Where’s Waldo?

Do you know Where’s Waldo?

Waldo is a jolly guy. He wears blue pants and a red-and-white-striped sweater.

In books about Waldo, you find illustrations depicting huge crowds. On the  beach, at the fair, on a ski slope: you name it.

The game is to find Waldo. This is difficult: he is usually well-hidden, and only partially visible. So it’s all the more satisfying if you find him.

Knowledge workers with whom I work sometimes make the opposite of a Waldo illustration. That is because, when you communicate about a complex topic, you very soon end up with abstract concepts. And zero people.

This is a disadvantage. Because people find stories about other people usually more appealing than an abstract alternative.


Let’s say your story is about underground CO2 storage.

You may talk about global heating, CO2 capture, transport, storage in deep rock layers, risks and costs.

To make the story more relatable, you then ask yourself the question: where are the people? Or: where’s Waldo?

You might describe people having to leave their houses because of forest fires resulting from global heating. Scientists from technical universities who develop technologies to capture CO2. And crew members from ships transporting liquid CO2,  taking training courses about safety.

Et cetera.

Looking for Waldo is fun. But you shouldn’t hide the people in your story.