Skip to main content

About this free course

Download this course

Share this free course

Management: perspective and practice
Management: perspective and practice

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

4.8.1 Drawing a rich picture

This course helps you to begin to think about your problem or opportunity in different ways. For this activity, try out the rich picture approach by applying it to your work context.

Activity 11 Drawing a rich picture

Choose an issue, this does not need to be a current issue – it may be something you dealt with some time ago or in a different organisation – but you should be able to remember key aspects of the problem, including:

  • who was involved (including yourself)
  • how organisational issues, such as structure and culture, impacted on the problem
  • the organisational context.

The information in activities 9 and 10 provided some examples of what a rich picture might look like, but in reality it is simply a pictorial representation of the issue.

You will need:

  • a regular A4-sized paper (although you might find a large piece of paper easier)
  • multiple coloured pens or one colour (don’t worry about drawing skills – the ideas behind the drawings are what are important)

While the point is to use images instead of words to communicate your ideas, do identify the important elements of the drawing with labels and give the picture a title.

You may feel more comfortable starting with the CATWOE approach to describe the situation – this is fine. If possible, do try the rich picture technique as well.

Regardless of the method or methods you decide to use, be sure to write an accompanying short description to help you remember the following related issues in relation to your chosen situation (or problem or opportunity):

  1. How do some of the issues relate to the structural and cultural context?
  2. What are some of the stakeholder relationships involved?
  3. How did it relate to your own work or position in the organisation?

You will do some reflection on this process in the next activity.

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).


Not everyone is artistically gifted and, as you saw in activities 9 and 10, rich pictures can be messy and hard to understand without some explanation. Rich pictures are often used as prompts for creative thinking approaches with groups – and the learning process continues as the person explaining their picture hears different interpretations from other members in the group.

The problem or opportunity that you described may not have related to all of the ideas discussed in the readings, but you could probably identify at least some of them. Moreover, you will have probably noted at least some stakeholder relationships and how this problem or opportunity relates to your own work.

In Miszti’s description in activity 10, he identified some of the major issues as the following:

Organisational context: There are several contextual issues that Miszti noted in his picture. For example:

  • The relationship between the CISO and the supervising CIO and board can be difficult, especially when goals for each differ – sub-cultures may differ substantially within the organisation.
  • There are several different parts of the company for which the CISO has responsibility, including how employees and third parties handle data. These organisational structures impact on how the CISO manages these relationships.

Stakeholders: Miszti discussed how the successful implementation of a CISO’s decisions is very much impacted by the quality of stakeholder relationships, identifying several internal and external stakeholders:

  • Internal stakeholders included the CIO, the board of directors, different types of employees and the representatives of different functional areas within the organisation.
  • External stakeholders included government, regulators, auditors, customers and other members of the public and the media.
  • Third-party partners were also important stakeholders.

His own role: As a consultant who had previously been a CISO, Miszti placed himself in the picture as someone who can help the CISO make sense of this complex web of relationships and tasks.

The problem or opportunity you depicted in your picture (or using the CATWOE method) may have been more or less complex than Miszti’s. Hopefully, you were able to gain a better understanding of the issues involved in this situation and found this exercise helpful.

You may have spent some time on this activity. However, if you have time, do the next activity now (reflecting on this process). If not, jot down a few notes and come back to the next activity later.