Making more meaningful models: A hands-on guide

Steve Whitla
16 October 2017

This will be a practical session on visualising systems in ways that other people can understand. If “all models are wrong but some are useful”, we propose that some of this usefulness comes down to how meaningful the model is to those who didn’t create it. If you have ever built an elegant, powerful, predictive model of a system that excited little or no interest from the people affected by it, then this workshop is for you!

You can apply the principles from this session whether you are building a representation yourself or briefing a graphic designer, standing in front of a whiteboard with a marker pen or making sense of what someone else is scribbling in front of you, building a Powerpoint deck to explain your findings to stakeholders or revising existing material you have inherited. The session will be interactive and will involve drawing, but purely to make the principles come to life - you do not need any artistic talent.

The session will be run by Steve Whitla, the founder of Visual Meaning (, and illustrated with examples from real-life projects. Visual Meaning is a niche consultancy that seeks to make the world a more meaningful place by bringing systems thinking and visual thinking together.