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CN15
Collective Next's picture
Collective Next
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Our Team
We're celebrating our 15th year in business at Collective Next. As we close out this momentous year, we're taking a moment to spotlight some of the talented humans at the core of our operation and our success. Here's Solution Designer Hamilton Ray talking cooking, problem solving, and being an official media outlet for the Braves.
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Erin King and Dave Rutley's picture
Erin King and Dave Rutley
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Perspectives
When efficiency and speed are a priority, it can be easy to lose sight of the “why” behind your work and become disconnected from how your role fits into the broader customer experience story. We recently had an opportunity to help one of our financial services clients find creative ways for their Operations teams re-connect to the organization's broader narrative.
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Bree Sanchez's picture
Bree Sanchez
Friday, September 7, 2018
Perspectives
Wait-what does the leafy seadragon have to do with artificial intelligence? I did a doubletake as I clicked through a Powerpoint deck I would use as the content source for an upcoming illustration project. Once again this year as part of Sibos, one of the world’s biggest annual financial services conferences, CN will be illustrating presentations for SWIFT Institute. And I will be art directing/illustrating a presentation for one of the brightest minds in AI, who is drawing an interesting connection to this wonderful little creature, the leafy seadragon, and its habitat. I'm very excited about this one.
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Gordon Eby's picture
Gordon Eby
Monday, August 27, 2018
Perspectives
In Part I of this two-part series on Difficult Conversations, I introduce the concept of “Interest-Based Negotiation” and discuss techniques for surfacing underlying interests through intentional meeting design. Below I discuss two techniques for managing conflict if and when it arises including asking “why?” and “what if?”
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Gordon Eby's picture
Gordon Eby
Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Perspectives
Even professional facilitators are scared by “difficult conversations.” I say this as a professional facilitator and recipient of a Master's degree in Dispute Resolution. However, this experience has also taught me that with the right approach and techniques these conversations can be highly productive. If your job description includes convening groups of people—large or small—to discuss issues and decisions that matter, you want to know how to design for and manage conflict. I will focus on each of these strategies in a two-part series.
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Tricia Walker's picture
Tricia Walker
Tuesday, August 7, 2018
Perspectives
A great venue is an important aspect of ensuring a successful working session. Our facilitators and graphic facilitators have become quite skilled at working with hotels all around Boston (and beyond!) to make sure that we can create meeting and conference spaces that enable creativity and collaboration, allowing our participants to realize what’s next together.
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Collective Next's picture
Collective Next
Thursday, July 19, 2018
Perspectives
"Forget PowerPoint. Meet the hottest new addition to the business meeting: the illustrator.” So reads the Boston Globe feature on how Collective Next’s live illustrators (aka graphic facilitators) can transform your organizations next get together. As the Globe piece notes, graphic facilitation’s popularity has taken off around the country—and the world—in recent years. Companies now recognize the value of using real-time visual capture in the form of drawing to heighten engagement, add clarity, signal innovation, and infuse creativity into their meetings. Cory Bolotsky of the venture firm Underscore VC says he turned to graphic facilitation because it’s “cool” and he wanted conversations to “engaging, and educational, and interactive.”
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Tricia Walker's picture
Tricia Walker
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
Perspectives
We recently partnered with the global life-sciences company Abcam to deliver a popup event in Kendall Square. The goal of the event was to help local researchers recharge and reset. Located at the heart of the MIT campus, Kendall Square is a natural thoroughfare for some of the world’s great scientific researchers. As such, it represents the perfect locale for tapping into their collective wisdom. We saw an opportunity to enable researchers to inspire one another, to reconnect with their own sources of motivation, and to provide the broader public with a window into what makes them tick.
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Tricia Walker's picture
Tricia Walker
Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Perspectives
We are passionate about developing new ways to increase engagement and deepen understanding among people. One way we do this in the tradeshow and conference space is to invite participants to co-create visual story walls that capture individual and shared insights. Interactive story walls provide space and a mechanism for participants to shift from passive recipients of content to active creators. The setup is simple: 1--Provide a prompt in the form of a well thought out question; then invite participants to respond 2--Provide a large blank canvas to record responses 3--Use a scribe/graphic facilitator to bring the responses to life visually
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Hamilton Ray's picture
Hamilton Ray
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Perspectives
What does it take for companies to reimagine their response to rapidly evolving customer needs? Large organizations often find the process of developing new services and solutions to be utterly cumbersome. Well-established businesses often limit new offerings to fit with existing capabilities out fear of protracted timelines that eat up dollars and lead to missed market opportunities. The result is that internal limitations rather than customer insights end up driving the development process. But what if exactly the opposite approach was taken? What if companies could start with customer insights and blue-sky opportunities while still ensuring a rapid response to market needs?
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John Colaruotolo's picture
John Colaruotolo
Thursday, May 17, 2018
Perspectives
Organizational leaders often wonder why their content and messaging, which they have gone to great lengths to communicate—often repeatedly, simply doesn’t “sink in.” I hear leaders voice this frustration while seeking to impart everything from cultural values to new product information. One consistent contributing factor is that people are not given the chance to play an active role in their learning process. They are not given the opportunity to engage colleagues in processing material or thinking through its implications on how they work. Enter one of my favorite tools: “Collaborative Learning Maps.”
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Christina Marsh and Mason Smith's picture
Christina Marsh and Mason Smith
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Perspectives
At Collective Next, we speak regularly about the importance of facilitating structural change. And typically, the structures to which we refer are organizational in nature. But, can facilitating collaborative dialogue play a key role when the structures in question are not organizational but physical – concrete, steel, and wood? In fact, large-scale building projects, such as those in corporate, institutional and academic settings, benefit immensely when diverse stakeholders are drawn together during the architectural design process. In partnership with Boston-based architecture firm, Atelier et Alia, Collective Next has been exploring opportunities to interject collaborative, facilitated moments into the visioning, design, and review phases of large-scale architectural projects.
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Katherine Gorman's picture
Katherine Gorman
Monday, April 9, 2018
Perspectives
Shared stories unite people. They build community. We human beings have communicated values through storytelling from our earliest times. Even as technology lets us work in increasingly distributed communities, we can still harness the medium of storytelling to draw our organizations together. We can do this by creating organizational podcasts—communal podcasts—that convey powerful stories about our collective identity. Through these commonly held narratives, we can foster a strong sense of shared purpose and belonging.
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Hamilton Ray's picture
Hamilton Ray
Monday, April 2, 2018
Perspectives
When a well-established company undertakes a large-scale overhaul, defining their strategy is only the first step. Equally critical is inspiring new and existing leadership to embrace this change. And leaders must be armed with an understanding of how to enable the strategy and rally their teams behind it. This process of readying leadership to successfully implement a new strategy is often protracted, taking months—even years—with mixed results. This begs the question: Is there another way?
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Marsha Dunn's picture
Marsha Dunn
Monday, March 19, 2018
Perspectives
Collective Next turns 15 this year. In honor of this momentous anniversary, we’re sharing some thoughts from our co-founders—and amazing husband and wife team—Matt Saiia and Sarah Shrimplin. I asked them recently why and how it all began, their focus in running the company, and where we might find ourselves another fifteen years from now.
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Latest Blog Post

News and Views
Tricia Walker's picture
Tricia Walker
Tuesday, July 17, 2018
Sometimes we are fortunate enough to be asked to scribe for really compelling speakers—the kinds of storytellers you’d gladly listen to in your free time. This year, we had the chance to do exactly that at the Mad*Pow HXD Conference in Cambridge. HXD stands for “Health Experience Design” conference, and it has become the leading conference advocating for person-centered experience innovation in health.
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