Monday, November 17, 2014

Storytelling and the power of a simple vector.

There's the proverbial "arc to a story" that defines its dramatic (or not-so-dramatic) moments over time. When you make it explicit and actually identify the plot points and map them onto a time-line (as Vonnegut so famously did for Cinderella - my version below) it becomes clear that you can't have a hill without a valley and that distorted lines are indicative of action. If nothing ever happens in your life then you're either just boring or you have flat-lined prematurely and you're actually deceased.

“Vonnegut on the Shapes of Stories” (Cinderella) YouTube. 30 Oct. 2010. Web. Sun April 2014.

Visualizing complex journeys with vectors is a powerful way to tame complexity long enough to get a real sense of stakeholder needs and systemic inconsistencies. This technique was used for my paper on visual sensemaking and informs maps that describe the journey of a person with chronic illness. When their path, as well as the paths of other stakeholder groups,  viz. healthcare system and care-giver community, are plotted on the same time line, pattern emerges that may suggest how situations  can be improved or re-imagined for better outcomes.

...more on the simple vector to come....