Visual Inquiry: A tool for presenting and sharing contextual knowledge

Fredrik Sandberg


This article presents an inquiry method where the participants create a visual presentation of their experiential knowledge of working. As an example the article describes experiences from using the inquiry method together with small local food producers. The owners use the visual inquiry tool to present their small company's activities, the stakeholders involved, problems, strengths, changes and dreams for the future. Although the food producers never had described their knowledge as one picture before, they had no problem mapping out and visually presenting complex information about their production. The method uses sticky notes as mapping tools, which enables the participants to rearrange information, point at related information, jump in time and also include the research group in the knowledge creation. The use of the visual inquiry method increases the participants’ involvement and community building. The article also describes how the visual presentations, created at several inquiry sessions, are used in a workshop on collaborative services.


Inquiry tools; Context mapping; Service design; Visual presentation

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