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1. The initial idea that "stuck". This is one of the first SFDs I created for the third part of the story. I liked the way that the WEF defined skills and abilities, and wanted to illustrate idea. Essentially, abilities you gain over a long period of time (often starting in early childhood) but skills are gained on the job over shorter periods and they are more transient. At first I explored a visual translation of their specific skills and abilities classification.
2. Metaphor exploration. We didn't want to get into the prediction game and create any actual charts about what might happen in the future, so the idea of a metaphor seemed like a good option. While we explored MANY different ideas, the tree from my initial SFD wouldn't get out of my head.
3. More trees! There are a lot of different directions you can go. Should we introduce time? Should we suggest evolution and adaptation? Should we incorporate the bigger picture and external forces? I experimented with these questions through sketching, duh.
4. But there's more! I knew that the tree couldn't tell the whole story, and was tempted to include different charts that could help fill the gaps. The challenge was tying them together, which we didn't quite solve.
5. The parts that work. Finally we decided to stick with the elements of the tree metaphor that really worked for the story, removing the big picture and more specific elements from the visual. Here's a time lapse video of how it came together in Procreate.
6. The final. Who will succeed in the future? People who recognize that lifelong learning is the key, and who focus on strengthening their cognitive abilities, while maintaining flexibility and adaptability with their specific job-related skills.
Catherine Madden LLC is a creative consultancy specializing in visual thinking and data storytelling.