The Visualisation process involves drawing people's ideas onto a whiteboard or large sheets of paper "live" during facilitated workshops
For our teams who saw change as a relative unknown, whether that be in technology, roles, processes/procedures or behaviors etc, we needed to quickly develop trust and earn a license to take them on a change journey. Using Martin Coates and his exceptional ‘visualisation’ capability was born out of the need to engage in a manner which allowed the team to have fun while immersing themselves in the process. By drawing the images live during the workshops, supported by Martins breadth of experience in change management, endearing manner and leadership dynamics, the visualisations told the whole story – the need for change, what the future could look like and how we could get there – and as best possible leave everyone aligned having participated in all aspects and seeing the collective result.
I truly believe that the engagement and feedback we have received to date proves that a picture does indeed paint 1000 words.
We recently commissioned Martin to develop a video for us to play at our office launch event. We wanted to communicate a concept of collaboration and innovation that would resonate with our clients and business partners. Martin quickly comprehended our concept, recommended visualisations and worked with us to deliver the final product. The video message did its job perfectly and was the centre of discussion during the event. Martin’s ability to communicate complex messages through his visualisations is amazing. He has a rare talent, and years of experience in consulting change, business improvement and asset management. Martin is friendly and passionate about what he does, which makes him a delight to work with. I cannot recommend Martin enough, for anyone who needs to convey complex messages in a fun, informative and easy to comprehend way. This is not my first engagement with Martin and will definitely not be the last.
Brett Rylance, General Manager of Coras Solutions
“Martin is a highly competent engineer and management consultant. In addition to his already impressive capability, Martin’s genuinely unique talent is in creating compelling visuals depicting subjects as diverse as complex concepts, work flows and processes as well as hypothetical imaginary or future states and physical sites.
"These visualisations are sometimes light hearted and always informative. However, the value is often as much in the interactive approach Martin takes, how the interactive process of creating the visualization occurs then how it can be used as a highly effective communication tool".
Having known and worked with Martin for over 11 years, in a many varied range of consulting engagements, I can state with absolute authority that he has an unique and incredible talent for taking the complex and the confused and translating it into clear and digestible visual communications that are understood and embraced by organisations at all levels - from the boardroom to that basement.
In a world of increasing complexity and confused messaging Martin stands out as a beacon and champion for simplicity and clarity; not only with the amazing visualisations that he produces but also for his personal qualities of empathy, honesty, enthusiasm and total dependability. For Martin, his word is his bond, and the value that brings to his client's and colleagues cannot be overstated.
We were fortunate to secure the services of Martin Coates to assist to develop a visual representation of a technically complex Project – we needed to simplify the messages so that the story could be shared with a wide audience. We initially provided a high-level brief to Martin and then shared some written background material. Martin facilitated an interactive workshop with a small group of Project members to draw out the key themes and, as the workshop progressed, Martin brought the story to life on a whiteboard. Martin was able to tap into the creativity of the group and he was able to interpret very complicated subject matter and represent many years of work in a sketch that was both clear and compelling. Martin delivered the first draft within a week of the workshop and over the following days Martin worked with us to refine the representation. We have included the visualisation work within a public consultation document and I’m sure it will assist to generate meaningful engagement on this important subject. We have been very happy with both the process and the product – it has been a pleasure working with Martin, he was responsive to our needs and delivered a quality piece of work.
"Martin's illustrations have helped to communicate our current changes through visual images. We can say the words, but this needs supporting with visualisation. These visual aids have certainly helped in communicating and acceptance of change across site."
I have known Martin Coates for over six years as my colleague in the MBA Programme for lecturing “Project Management” module at AIS St Helens, Auckland. Martin demonstrated exceptional professionalism while delivering high quality lectures, which always received excellent student satisfaction scores and positive comments from students. His lectures were a blend of strong academic input and a lot of practical application and challenges of the real business world. As a lecturer, Martin could be rated as among the best. His expertise in visualisation of project management concepts was outstanding and first-rated. His candid opinions and business like problem-solving approach was extremely valuable to the programme. Martin possesses an admirable personality of high integrity, sincerity and outstanding commitment towards his work, colleagues and students
"Thanks very much guys. A fantastic drawing, and a great tool for training".
"The entire process has not only helped us to more clearly show our 'fit' in the RNZAF, but has equally helped us better understand who we are as a Squadron and how we contribute to the overall RNZAF mission. It is a very powerful means of communication"
Martin Coates was named as one of the top presenters of day two by a number of conference attendees, as well as being mentioned as part of what people liked most about PRConf14
"Visual storytelling of one kind or another has been around since cavemen were drawing on the walls". Frank Darabont
During 2017 I worked with my colleague in Australia, Geoff Hales, to produce a video about strategic asset management planning, and in particular, the importance of a strategic asset management plan. Geoff did the script and I did the graphics. This a great way to translate a complex topic into a simple message. Click the picture above to see Asset Management - the Movie !
Jo Newton, PGDip in Special Teaching
I had the pleasure of working with Martin to create a drawing that captured the essence of my career, the complex layers that contributed to my personal and professional growth as well as a framework for self-reflection. Martin has a remarkable ability to listen to your story, systems constraints and pipe dreams and create a picture that speaks volumes.
Working between Auckland and Greymouth could have provided a challenge, but not for Martin. We talked, emailed and Skyped our way through an interactive and exciting process. This process and visual product have enabled me to feel more "portable" about who I am and the journey I am on. It has instilled in me a confidence about my role and the possibilities still to be recognised as I navigate, with others, around some fairly complex, uncharted territory
Held on 18 August 2016 at the Distinction Hotel & Conference Centre, the event had a great turnout – with our wonderful local clients, and Beca staff attending from all over the country to help make this event something special. Headlining the evening, we were fortunate to secure the services of Beca's own artist-in-residence – Martin Coates, who orchestrated a fun, interactive session to get everyone's creative side flowing – with a couple of drinks on the side.
Our tagline for the evening was: Fuel your passion. Spark change. Ignite your thinking. And to facilitate this, we encouraged attendees to get involved in a bit of 'blue sky thinking' with Martin: What does the future of the Manawatu look like – no limits! We certainly got some interesting ideas, and it was great to see everyone engaging creatively! As the audience provided their ideas for the future, Martin drew these onto a large sheet of paper as the output was filmed and projected onto a large screen.
"Thanks Martin! It was a great evening and has generated a real buzz amongst our clients"
During 2015 Beca ran a series of workshops with SBS Transit in Singapore to communicate the principles of the new ISO Asset Management Standard. Martin created hand drawn visuals during the presentations to explain the principles of the standard for audiences of up to 100 people at a time.
"I found the whole process with you really positive, you were able to clarify the main message and create an illustration that magnified it without minimising the rest of the info. One of the best outcomes for me personally was that my own passion for my work is now represented so it speaks to others. Thank you for your commitment to getting it right and most importantly for acting on feedback. It was a pleasure to work with you!"
Laia Sastre-Navarro - Assistant Project Manager - Advisory Services Beca
Martin Coates was engaged to perform visualisation "live on stage" during the AMA annual conference at the Mount Smart Stadium on Friday 19th June. There were around 180 attendees from the AMA present, arranged at 25 tables, and divided into 5 teams. During the event, the attendees were tasked with coming up with the key activities that would drive performance in each of the AMA's top 5 priority areas: (1) delivering operational excellence, (2) enabling smarter journeys, (3) growing Ideas, (4) sharing knowledge and expertise, and (5) living alliancing as it's best.
Working from the stage at the front Martin's task was to capture the attendees ideas onto 5 separate flipchart sheets - one for each priority area - as each table presented their thoughts back to the audience. He had to capture the key points from each of the 25 presenters within a couple of minutes before the next table started their feedback - no pressure ! He managed to do this by going into "turbo visualisation mode" and drawing at top speed, despite some of the complex ideas the teams came up with. There was some good audience participation and loads of laughter as he did so which all added to the overall success of the event. We think the AMA must have liked the results as they are now on display in the reception area at the AMA!
Developing a one page visual overview to show the impact of all Metro Train's business functions on the customer's journey
"Your purpose is to make your audience see what you saw, hear what you heard, feel what you felt. Relevant detail, couched in concrete, colourful language, is the best way to recreate the incident as it happened and to picture it for the audience". Dale Carnegie
"Martin brings a special set of creative skills to our workshops and client interactions. His ability to visualise concepts, tools, methodologies, systems and processes into original drawings bring these often complex and multilayered messages to life. Martin makes the complex - simple, and in doing this, makes them more understandable and engaging. His visualisations are used extensively in many areas of our organisation, both internally and externally"
Blair Logan, Principal - People Development, Beca
Phil Wilkins, Senior Structural Engineer, Beca (left) with Martin at the 2017 ACENZ awards
It has been an absolutely amazing journey over the last two years pulling the book on the Christchurch earthquake rebuild together with Martin. The 2017 ACENZ award for the book was the icing on the cake! I feel the single most complicated element of our engineering profession is to simplify and effectively communicate ideas, which is the very essence of what Martin does. Don't underestimate the power of simplification, especially in pictorial form. A wise man once said "I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn't have the time". It takes great skill to take in a lot of information and transform it into something everyone understands. However, with Martin on board you really can't go wrong ! Thanks so much Martin for all your help.
I offer a range of visualisation styles to suit client requirements - from hand drawn imagery in its "raw form" created live during facilitated workshops, to neatened outputs with colour and logos. Results can also be presented as animated PowerPoints or videos.
“The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see” - John Tuley
The visualisation process is sometimes referred to as graphical facilitation (or graphic facilitation). Its all about group engagement to create a visual representation of a complex message using hand drawn images. Pictures are a great way to reduce complexity into messages that are easy to understand. These sessions help everyone get on the same page - and they are fun too !
"Today we have commenced rollout of the posters and are getting a great response. It is far more engaging than another bloody PowerPoint slide!" - Steve Limn, Pacific Steel
Company Strategic Visions often appear as printed statements on office notice boards, where key messages can be lost in translation between management and the rest of the organisation. Representing a Strategic Vision in a fun and engaging way helps people at every level within the organisation to “see the big picture”, understand the messages and accept their involvement in achieving the outcomes.
“By visualizing your goals, you can get your subconscious to work toward making these mental pictures come true” (Success Magazine)
the face of ever increasing competition, how can you help clients quickly and
easily understand the scope and value of the services you provide? A one-page
visual summary can be a valuable differentiator in helping promote your
services in a fun and engaging way.
“For a man to carry on a successful business he must have imagination. He must see things as in a vision, a dream of the whole thing” (Charles M. Schwab).
Having a clear understanding of specific roles and responsibilities is essential to the smooth operation of the organisation. Knowing who does what not only increases productivity but can also avoid misunderstandings due to overlaps in responsibility.
”Vision is not just a picture of what could be;
it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more” (Rosabeth
Clarifying processes and procedures helps people understand how different activities connect, identifies areas of waste, and helps improve lines of communication between teams. A one-page Visualisation can often help people "see the big picture" and the importance of their role within the overall system.
stops an organization faster than people who believe that the way you worked
yesterday is the best way to work tomorrow” (Jon Madonna)
In a world of information overload, having access to the right business performance indicators is critical. Graphics can be used to track ongoing progress against expected outcomes in innovative ways that are visually engaging and easy to understand.
mind must see visual achievement of the purpose before action is initiated” (Mack R. Douglas)