An inspiring dive into group participation & design at the Ocean Action! Conference


Seas at Risk
Sector: NGO

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Group Processes, Live (Event) Visuals

Theme driver


The Challenge

Bringing 300 participants together for a multi-stakeholder event to co-create a manifesto
Seas at Risk wanted to hold a conference that would gather civil society organisations, scientific researchers, and EU policy makers and inspire them to contribute to a blue manifesto – a co-created document that would raise awareness about the need to care for our seas and ocean. It would also reflect the collective intelligence and dedication of participants to work towards this common purpose. As Visuality specializes in group processes and leads with a sustainable mindset, the synergies between Seas at Risk and the our team were a match from the start.

Graphic Recorder is making visual Harvesting for the Ocean Action conference.

The Approach

Aligning priorities and co-creating the concept
Visuality dived deep with Seas at Risk into their vision and goals for the conference. First, we took stock of what was already in motion. Next, we held two co-creation workshops to conceptualize the event and identify priorities. There we addressed each element in a logical, efficient, and sustainable manner. This was key to making sure it contributed to the goal.


Going beyond the usual with facilitation, conference materials, and logistical support
With the overall plan in place, we tackled each piece of the puzzle. We worked with different stakeholders and held weekly check-in meetings to keep all teams on track.
By visiting the venue ahead of time, we got a feel for what participants would experience and were able to create a pleasing space – with soundproof rooms for workshops and a floorplan that made sense. This also allowed us to design accurate, engaging signage and participatory conference material.
On the day of the event, a dedicated team member was responsible for providing overall logistical support that guaranteed a smooth-sailing event.

Master of ceremonies & scalable facilitation
Our team was in charge of being the Master of Ceremonies for the day and facilitating the discussions in each of the 6 breakout sessions. All of the facilitation required live visualization, with on-the-spot social media visuals that were shared in the conference’s social channels, both during and after the event.

Each breakout session needed both a facilitator and graphic recorder. So, we tapped into our trusted network of professional facilitators to scale up our core team of 6 to 15. This expert team guided the breakout sessions and created instant visual summaries of the discussions, which were then used in the plenary directly following the breakouts.

Facilitator giving instructions during a group worksession

Engaging conference materials
The graphic design for the conference invitation, background and speaker documents was done with the participant experience in mind. The agenda for the day was designed to evoked a sense of movement for participants.
We also created an innovative interactive exercise “logbook” for conference attendees to use throughout the day. It was a handy tool that allowed them to relate to the content individually, while enabling them to stay attentive and interested throughout the day.

The Result

Exhilarated participants and an enduring manifesto
After several months of planning and numerous meetings, 300 participants came together for Ocean Action! It was impressive to see the amount of information that was brought together on the conference’s main stage after the breakout sessions. Seas at Risk used the information gathered to complete its manifesto that would be used by stakeholders to further their advocacy goals.

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Augmented Reality (AR)

What is it?

Augmented Reality is adding a digital layer on top of a printed document (graphic recording, infographic, manual…). Using your phone or your tablet you will be able to see or hear extra information like images, videos and webpages. You just need a portable machine with a camera and an internet connection.



It’s nothing new. AR applications have been around for decades. Despite all of the promise, it is only now since the rise of powerful smartphone technology that AR is ready to unleash its potential.

When to use it?

You might have noticed that the reality around is multi-layered and dynamic. Yet, most of the time we are trapped in static, single-layer, two-dimensional pages. Hence, Augmented Realiy works best on printed materials like posters, infographics, graphic recording and manualsSo, when does it makes sense to add AR to our design work:

  • You don’t have enough space to add all the information ;
  • You want extra information that is not relevant for everybody;
  • You want pictures, video, sound or webpage on a static page
  • You want to add interactivity
  • You need to update the information regularly 

Hassle free!

We are convinced that Augmented Reality only contributes to a project if it is user-friendly. So, if at all possible we work with tools that:

  • Require No APP
  • Works on all phones
  • Instant appearance of the visuals

Already convinced?