci­fic way. Some peop­le, like mys­elf, come from working with peop­le and learn how to chan­nel their natu­ral talent for visua­li­sa­ti­on. Others are trai­ned illus­tra­tors or desi­gners and under­stand that visua­li­sa­ti­ons are use­ful com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on tools. The novel­ty for them is the speed of live drawing, the the­mes, the orga­ni­sa­ti­ons requi­ring their ser­vices and, abo­ve all, direct inter­ac­tion with peop­le.

Well then, how did you get into the job?

I’m a trai­ned faci­li­ta­tor. For more than 17 years, I accom­pa­nied and sup­por­ted peop­le, groups, teams, and orga­ni­sa­ti­ons in their lear­ning and deve­lo­p­ment pro­ces­ses. As pic­tures speak lou­der than 1,000 words, I always set visu­al aids to words, sen­ten­ces, num­bers, and non­ver­bal forms of com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on to sup­port dia­lo­gue and crea­ti­vi­ty. It was never my inten­ti­on to beco­me a Visu­al Faci­li­ta­tor or Gra­phic Recor­der. Howe­ver, I also belie­ve life is made for living and can only be unders­tood in hind­sight: that’s why I try a lot of new things out.

Due to my curio­si­ty, I stumb­led upon the recent­ly coi­ned expres­si­on – at least in Euro­pe – of ‘visu­al faci­li­ta­ti­on’. At last I’d found a term for what I’d been doing all the time. For the last 4 years I’ve been working all over the world as a Gra­phic Recor­der. The dif­fe­rence bet­ween terms is, inci­dent­al­ly, that ‘record­ing’, as the name says, focu­ses on the docu­men­ta­ti­on. Visu­al Faci­li­ta­ti­on is the acti­ve orga­ni­sa­ti­on and mode­ra­ti­on of group pro­ces­ses sup­por­ted by pre-pre­pa­red or real time visua­li­sa­ti­ons. Only few peop­le in Euro­pe have the dex­teri­ty requi­red by this mas­ter skill. Most of the times, faci­li­ta­tors and Gra­phic Recor­ders work tog­e­ther. I see mys­elf as a Visu­al Cata­lyst, as this con­cept tru­ly reflects and descri­bes my skills as well as my will to be a ves­sel for posi­ti­ve chan­ge.

Share Post
Written by

Das Kunstmagazin, das mehr Zeit zum Lesen und mehr Raum zum Schauen beansprucht: ein Gegentrend zu vielen Megatrends. Geeignet für Kunstliebhaber, die tiefer gehen möchten und bereit sind, inspiriert zu werden. Intellektuell anspruchsvolle Inhalte, innovatives Layout und elegantes Design auf höchstem Qualitätsstandard.

Shopping Cart
There are no products in the cart!
Continue Shopping