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Knowledge Management Tips – Capture your ideas better with visual note-taking

June 14, 2019

National AIDS Programme Managers and Civil Society Organisations are tasked with using innovation for HIV messaging, community/public education and employee training and capacity building. Brainstorming ideas and capturing those new concepts is not an easy task using “old school” text on a whiteboard or recorded minutes.  For your next idea-generation meeting, try “visual notetaking”.

Visual notetaking or “sketchnoting”  is a process of representing ideas non-linguistically (That’s a fancy way of saying, “drawing pictures”). Visual notetaking can include concept mapping but also more artistic ways of visually capturing and representing ideas.

On the simpler side of the visual notetaking continuum, visual notes can be used to create narrated art. On the complex end of the spectrum, some visual notetaking applications support the creation of narrated “sketchnotes” (whiteboard animation videos) which include audio narration synchronised to screencasts of drawings. Visual or graphic facilitation can be used at meetings to summarise presentations and guide discussions. Whether simple or complex, visual notes can be used to more deeply process information as well as communicate it to others with images.

For example, Knowledge Management Coordinator, PANCAP Knowledge for Health Project, Dr Shanti Singh-Anthony introduced Visual Notetaking to the PANCAP Advisory Group on Resource Mobilization in February 2019 to capture the group’s ideas for a marketing approach to PANCAP’s resource mobilisation.  Illustrated below are the results:

The technique proved ideal for concisely capturing the meeting’s ideas for target audiences,  key messages, marketing collaterals and other critical elements of a marketing plan for PANCAP. Dr Singh-Anthony recommends visual note-taking for any activity where ideas must be captured and communicated succinctly.  She posited “The old English adage – a picture is worth a thousand words applies nicely to visual note-taking. Visual note-taking allows you to capture and present complex ideas in ways that are easily understood and remembered. I have found this tool to be extremely useful as a student and professional and highly recommended it!”

To learn more about visual notetaking and some of the other ideas shared in our article, view Rachel Smith’s 18 minute TEDx talk, “Drawing in Class,” which provides an excellent overview about the “what and why” of visual notetaking.

To learn more about how PANCAP utilises Knowledge Management for learning and sharing, click here.