A Visual Tool for All Seasons: What, So What, Now What

A Visual Planning Tool for all seasons A Free Visual Planning Tool

Need to make a decision, a change, or reach a goal?
Don’t feel stuck! Grab a pen and this What, So What, Now What planning exercise to bring new perspectives.

This is a visual planning tool for many seasons, featuring cedar, cranberry, hellebore, salal and sunflowers.


Write down your goal in the yellow sunflower.

Then start a What, So What, Now What:

  • “What?” … is the challenge, or what needs to shift?
  • “So What?” … is my new understanding? Examine it creatively. Are there visible or hidden patterns?
  • “Now What?” … do I need to do? Is there a next, wise move I could do next? Go try that! Then repeat for the best results.

This reflection tool has many origins. My favourite version is the Adaptive Action Cycle from Human System Dynamics. It is also cited by Rolfe et al (2001).

Graphic Facilitation poster

If you love visuals in your meetings, but can’t have a graphic recorder join you every time – this poster can facilitate that conversation with you.

  • For online meetings: download the web file above. Use it online by screensharing and typing to fill it in. Try Mural, Google Slides, Powerpoint

You can facilitate these questions in an number of ways, including by yourself/ asking people to reflect individually, or with small group work and then sharing out loud.

Love visuals in your meetings? looking for more approaches and ways to invite creativity? Join us for our online or in-person Graphic Facilitation trainings in 2023: introduction or advanced courses!