Co-founder of Brooklyn-based company Imagine Think talks about “graphically recording” SXSW panel

Kat Sampson

Heather Willems, co-founder of Imagine Think, just spent 60 minutes “graphically recording” the SXSW panel “LA and The Innovation Economy.”

Imagine Think, a Brooklyn-based company, sends artists with giant white poster board to graphically illustrate anything from strategy sessions and business conferences to trade shows and keynote addresses.

“[We] help people to communicate visually by listening to conversations and synthesizing the key ideas,” Willems said. “Then illustrating them with words and pictures. And we do it all in real time.”

The company will send artists to over 60 South By Southwest panels and keynote speeches. When the Imagine Think artists are finished with their posters, every poster is digitized and uploaded to their website

“The benefit is that the audience has a higher sense of engagement with the conversation and also a better recall of what happened,” Willems said.

Willems said that, while the concept might seem new to tech-focused audiences, representing information through illustration is an age-old learning technique.

“Communicating visually is really in our DNA,” Willems said. “Think about the Cavemen. How did they save each other from not being eaten by a sabertooth tiger? They drew it up on a wall.”

Next step for Imagine Think? Bring this artistic visualization method into the business world.

“[Imagine Think wants] to inspire creativity but also develop enhanced group learning so people can actually say ‘Oh, I see what you mean’ and mean it,” Willems said.