Aiming at a rich harvest? Not without good sowing first!

Aiming at a rich harvest? Not without good sowing first!

When preparing for Visual Harvesting, what kind of harvest can you expect?  It’s the ideas and plans and everything else your participants get to discuss during your meeting. All that in a visual format.

Of course you would want a rich harvest. But how do you get that? By sowing sensibly first. Before a farmer starts sowing, he has carefully thought about which vegetables and which fruits he wants to grow. In the same way, you don’t draw up the agenda, you prepare for harvesting. Like a gardener reflects on which fruits or vegetables to cultivate, you choose what you think is useful to harvest. It’s up to you to set the goals for your meeting. Is it improved relations you’re after? A motivation boost? Ownership? Knowledge-sharing? Fresh ideas? Strategic choices or priorities? And even more so: what kind of dishes do you plan on preparing based on your harvest?

Is your target set? Then follow these five tips to get a maximum out of your harvest.


  1. Pick fertile soil
    Look for an adequate space that provides optimum conditions for dialogue and collaboration. Therefore book a large room soaking in daylight. Make sure that tables and chairs can be moved around.
  2. Choose your best moments to sow
    Make maximal use of your group’s knowledge and dynamism and set up a good process design in such a way that implementing your agenda will lead to powerful results. Give your participants some flexibility and responsibility and show them you appreciate their input. Dare to loosen the reins and accept that things do not necessarily have to turn out the way you would expect them to. Who knows what beautiful things might come out of a spontaneous intervention. A harmonious partnership between facilitator(s) and the visual harvester might bring out some magic.
  3. Provide sufficient water and fertilizer
    An interactive session might wear your participants out. Keep up their energy by offering them alternative approaches like individual reflection and group efforts. Look for a way to turn plenary feedback into valuable learning experiences.
  4. Get rid of weeds and check for vermin
    Things rarely turn out the way you planned them. Something unexpected might always show up, like a seed that produces magnificent new stuff. But it could just as well be some sort of a distraction or side track. That’s why it’s good to never let your guard down: whatever might be distracting is better kept aside until a more appropriate time.
  5. Organize intermediate harvestings
    Interactive participants tend to unleash a free flow of ideas. How not to get lost in that? By taking regular breaths of fresh air. Stand still and take the time to reflect on what has already been, where you are now and what is still to come. It’s the best way to keep your group engaged.

A rationalized process, a good facilitator and an expert visual harvester will guarantee you a fruitful harvest. But of course it doesn’t stop there. Now it’s time to live the harvest within your group or organization, so it will push you forward. Now is the time to find out how to maximize your harvest.