I think I love pictures even more than I love words. In my work, I try hard to find the right image to help people to see much more than I could say in a thousand words. The late Steve Jobs was a master in the use of a single image or even just a single number when he was presenting the latest Apple kit. Our minds are really good at remembering isolated, colourful and unexpected images.
So it surprises me that so many people still “kill” their audiences with “death by Powerpoint”: slides that contain so much text that you can’t actually read them, so the presenter reads it out for you, rather defeating the point of having any slides at all!
This week’s image looks like material for a curtain or deckchair, but it’s not. In fact, it shows the average annual global temperatures from 1901 to 2018. What strikes me is the shift from cool blue to hot red as you look from left to right. It is also memorable and believable because the trend isn’t linear. There are cooler years following warmer years, yet the trend is clear.
I found this image whilst I was reading a BBC article, The chart that defines our warming world. The chart chosen by the BBC isn’t actually this one, they chose a more complex one. But you can follow a link to a dedicated website called ShowYourStripes where you can download and use this image for free. You can also find ones for your continent, country and region.
When I began my professional career as The CorporatePhilosopher I began by asking questions about our moral character as individuals. Then I began asking questions about culture – the purpose and values of our groups, from families and friends, to teams and workplaces. And these are still critical questions to explore. But I am now coming to the conclusion that unless first, we begin to explore the impact of our collective behaviour on our biosphere and our climate, the other questions will become quite pointless.
“Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.”