Rich pictures: a means to explore the ‘sustainable mind’?

Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen (2013). Rich pictures: a means to explore the ‘sustainable mind’? Sustainable Development, 21(1) pp. 30–47.



The European Union Framework Package 7 project POINT (Policy Influence of Indicators) is exploring the use of indicators in several domains (most specifically sustainable development) to see how their value and ultimate usefulness can be maximized. One key aspect of POINT is to assess the ways in which groups and communities work to make the greatest use of information. Using an innovative methodology called ‘Triple Task’, the authors are applying a three-cornered approach to gain an understanding of how groups work, how they assesses themselves and how they appear to function from an external perspective.

In this paper, the first stage of Triple Task is described and explored. Task One is effectively a ‘soft’ means for a group to work together on problem identification and action planning, and the key to this is the device known as the Rich Picture. Rich Pictures have been used in group work for over 30 years, primarily as a means for the group to express its preliminary vision concerning a matter of common concern, but so far they have not been applied as a means to explore the conscious and unconscious workings of a group nor have they been assessed in terms of their content and ‘message’.

By understanding the group mind as represented in a picture the authors begin to gain a deeper understanding of the group's own potential to use and exploit information of all kinds and to move towards a deeper ‘Sustainable Group Mind’, and a more focused means to problem solve.

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