Business & Industry

“Drawing out ideas” with Business and IndustryDr Sue Pillans_wall artwork 2019

I am very fortunate to be able to “picture ideas” with some of the most innovative and world class businesses and industries. My visual storytelling approach helps business and industry to draw out their ideas, visualise their goals and team vision. You can see how my graphic recording below also helps to put people in the picture, takes people on a journey and helps to see the BIG picture by using a range of visual storytelling approaches from ‘live’ graphic recording to creating infographics and illustrations to living wall murals!


I recently illustrated a wall mural for Powerlink based on the feedback of their staff which I graphically recorded at their Open House Day. I then drew out the information further to create the big picture of their innovation story. The artwork is also a living mural as innovation ‘updates’ can be drawn onto the wall for all staff to see. Thank you to the team of people who helped this creative collaboration come to life. You can see more about the process to create this living wall mural over at my


Wall mural_before and after

Queensland Agworkforce Summit

This is what 30 talks, 5 panel sessions and multiple industry case studies looks like in words and pictures. It was great getting to work with Queensland Farmers’ Federation who hosted a jam-packed 3-day online “Queensland Agworkforce Summit”.

Agworkforce Summit 2022_DrSuePillans_ALL ARTWORKS_Screenshot

Here I’m graphically recording live the Summit presentations and discussions, which addressed the four key themes of the recently released Queensland Agriculture Industry Workforce Plan 2022-2027: Adaptability, Attraction, Retention, Skilling, along with strategic scene setting and a resources toolkit.


Some of the key messages and ag workforce themes that came out of the Summit included:

“People are our critical resource”

“Value ag as a career”

“Promote and share your stories”

“Wellbeing of staff and a well workforce”

“Relationships are everything”

What a great Summit to picture and draw attention to this important industry. I’m always inspired by how resilient and innovative the agriculture industry is, despite the ongoing workforce challenges they face.

Agworkforce Summit 2022_DrSuePillans_artwork2

AND CHECK OUT how the Queensland Farmers Federation shared the artworks as thank you gifts to presenters! Each cup pictures each of the themes with the Summit logo on the other side of the cup. As you can ‘sea’ my CUP IS FULL! What a wonderful and creative way to share these important industry stories, to reflect upon them with each cuppa!



International Day of People with Disability – Entrepreneurs

It was a real privilege to draw attention to and celebrate the International Day of People with Disability at the “Beyond Bayside” event. This event showcased disabled entrepreneurs, speakers and performers and their stories were truly amazing and inspiring. These entrepreneurs did not focus on their disabilities, instead they shared their experiences, learnings and journey’s of running their own small businesses, despite the bias, barriers and discrimination they face each and every day. The quote of the day for me was “Different doesn’t mean less“. Thank you for the opportunity to picture your inspiring stories and for giving me perspective as a fellow business owner – to have patience and perseverance and to pace myself. It was so great to meet you all and picture your stories.


Australian Sugarcane Industry Futures Forum

I love working with industry, particularly in regional Australia so when Sugar Research Australia engaged me to graphically record their inaugural Australian Sugarcane Industry Futures Forum I got to visit beautiful Mackay. This important Forum brought together all parts of the sugarcane industry from growers, millers and peak industry bodies to workforce and skilling, government, economics and policy makers to futurists, technologists and research and development organisations and I was there to visually capture the discussions about the future pathways for the Australian sugarcane industry. It was great being back in cane country again and catching up with the leaders and innovators in this industry and a BIG thank you for your amazing feedback on my visual too!

It was fantastic having you there Sue. Truly amazing how you distilled a full day’s insights and discussion into a comprehensible visual that we can now use to communicate the Futures Forum’s outcomes to the whole industry“, Leigh Clement, Executive Manager, Sugar Research Australia


My visual was then used to head up the ABC News article on the Futures Forum!

North Queensland Bulk Ports

I worked with North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) ( to help them visually communicate their environmental and sustainability stories, both internally with staff and externally with stakeholders and the community. NQBP is one of Australia’s largest port authorities by tonnage throughput with more than half of Queensland’s trade, by tonnage, passing through their ports (which include Weipa, Abbot Point, Mackay and Hay Point). As shown below I will be using a range of visual storytelling approaches to help NQBP communicate their environmental stories.

Putting people in the picture with Ports

I recently attended a NQBP team meeting where I graphically recorded ‘live’ a presentation by Kevin Kane, Senior Manager Environment. It was great fun drawing out Kev’s talk to help visualise for the staff the complex elements and processes of NQBP’s Sustainable Sediment Management story. As you can see from the photos and feedback below we have been working together to create a number of visuals to help picture ports for people! Check out the new drawn animation below too which illustrates NQBPs Sustainable Sediment Management story!

Testimonial: “Having what is a complicated topic graphically recorded ‘live’ during a workshop is incredibly valuable. Sue has the innate skill of distilling key information into graphical form and simplifying the messages but without losing key detail. Feedback from workshop participants was very positive – there were even a few ‘aha’ moments which were helped along by Sue’s active work during the session. The possibilities to use this creative method of communication are endless and we look forward to working further with Sue on NQBP’s key sustainability and environment projects”, Simona Duke, Senior Manager Sustainability, NQBP


Testimonial: “If you want to lead in anything, you need to know how to communicate effectively. Telling a story, and telling it well, is a big part of the whole ‘communicate effectively’ equation. What I found fascinating working with Sue, is how quickly her work puts your story telling skills to the test….and (the big ‘and’) how you can sometimes simply massage the story a little to tell a much better story“, Kevin Kane, Senior Manager Environment, NQBP

Drawing out the Sediment Story

I worked with the NQBP’s Environment and Sustainability team to help draw out their ‘Sustainable Sediment Management’ story. It was a great experience working with people who are so committed to telling their environmental and sustainability stories through words and pictures. I also love when I work with teams and they take over with the pens and whiteboard as you can see below!

The end products included an infographic illustration for use at an International Ports Conference and a hand drawn animation of NQBPs Sustainable Sediment Management Storywhich is now available for viewing via NQBPs You-Tube channel and in the below video clip.

Queensland Sugar Cane Industry

As a Graphic Recorder I worked with Behaviour Innovation Pty Ltd on ‘Project Cane Changer’, a partnership with CANEGROWERS (peak industry body) and the Queensland Government. The project was designed to value and recognise Queensland’s sugar cane farmers for their role as custodians of the land and their ongoing efforts to protect the Great Barrier Reef. You can find out further information about Project Cane Changer.

Graphic Recording was used in the first phase of this project to help visualise the ideas and issues facing farming families when it comes to their role in protecting the Reef. My role as the Graphic Recorder for this project was to visually capture and convey the key messages, ideas, issues and discussions we had with the wide range of sugar cane stakeholders that make up Queensland’s sugar cane industry including (but not limited to): farmers, growers, mills, members of the supply chain, sugar cane families and Government.


CANEGROWERS is the peak industry body for sugarcane growers in Queensland and major partner in Project Cane Changer. I was privileged to be able to draw out the ideas and issues facing the cane industry during a recent central office team meeting. It makes for a good team meeting when you have an amazing spread of morning tea with a bit of visual ‘sugar and spice’ thrown in!


Wet Tropics Road Trip

Throughout June 2016 the ‘Cane Changer’ team went on a road trip to the Wet Tropics of North Queensland to meet with a range of sugar cane farmers and growers including the Women of Cane. As you can see from their visual stories below the sugar cane industry in Queensland is complex, diverse and very innovative. I just love working with farmers to help “picture their ideas“!

Women in Cane – in the Canegrowers offices of Mulgrave and Babinda I helped to picture the ideas of the amazing women of cane.

Testimonial: “Thank you Sue for capturing, what was a very intimate, honest and heartfelt discussion amongst the amazing women cane farmers in our area. You have a remarkable talent, not only for listening and comprehending but also for organising and representing the many threads of conversation that evolve. Somehow, you managed to turn 2 hours of chatting into a work of art that the ladies were proud of and want shared with the farming community!” Sandra Henrich, Executive Officer, CANEGROWERS Cairns Region

Shed meeting – we held our very own shed meeting with cane growers in Tully where I drew out the issues and challenges facing the sugar cane industry.

Testimonial: “Brilliant”! Greg Shannon, Cane Productivity Manager, Tully Sugar Ltd

CANEGROWERS – in the Herbert River offices of CANEGROWERS I put people in the picture and drew out the cane growers issues, challenges and ideas.


Team planning a vision

I had a great time drawing out the planning day for the Queensland Tertiary Admissions Centre (QTAC) team. Particularly as they asked me to draw out their discussions using an ‘Under the Sea’ theme to characterise the team members and their work as an ‘ecosystem’. As you can ‘sea’ from the photos we had a lot of fun with our sea creatures which represented each of the individual team members. I then visualised the team’s discussions about their roles and priorities for the coming year by using actual ocean elements and structures to visualise the functions of the team, for example:

  • Relationship team: represented by the sea anemone and clownfish which is a symbiosis between the organisation and its clients
  • Data team: represented by the vase coral which funnels data in and out
  • Engagement team: represented by the branching coral which reaches out to clients and forms a network
  • Whole TEAM: represented by the underwater ecosystem which relies on each of the above elements and functions to work, illustrating the teams connections and shared priorities.

Thank you for inviting me to listen to and picture your important planning day to create your team vision. I hope I get to ‘sea’ you all again soon!

We wanted to visually communicate our team’s priorities for the next 18 months. During a planning workshop, Dr Sue succinctly captured our key ideas and translated them into a straightforward, easy-to-understand graphic. This exercise was invaluable in helping us visualise our objectives and focus our efforts on achieving our goals over the next year-and-a-half. Staff feedback from the session was very positive and we are delighted with the end result. Thank you, Dr Sue!“, on behalf of the Engagement Services Team, QTAC, Brisbane

*Please note the use of my graphics and visuals need to be attributed to me and remain unaltered unless written permission is given as all graphics and images are Copyright © 2023 Dr Sue Pillans