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Graphic recording powerful stories at Future of Leadership 2018

Future of Leadership - MathewsThis year I was invited to support Australia’s premier leadership conference, the Future of Leadership series, as the event’s official graphic recorder at Sydney’s International Convention Centre. This was a super event to graphic record at as the conference series attracts top speakers and more than 2000 delegates annually, bringing together members of corporate, education, government, NFP and small business sectors. The Future of Leadership series provides excellent opportunities to rub shoulders with the most motivated and influential thought leaders within key industries spanning the Australian and international business community. Each speaker had 25 minutes to share their story, ideas and insights with the audience.Future of Leadership - HillDuring the full day event, I worked furiously to graphic record straight onto large paper posters attached to a whiteboard. In parallel, I also captured visual notes in a sketch pad to transfer onto the posters when I finalised the posters the next day. Adding the finishing touches poster included building in illustration detail, colour and shading so each graphic recording poster became even more eye-catching.Future of Leadership - MastersGraphic recording back-to-back speakers at a conference can be intense work as the information comes thick and fast and you need to listen intently. But it is also incredibly rewarding as I help personal, powerful and meaningful stories live on beyond the event as a creative memory tool for delegates.Future of Leadership - ScammellWhatever your work, whatever your position, this one-day conference series equip attendees with tools and insights to make them a better leader both personally and professionally. To check out the full line-up of top-notch business and leadership speakers that I graphic recorded, click here: futureofleadership.com.au/speakers And above all, by attending Future of Leadership, delegates were learning but also helping an event that supports at risk Thai children and communities through the charity partner Hands Across The Water.Future of Leadership - McCrindle

ICC AuditoriumThe FOL2018 venue: the amazing ICC Sydney just before doors opened!

Using sketches to grow campaign ideas and spark great client conversations

Ag Storytelling 1Over the past two years, I’ve been doing some interesting illustration and storyboard work for C7EVEN Communications. They’re a smart and rapidly growing communication and marketing agency based in Tamworth (NSW) and Sydney that connects its clients with audiences in regional and rural Australia.Ag Storytelling 2At their heart the C7EVEN team are great storytellers and, from time to time, when they’ve needed to bring a concept, campaign or story idea to life visually in front of their clients they’ve picked up the phone and given me a call. You’ll see a sample of my pencil and ink storyboard work for the team in this blog post – each piece was used to introduce a campaign idea and start a discussion with a client.Farm Concept 1Interestingly my work has not been used for a final or external campaign but in the earlier planning stages where getting conversation momentum around an idea is important. What I love about this is that the C7EVEN team look to visuals, sketches and pictures to quicken understanding, foster alignment and spark conversations around their thinking. Plus, when my sketches have been printed out on big boards or paper, it gives the C7EVEN team something tangible thing to discuss, pass around and touch in meetings.This is for me is a unique and fresh approach and ties in with what motivates me: using authentic, hand drawn pictures to open minds to a seed of an idea and at the same time start good conversations.Farm concept 2P.S. The C7EVEN Instagram account is worth a follow. If you’re a rural tragic like me, their ‘on-and-off the road’ photos will take you to some amazing and remote places right across regional Australia. Check it out here: instagram.com/c7even_commsFarm concept 3

Illustrating ‘Feedback Flow’: a visual business book on embedding a feedback culture

Feedback FlowIllustrating written work that has energy, insights and stories that jump off the page is a joy. This was the case when I illustrated Georgia Murch’s latest business book: ‘Feedback Flow – the ultimate illustrated guide to embed change in 90 days’. Georgia is a leading expert in designing feedback cultures for organisations across Australia helping them build trust and respect through conversations. www.georgiamurch.com

Today, leaders want to create high-performing teams, cultures, products and services that ripple throughout their business and into the market. 
But what is required to do this? How should they go about it?
 This straight-talking illustrated book shows readers how to create lasting change and become the feedback culture that people love working in and for. A feedback culture that not only sticks, but flows.Feedback FlowGeorgia has worked with public and private clients for over 20 years, leading teams and businesses, designing and facilitating culture change and leadership programs. Georgia truly appreciates the diversity and challenge of complex workforces and the intricacies of managing a business while leading change.Feedback FlowThe illustration process was very rewarding and I created well over 100 unique hand drawn illustrations for the book. I spent many hours over my drawing board, reading, drafting and tinkering with concepts and ideas. I worked closely with Georgia and her super team of Kelly Irving and Ellie Schroeder. Kelly is a highly sought after editor for people who want a partner to produce their best work and to create a book that has impact and influence. Kelly has been behind some of the best sellers you’ll have come across in book shops right across Australia. www.kellyirving.com And Ellie? Well, in my mind, she is one of the most talented designers I have been lucky to work with. You can see her blog post on Georgia’s book here. But don’t stop there – do spend some more time exploring her website. There is definitely magic in her approach and expertise. www.ellieschroeder.comFeedback FlowHere’s what Georgia had to say about my illustration work for her business book:

“Guy Downes, you are one legendary illustrator! It’s always such a ride working with you when you’re capturing the visuals for workshops, but this book took it to the next level.” Georgia Murch, Feedback & Cultural Change Expert, www.georgiamurch.com

Raising health and safety awareness among business leaders using an illustrated story map

Leaders Visual FrameSoji Learning & Change work with hundreds of business leaders across Australia every year by delivering unique learning and change programs. A while back they got a brief to help one of their clients refresh a safety learning program for leaders. The brief was to improve workshop engagement and creating a stronger connection to the importance of safety in the organisation. As part of the design they built an innovative exercise that combined visuals and storytelling.

The group activity used a eye-catching yet simple illustrated map of a country community typical to where the organisation operates. Each group was then asked to use the visual as a prompt for discussion and story sharing. They talked about the system impact of accidents and injuries and the negative effect injuries can have on a community over time. This in turn led the teams to have conversations during the workshop about their work, health & safety responsibilities and the positive actions they could take forward.

Who drew the map of the country town? Yes, you guessed it. It was a wonderful brief as I was allowed to imagine what this bustling, cosy country town would look like. Knowing that this simple illustration could help play a part in getting employees home safely every night certainly made the whole process even more meaningful. A small drawing with a big heart. Now that’s work I love. For more information on Soji Learning & Change, please visit: soji.com.au

Adding drawing goodness to Savage Greatness!

Savage Sell

Photo Source: Vanessa Raath

Since early 2016 I have been incredibly lucky to provide business illustrations to two industry gurus. They are Greg Savage and Chris Savage. And every year when they hit the road on their ‘Savage Speaker Series’ in the main cities across Australia, New Zealand, UK and South Africa, it’s been my hand drawn illustrations that pop up on their presentation slides. I work hard to provide simple yet eye-catching, relevant and memorable little cartoons to support the blend of recruitment and professional services lessons, learnings and insights they provide on the big screen and from the stage.
Savage SELL

Photo Source: Greg Savage

So far, thousands (and I mean thousands) of business leaders, managers and employees have packed out auditoriums to grab the ‘gold’ that Greg and Chris have been sharing across their first three speaker series. To date, the speaker series have been:

Savage Growth – Powering Profits in Disrupted Times: ‘New competition, client and candidate expectations, technology, delivery channels, financial models. Yet conditions are perfect to differentiate, pull ahead of the market and explode profit growth’.

Savage S.P.R.I.N.T – The Six Pillars of the Future Fit Recruiter: ‘100 proven tips, tools and tactics to drive billings’.

Savage SELL: ‘Machines will do hackwork, process and drudgery. You, the human, must be brilliant at what machines cannot do! And machines can’t sell. To drive sales success in this ‘new world’ of recruitment… you must learn to Savage SELL!’

Savage SELL

Photo Source: Ali Moroane

Each speaker series format is a fast-paced 4-5 hour intensive yet fun workshop. Each workshop is made up of fresh content, providing a proven blueprint on every facet of leading-edge sales and business.

If you don’t know about Greg or Chris, start today, right now, this minute. I highly recommend you follow them across their extremely active social media platforms, websites and blogs. Tap into the timeless business craft and learnings that they so regularly, generously and openly share with their community.

In the meantime, if you can’t wait and you’re eager to read a bit more, here’s a quick overview with two short biographies. And yes, as you may have guessed already, Greg and Chris are brothers!

Greg Savage is a leader of the global recruitment industry, with a career spanning thirty-five years, and is a regular keynote speaker at staffing conferences around the world. After decades starting, running, building and improving great recruitment businesses, Greg now provides board advisory, consulting and keynote speaking services to organisations across the world, focusing on growth, expansion and profitability. Web site: gregsavage.com.au

Chris Savage is one of Asia Pacific’s pre-eminent public relations, digital, marketing and professional services industry leaders. What drives Chris is helping leaders and businesses accelerate growth. Over 25 years in roles ranging from Managing Director to CEO to COO to Chairman, Chris has built and grown successful businesses and global brands. As a leader, Chris thrives on helping others achieve their potential – to be the very best they can be. He is also an accomplished keynote speaker and speaks at major conferences across the world. Web site: thesavageco.com

Here’s what Chris and Greg said about my work:

“Guy’s drawings added huge power to the engagement with our audiences, and helped us tell our stories and messages with clarity and impact. Guy is quick to understand what’s required, and produces his work with professionalism and excellence. He’s a class act and I highly recommend him.”Chris Savage thesavageco.com

“The main job of a public speaker is to get the message across with powerful words, usually with stories and insights based on experience. But the audio-visual component plays a key, often under-rated role. The verbal message can be strongly reinforced, even brought to life, by a powerful image. This is why we engaged Guy to illustrate our last three international speaking events… and the feedback we got proved we made a wise decision. The illustrations are often quirky, but always on point… not that dissimilar to how Chris and I hope to make our presentations overall. Guy is a talent… but also a delight to work with, and one of our staunchest allies”.Greg Savage gregsavage.com.au

Savage Series Selfie

Photo Source: Greg Savage

Not credentials, coasters! A fresh way to tell a company story.

Soji and Guy Downes - Coasters
Discovery, curiosity, experimentation and storytelling are core to Soji Learning & Change – a nationwide consultancy based out of Adelaide that develops leaders, aligns strategy and shapes culture. So it was no surprise when they recently approached me with the brilliant idea of developing a set of coasters that tells a micro story as well as their approach to business. As the illustrator, my role was come up with a simple but rich metaphor that could bring the whole story to life as well as the individual sentence on each coaster. I centred my illustrations on people working to nurture and grow a beautiful garden.

Other than a great spot to park your tea or coffee, the coasters will be used as client gifts and as an alternative to PowerPoint credentials in business development meetings to help spark dialogue and questioning. Imagine ditching the laptop or iPad and simply spreading six coasters on a table alongside the person you are meeting? For me that’s fresh, bold thinking and a great way to share a story and foster a meaningful conversation.
Coasters

Coasters

Coasters

Coasters

Illustrating a coffee table book for The Growth Project

Ripples - book illustrated by Guy Downes
After 12 months of learning and growing as part of The Growth Project, the charity and business leaders involved in the program produced a collection of their thoughts, learnings and advice. These stories were pulled together to create an illustrated book called ‘Ripples’. As the book’s illustrator, my role was to bring to life a key message from each story with a simple B&W cartoon. As you can see, each illustration was given a full page, which really let each cartoon have a big impact. The first photo shows me at the book launch next to a banner with all the illustrations.

Filled with contributions from charities you might never have heard of and the business leaders who have travelled beside them in the journey, ‘Ripples’ shares great lessons and learnings that will inspire, move or spark you into action.

The Growth Project is a non-profit organisation that supports small, successful charities to maximise their impact on the world. You can see my previous work for The Growth Project here: http://www.guydownes.com/2015/10/helping-those-who-help-2/
Ripples - book illustrated by Guy Downes

Telling important stories in 30 seconds: exploring a new video scribe animation format

Working closely with Soji Learning & Change, we’ve been exploring a new, micro visual storytelling format, which we’re calling SNAP videos (Short Narrative And Picture). These 30 second bursts of sketched storytelling get to the point, but also have a twist in the tail.

This video example for Soji is a prototype. The idea is to create a structure that unfolds in two parts. Initially we hear the voiceover together with my hand sketching out a picture. Then the shot zooms out to reveal the key image positioned within a different or unexpected setting that amplifies the message or gives a twist to the story (helping people to get curious and thinking differently). The story and picture is then reinforced with wording, which appears on the screen at the very end.

Whether you are looking for a way to support a change or development initiative, highlight values and behaviours or reinforce elements of a new strategy, we think these short blasts will be a great way of keeping messages top of mind and could be used in face-to-face settings (large or small), online or across social media. To see more of my visualisation work with Soji Learning & Change, please visit: http://sketchspeak.com.au/#welcome

Drawing out key ideas and insights at #ItsuptoYOUth

Youth-Health_Guy-Downes-1
In NSW, there are approximately 2.4 million children and young people. Engaging with, listening to and letting this important group in society have their voices heard was recently a key focus at “#ItsuptoYOUth Youth Health Policy Consultation” workshop for young people of Greater Western Sydney aged between 14-24 years old. As the graphic recorder at the event, held in the beautiful old Parramatta Town Hall, my role was to capture and draw out the content from a series of fast paced and wide ranging group conversations on key issues across the youth health and services spectrum. The energy in the room was great and it was a privilege to take the visual notes on some of the ideas, insights and issues that matter to children and young people today.
Youth-Health_Guy-Downes-2
Youth-Health_Guy-Downes-3

Graphic recording at the CSIRO SMiSposium 2016 conference

CSIRO SMiSposium 2016 conference
I was recently invited to graphic record the ‘CSIRO SMiSposium 2016: Partnering for the Future’ conference in Sydney at Doltone House. This CSIRO Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools program (SMiS) event was aimed at sparking important conversation about science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Australia. As the event’s graphic recorder, my role was to draw creative and relevant visual notes of the key presentations given by a range of experts from education, STEM, government, industry and academia backgrounds. The presentations, conversations, insights and ideas were fantastic content for graphic recording and live scribing. Here are some posters of my work as well as a great shot of the bustling conference room with my graphic recording boards in the background.
CSIRO SMiSposium 2016 conference
CSIRO SMiSposium 2016 conference