Looking for co-authors

The Art in strategic thinking

Art as a vehicle for learning to think strategically


A call for anecdotes

For the past 15 or more years I have been periodically exploring the opportunity to relate artistic endeavour with organisational development, in particular strategic thinking. Finally in 2017 I came up with a framework that connects the two thought processes. I have a creative background and have substantially developed the principles of artistic endeavour and now welcome others’ thoughts from a philosophical, artistic and organisational standpoint. I have some education and experience in strategic thinking, however to fully explore, expand and embed the premise of creativity in learning to think strategically I feel I would benefit from dialogue with others who have anecdotes to explore.

The requirement

I am looking to engage with between three and five individuals who have been or who are currently involved in the strategy element of business development. Two or three of these contributors will take a key role in developing the book and be co authors. The other contributors will be acknowledged as such for their input but will not be expected to have input into developing the overall narrative.

There is a fuller description of the principles and an outline of the book at: http://peterjmayes.studio/art-in-strategic-thinking/


The rewards

Rewards for any engagement will be highly speculative. The contributors who are co authors will be rewarded though the sale of books and any speaking, consulting or training engagements that are derived from the publication. An option for this is the creation of a company. The other contributors will be rewarded with book credits and a batch of the first published edition for their own use.

The process

Potential contributors should email me (peterm@peterjmayes.studio) with a brief overview of past or current involvement in leadership and organisational development. Also include an anecdote that might fit one of the following principles:

  • Looking and seeing; the art of challenging limiting beliefs
  • A question of style; choosing the strategic objective
  • Big picture and ignoring what isn’t needed
  • Negative space and what isn’t there
  • Perspective and the changing power of detachment
  • Light and shade, the blindingly obvious and darkest recesses
  • Colour, where cold, calculating and warm, fuzzy have their place
  • The medium; a look at tools to create a strategic plan


There is a fuller description of the principles and an outline of the book at: http://peterjmayes.studio/art-in-strategic-thinking/


Train the trainer course outline

Recently I have started to work in a regulated environment where a number of instructors originate from military service. My experience of attending a number of courses delivered by these highly experienced subject matter experts is that military instruction does not always ‘fit’ with modern, experiential learning and development practice.

The following outline is a suggestion of knowledge and skills that could be gained from an intense TtT course by up to three, possibly four subject matter experts who may not have previously been involved in an instruction role. The focus of the sessions is knowledge of learning and development delivery, learning evaluation and management of the learning environment. This course does not tackle learning analysis or design which one would normally expect of a conventional train the trainer programme.

TtT Course outline v2

Session title

Learning outcomes and topics covered

09:00 start


A quick overview to the day, the context of adult learning and the learning objectives.

Case Study: What went wrong

List areas for improvement of a course, session, module or activity that was unsuccessful and why. (Participants should arrive having considered this element).

Relate understanding to what is to follow.

The environments

Demonstrate how environments can be made more effective.

Space, location, scene setting, layouts, and other assets. Dealing with elements outside instructor control.

About the candidates

Identify how candidates learn, and how to manage them professionally and diplomatically.

Personality of candidates, learning orientations, is a candidate difficult.

10:45 – 11:00 Break

Developing participation

Use different methods to encourage participation in training and recognise and manage a lack of participation.

Removing barriers to participation, enhancing participation, humour and banter.

Visual aids

Demonstrate effective use of flipcharts, slides and other display assets.

Flip chart management, holding areas, AV protocols, displaying material.

Fail to plan, plan to fail

Be able to follow the plan, demonstrate confidence in delivering from trainer notes.

Structure of the plan, trainer notes and their importance, getting back on track.

12:30 – 13:15 Lunch

Activities management

Recognise the importance and benefit of activities and how to manage them.

Activities or games, types of activities, getting buy-In, activities toolkit.

Facilitation Skills

Develop active listening and clear questioning skills through facilitation.

Question types, probing: digging deeper, questioning as a learning technique. Your listening skills, active listening skills in training

Has learning taken place

Conduct evaluation to continually confirm learning has taken place.

The difference between formative and summative evaluation, methodology.

15:00 – 15:15 Break


Learning by doing. Engage in a learning activity to practice some of the knowledge gained.

Participation, facilitation, action, management.


What have you learnt from today. What more do you want to learn.

Evaluation in action, pointers to other materials. CPD

16:30 Close

Learning design thinking

I was recently ask by a client to outline requirements and costs for a learning design project. As one does (or at least I do) it got me to express and explain my thinking. The client works in a regulated environment so the narrative is drafted to support such.

The following is an overview upon which courseware development structure can be devised.

Effective courseware development requires a judicious combination of;

  • subject matter expertise and
  • effective learning design

Subject matter expertise

Subject matter expertise will generally fall into two distinct categories of information;

  • subjective
  • objective

Subjective information is based on personal opinions, interpretations, points of view and emotions. It is often considered ill-suited for scenarios like decision making in business. Objective information is fact-based, possibly regulatory, measurable and observable. The key intent of the ??? course is to provide candidates with knowledge of a regulated environment in order to make informed judgements through a balanced use of subjective and objective information. The overriding purpose for candidates is the passing of one or more assessments and fulfilling the permission/licence requirement of the regulatory body.

Effective learning design

Effective learning design is less defined and subject to;

  • suitability
  • personal preference
  • fads
  • truth, facts and myths

Suitability occurs at the instructional design stage. Some activities and events are more suited to particular learning requirements. It must be remembered that just because a topic is onerous and highly technical and perhaps regulatory, that does not mean that it cannot be exciting and entertaining if delivered through creative methods. Conversely the most exciting sounding topic can be killed by an inappropriate delivery methodology.

It is impossible to completely remove personal preference from learning delivery; all trainers and instructors have their favoured methodologies. It is however appropriate for a training provider to insist on a protocol within learning delivery based on predefined instructional design; the instructor must follow the course verbatim.

Like many aspects of organisational endeavour, there will be fads, fashions, crazes and trends. Many of these will appear out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly. Others however will appear and remain and become part of convention; rightly or wrongly (see next paragraph). It is wise not to dismiss something because it is new, but perhaps be cautious because it has not been well tested.

And then there are the truths, myths and facts within the learning and development environment. Many myths are peddled by individuals and institutions with limited or blinkered knowledge of the background to their assertions. Truths appear well founded in research and developed by notable experts only to be superseded by further research and a new way of thinking. What can be considered at this point is that a truth is volatile and fact is not. There have been varying truths about how people learn, be it visually or actively, on the left side of the brain or the right. However, it is a fact that the (normal) brain has two hemispheres. For learning to be enhanced, it is suggested that the truth be qualified, the facts verified and the myths nullified.



Business board game

A training company client had devised a board game for staff to explore well-being within themselves and their organisation. I was presented with a very rough draft and was required to create a print ready piece of artwork that was A1 in size. The design was printed onto vinyl rather than card for easy packaging and transportation. The image below shows the first prototype which was to be taken into organisation for ‘testing’ purposes.WBW01