The Unity Council’s History Mural: Story of a 50-Year Journey

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The Unity Council was born in challenging times. In the 1960s, a freeway cut through the heart of Oakland and, as in many American cities, the result was an era of urban decline and poverty. During this time, the civil rights movement was gaining strength.

Latino activists from several organizations joined forces in 1964 to form the Unity Council, with the purpose of having a stronger, collective voice for their unrepresented community.

A Look Back: Reflections on 35 Years of Visualizing Change

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On October 7, 2013, David Sibbet was a featured speaker at the National Organization Development Network (ODN) Conference in San Jose, California, where he received ODN’s Lifetime Achievement Award. The following article is adapted from his conference presentation and his remarks at the awards ceremony.

I was invited by several ODN colleagues to share with you some of the shaping influences underlying my work and The Grove Consultants International’s methods. It’s an honor to receive this award, and humbling to reflect on the path that brought me here. I’d like to do this with a bit of storytelling.

Mapping a Vision for Social and Emotional Learning in Oakland

Safe, nurturing environments and excellent instruction have been found to result in higher academic achievement and better preparation for college, career and community life. (1)  Based upon these findings, Oakland Unified School District (Oakland Unified) is working a seven-year plan to transform the educational experience of its students using Social and Emotional Learning principles.

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Five Graphic Takeaways from “Learning 2013″

More than 1,600 people converged in Orlando, Florida for Learning 2013, a dynamic immersion in all aspects of organizational learning, hosted by Elliott Masie and sponsored by the MASIE Learning Consortium.

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The Grove’s Rachel Smith provided virtual graphic recording services for keynotes and general sessions, including George Takei, journalist Jane Pauley, Martin Bean from Open University, and more. Screenshots from her notes were shown in real time to the assembly. (2)

Five annotated snapshots follow, drawn from Rachel’s notes.

Storymapping Process Aids Merger, Informs Future Vision for Oakland Unified School District


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The Grove has worked with Family, Schools and Community Partnerships (FSCP), part of the Oakland Unified School District, to envision the department’s journey over the next five years and think about possible concrete steps to strengthen its work.

FSCP, the Oakland public school system’s largest department, addresses all non-academic support for students and families, partnering with external community agencies as needed. The department’s goal is to create full-service schools with a seamless service environment for students and families. This includes everything from nurses in school, mental health, health checks, and family involvement and support, to attendance issues, conflict situations, and students who are having problems in school.

Grove Graphics Support Virtual Gathering About Higher Ed and Online Learning

Recently The Grove’s Rachel Smith graphically supported an online event that addressed the complexities of higher education in a digital age. Using a tablet, illustration software and web-conferencing technologies, Rachel created visual notes during each of the gathering’s three featured online events.

The event was hosted by EDUCAUSE, a networking and resource hub for IT professionals working in higher education. The three-day online Sprint featured an interactive mix of webinars, summary articles by guest bloggers, online discussions and Rachel’s graphic recordings.

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What Is Visual Listening?

Greg Voisen poses a question to David Sibbet during a podcast interview.

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Question: You mentioned that visual listening is at the heart of every meeting. What do you mean by visual listening? I’ve heard of all kinds of listening – compassionate listening, listening from the heart – but what is visual listening?

David Sibbet: Visual listening is showing people how you are listening to them by drawing what you’re hearing as you listen.

Agile Visual Planning: Supporting Innovation and Action

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Agile visual planning empowers both individual leadership and group creativity—a formula for good results for organizations that employ it.

The concept of agile planning is inspired by agile software development, a method of providing versions that are “just good enough” to engage a user base—then iterating through ever more complete and polished releases that reflect real user experience.

Take the Tour: A Webinar Walk-through of the Team Performance Online Survey

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Is your team working together effectively? Gain new insight into your co-located or distributed team, and identify areas for improvement, with the Team Performance Online Survey.

Watch the webinar >

We’ve just posted the recording of our recent webinar (5/14/13) about The Grove’s online survey tool for teams. Laurie Durnell, director of consulting, and Rachel Smith, director of digital facilitation services, walk through the tool from the perspectives of both a team member and a survey administrator.

The Team Performance Online Survey: A Case Study

Editor’s Note: A global biotechnology company began using The Grove’s Team Performance tools three years ago and the Team Performance Online Survey late last year. Their Learning and Development team draws from the Team Performance System to strengthen team cohesion and performance across wide-ranging functions and locations. Here is the company’s Team Performance story as shared by the project lead, a Learning & Development manager.

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Accelerating and improving team performance organization-wide is a key objective for our Learning and Development team. Our company relies heavily on various types of teams to deliver results. We work with intact and within-function teams, as well as with project, cross-functional, geographically dispersed and multicultural teams. Suffice it to say that we have numerous opportunities to use The Grove’s Team Performance Online Survey.

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