The power of Art in communicating an idea

My previous post asked the question about what do you see in the image of the tree that represents Link4Growth and the 7 principles that underpin it...

When this image was first created in October / November 2015 it was designed to illustrate what Link4Growth stood for and to list the 7 Principles clearly. This would enable the person explaining the Tree to cover off all the main points behind what Link4Growth stood for.

Over the past year I have been enlightened somewhat through conversations that our behaviour can hinder what we are trying to achieve without even noticing it. One such behaviour is "the desire to tell people something because we think that it is important for them to hear what we want to say". Most often without their permission or desire to hear it at all!!


Whenever I have reached into my bag to take out the laminate above (we have 5 others to explain different areas)... it has always been on the basis that people have asked what is Link4Growth about?

I have then launched into a huge explanation of the above laminate... as you have probably guessed already... they never asked for this tirade... nor the extent of it... nor did they probably take in a fraction of what I was saying... they were mostly looking at the tree... half listening at best.

Missed the point entirely

The laminate idea I believe was hugely important as it symbolises Link4Growth and the principles upon which Link4Growth is founded well... but... and this is huge... I entirely missed the power of this laminate and why ART is so powerful as a metaphor. It was only upon reflecting on a conversation with David Dann (from the Zeitgeist movement) about why Art is so useful to explain difficult concepts that I woke up and realised I had been totally missing the point of the laminates.

The laminates aren't there to make sure I don't miss anything in my spiel... they are there to invite people to comment on what people see in them...

... and so

What happens differently when people are invited to comment? People look much more intently. They take in the whole thing. They comment profusely ... of course there is no right or wrong. People begin to see things in these laminates that appeal to them... use their filters... home in on what is important to them.

Most significant of all they are creating a unique version of what this image means to them. No one else, just their unique impression. They created that view. This is like the difference between understanding some of what people are speaking in a different language and actually constructing sentences and participating fully in a conversation. The work involved in creating sentences and replying is way more difficult.

When I was explaining (telling) about a laminate there was no way of knowing what was being received... but asking people what they see in the laminate all comes from their creativity.

Final words

I have now seen an absolutely practical example of why it is so important to NOT tell people what you think they need to hear. We wipe out their opportunity to come up with their own solutions. To innovate new ideas, create their own answers, problem solve for themselves.

If all these laminates have done in almost 3 years is teach me the power of not telling people stuff then they have proved invaluable... however I am looking forward to hearing what people have to say about the images above and the others at the events to come. 


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