vizchallenge-ideamap-2-2vizthink-ron-goulds-artrain-planWhat is Artrain? Artrain USA is America’s Hometown Art Museum. A nonprofit organization, its mission is to enrich lives and build communities through the arts. As an art museum housed in vintage rail cars and traveling via the nation’s railways, Artrain USA brings world class art exhibitions and art education programs to communities and their residents.

In one of the VizThink general sessions, three representatives from Artrain explained their challenge to the group of nearly 400 — Deb Polich (executive director), Anne Castellano (Switch), and Brian Tolle (board member). Artrain will no longer be able to use the rail system to bring art to commutities, so they are partnering with a company called Switch to transition to trucks that “unfold” into a portable museum.

They provided the following statement to summarize the challenge they wanted VizThink participants to address: “How do we visualize the power of the Artrain experience to engage individual and corporate sponsorship?” Next came the VizChallenge.

Tom Crawford (VizThink CEO) created one of the most unusual conference general sessions. He chose three facilitators in advance (me, David Sibbet, and Christine Martell), but we were given no details of the challenge. After Artrain’s problem description, we had 10 minutes to ask any questions. Then I took 6 volunteers from the audience, David took 12, and we left Christine with the remaining 300+…sorry Christine! Each team had 30 minutes to work and each used a completely different method to generate ideas to address the challenge.

My team used the Team Idea Mapping Method (as explained in chapter 9 of the Idea Mapping book). Susi Watson captured the group’s ideas using MindManager software (download a trial version). This is the top map you see in this posting. Each group presented their results to the general session after 30 minutes. Our first draft was a bit more crude because our objective was to generate a volume of ideas rather than focus on visual appeal. Susi made it prettier after the fact. Susi Watson is and artist, consultant and facilitator. She helps conceptualize and create valuable customer experiences for both public and private sector clients.

Since the session a couple of things have happened. Ron Gould was one of the six participants on my team, and in hindsight uniquely gifted to contribute. He has drafted a possible plan for Artrain. This document is the second visual above. Brandy Agerbeck was also in our group. You can see her initial thoughts for this challenge (Tuesday January 29 – Morning General Session) and her notes on the other sessions she participated in at this link.

If any of our other team members (or anyone else) would like to continue to contribute ideas for the Artrain Challenge, please leave your comments on this blog. We will continue to work with and support Artrain. You can see a clearer pdf version of this map on my website under “Additional Maps”. If you click on any column it will sort alphabetically and you can then search by title (The VizChallenge) or author of the map.