Culture Mapping with Dave Gray

Over the past few years I have had a growing interest in the areas of Organisational Psychology and Design Anthropology. When you combine that academic interest with my love of sketching it makes sense that I was pretty excited to be going to Dave Gray’s Culture Mapping masterclass.

Overall, I was really happy with the workshop and got a lot out of it. The tool makes sense and there was opportunity to practice using it in the session. Dave offered great context into organisational culture (adding many things to my growing to-read list) and was very open to the knowledge of the group in the room.

What I liked about the Culture Map was that it wasn’t just about fixing “bad” culture, but it could also be applied as a discovery tool, or a mitigation tool. We were able to run through real examples within groups, and then also watch Dave facilitate a session with a group from the room. It was great to see the tool in action and hear real life insights from participants.

I was a little disappointed that Dave recommended that we not try to use the tool within an organisation we work at. It makes sense of course, you have biases as a member of the org that could invalidate the work. But for me that means that I may not get to put it into practice for a while. I also would have liked to spend more time on some of the implementation tools which Dave recommended, but in fairness they were not really part of the Culture Map it self.

The event was very well facilitated by Dave, and organised by the team at Wildwon. I always like to observe how different facilitators set up their sessions and I certainly picked up a few ideas from Dave. One that I probably won’t use myself, but was interesting is the ‘Blah Blah Blah’ card. We were told that if discussions got off track we could use the ‘Blah Blah Blah; card. I did use it at one point, with the support of another participant. Did feel a bit strange though, almost rude to interrupt by holding up the card. A well intended idea but not one I’d feel comfortable with.

For me it was an enjoyable and valuable way to spend the day. It certainly makes me want to explore culture more and seek out opportunities to apply what I have learned.

My rough sketchnotes from the session are available on Flickr.

Can culture be designed?

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