Storymap Project Lessons – A Designer’s Perspective


I’ve worked on many Grove Storymap® projects during my 18 years at The Grove. In the beginning, it felt like wading through a swamp of data, struggling to find a way to communicate a client’s complex situation in a clear and simple way. This kind of information design was not like anything I learned as a design major in college.

After years of practice and collaboration with my esteemed colleagues, Laurie Durnell and Rachel Smith among others, it has gotten easier. Below is a summary of some things I have learned.

Don’t Panic in the Data Swamp or Data Void

Grove Storymaps provide a “big-picture” view of information that an organization finds difficult to get its arms around. Clients typically hire us to create Storymaps to help them: 1) define and communicate a strategic process, initiative or vision; 2) get bits of information all on one page to inform decision-making; and 3) build leadership and stakeholder understanding and momentum. read more…

A Project Management Consultant Becomes “The Visual Guy”

Luis Moura

Editor’s Note: Luis Moura is a project-management consultant for The City of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. He has worked as an internal consultant on projects for Calgary’s information technology, emergency response, facilities management, transportation, water, utilities, waste and recycling services.

Luis attended The Grove’s Visual Facilitation for Project Managers workshop in June. A few weeks later, we caught up with him to learn more about how he uses visual practices in his work.


Infographics: Bridge from Data to Visual

GROVE: What led you to become “The Visual Guy” on your team? Have you always been a visual person?

LUIS MOURA: Everything started in 2014 when a colleague gave me the idea to start doing some of my materials using web infographics. I searched online and found some tools. Once I began using these, I quickly got hooked and began looking for ways to translate data from meetings into visual form. read more…

Team Performance Facilitates Cross-Cultural Teaming at W. L. Gore

This article was co-written by The Grove and Gyung Hee Han, a longtime HR business partner at W. L. Gore. Based in Korea, Gyung Hee is the Team Performance lead for Gore’s Asia-Pacific region. The article is the fruit of a conversation in which she shared stories and insights from her extensive experience working with Asia-Pacific and global teams.


As W. L. Gore has grown, its teams have become bigger and the teaming dynamics are more challenging. The team environment in the Asia-Pacific region is especially complex. Many teams function virtually. People work from dispersed locations, navigating Gore’s culture and wide-ranging local cultures while communicating in a language that may not be their first language. Team composition, roles and responsibilities may be in flux. Working in cross-functional teams adds even more complexity. Gore has found the Team Performance System to be especially useful in situations like these where the teaming environment is complex, diverse and global. read more…

Videoconferencing: Twelve Rules of Order


Seriously, look at the camera.

I used to dislike using video in remote meetings. All the social cues we get from following another’s gaze simply don’t work on computer video. No matter where other people look, they seem to be captivated by something just out of view.

Surprisingly, I’m getting comfortable using video—sometimes I even enjoy it. Still, I’ve noticed that it often is used ineffectively. Since I’ve found myself in more video conferences than usual lately, I have been noticing what works and what doesn’t and thinking about why. This led me to write Rachel’s Rules of Order for Videoconferences, a work in progress.

These twelve guidelines actually are not about order so much as about reducing the confusion and disorientation that people feel when meeting remotely. These are useful for any kind of meeting, not just videoconferences.

read more…

The Next Generation of Visual Leaders: Malgosia Kostecka Joins The Grove Team

Editor’s Note: The Grove is delighted to welcome Malgosia to our consulting team. This article is adapted from several get-acquainted conversations about how she found her way to this work.


Q: Do you ever wonder if you were drawn to visual communication because English is not your first language?

Malgosia Kostecka: I was born in Warsaw, Poland, and moved to the Bay Area from Switzerland when I was four years old. Growing up, my parents upheld our Polish heritage through tradition and storytelling.

Assimilating to a new culture and language taught me how we can communicate a great deal without necessarily understanding the language. From a young age, I was fascinated by the way images create a universal language and metaphors bridge a cross-cultural gap. Processing information visually became my dominant mode of learning.

Q: You seem to have a special knack for helping people feel at ease with their creative self-expression.

MK: I graduated with a double major in psychology and fine arts, with the intention of practicing art therapy. People are told at a certain age whether or not they are good at art. I have met many people who have closed themselves off to their creative expression and have gone into a default mode of “I can’t draw.” read more…