Systemic Practice and Action Research

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 67–77 | Cite as

Rich Picture: The Role of the Facilitator

Original Paper


Information Systems for complex situations often fail to adequately deliver quality and suitability. One reason for this failure is an inability to identify comprehensive user requirements. Seldom do all stakeholders, especially those ‘invisible’ or ‘back room’ system users, have a voice when systems are designed. To improve upon this, system designers use rich pictures (RPs) as a diagrammatic means of identifying differing world views with the aim of creating shared understanding of the organisation. RPs have predominantly been used as freeform, unstructured tools with no commonly agreed syntax. This paper focuses only on the early stages of RP facilitation and is part of a large scale research project involving analysis on a substantial collection of RPs. Although facilitation is well documented in other domains there is a dearth of information and advice within academic literature on how to facilitate RP collaborative group drawing exercises. Thus, three styles of RP facilitation are presented showing how facilitator instruction and approach to delivery affects the initial picturing process and outcome. Results, suggest that the method one takes when instigating RP group work has profound influences on the group behaviour and the resulting RPs. From the researchers point of view it is hoped that this paper might act as a catalyst for debate concerning the role of the facilitator in collaborative diagramming.


Rich picture Facilitation Workshop Best practice Practitioner 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceHeriotWatt UniversityEdinburghScotland, UK

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