Sylvia Machgeels: visual impact maker
Dutch visual thinker brings the power of visuals to the business world
My name is Sylvia Machgeels. I’m a visual thinker. When things get complicated, I start to draw. I do this to create overview, as well as to be able to share my thought-process and make complex subjects that I’m working on understandable for others. When working in teams I use visual communication to trigger relevant discussions, while staying at the core by using a drawing as a visual anchor.
I discovered that what I did not only helped me personally, it also added value to others.
Therefore I made this my mission and, in 2016, became self-employed. I now work with leading companies and aspiring people to visualize their stories and ideas, visually guide them in strategic processes, and help them share these with colleagues, customers and the rest of the world.
Science meets visualisation
The subjects that come up in these processes and ideas are often complex and abstract and integrate knowledge of different scientific fields. The teams that work on these subjects are often from different backgrounds, mastering different expertises and perspectives. You can imagine the challenge to come to one clear outcome which everyone understands and is content with.
I help achieving all three by visually guiding and documenting the process.
The idea to use visual facilitation to guide these processes, combined with graphic recording – which means that I illustrate what the people are saying live on the spot – is fairly new, but offers great value.
Because of my background in Industrial Design Engineering at the TU Delft, I am able to structurize and analyse such processes, using proven methods – such as Creative Facilitation techniques and Delft Design methods –, as well as understand enough of every scientific subject to translate this for others and bring it back to the core. Combined with my passion for drawing and skills in visual thinking I am able to make the process and conclusions accessible and imaginable, using the most comprehensible language worldwide, namely: images.
Besides helping companies and people, I also do research and projects of my own to create a positive impact. Currently I am working on a project called material narratives.
Now more than ever, new materials are being developed. Behind those new materials you’ll find stories about much more than what you see when you use them. This are stories about people and production, culture and technology, origin and authenticity, meaning and value and how we deal with materials and each other altogether.
Those are the stories I want to show. I call them “material narratives”.
Many new materials are being developed to make the world a little better.
I don’t want to focus on the problems that exist, but rather on the solutions that are already put forward and make an impact. A positive and active approach to motivate and stimulate people to contribute to a world in balance.