Visual Thinking

Think by means of images

Think by means of images
Before explaining what is Visual Thinking and which can be its value for you, I’ll present you three situations:
  • Situation 1. Teamwork meeting
  • Situation 2. Colleagues discussion
  • Situation 3. Project explanation

Situation 1.
Character A: – “Have you understand anything in the meeting?”
Character B: – “No, I haven’t. As usual, they started to talk but anyone knows which is the next step.”

Situation 2.
Character C: – “I think Jose’s idea was really good, how to transform our assets in other field’s opportunities...”
Character D: – “What?! I thought we were talking about how to efficiently find our assets.”

Situation 3.
Character E: – “This is crazy, Committee X has sent me a lot of information about the actual situation, none could understand anything..”
Character F: – “We may find a solution, Designers need to get something good to start thinking… If we send this they will be in our same situation.”

All of these situations have a common factor, none understood anything. They are neither stupid nor competent for their position, the problem is the world is getting more difficult so language does too.

In a complex world crowded of data, actual problems of “infoxication”(1) emerge. Information won’t decrease and our mind is limited, is thus necessary to have strategies or thinking methods which help us to synthesise information. One of the best tools is to tell stories instead of data so it will be more easy to digest the huge data wave we have and will come.

What is Visual Thinking?
Visual thinking is the way our brain understands the complexity, for that purpose me may reactivate our mind as we did when we were children, make from complexity something easy and digestible. We need to remember how to assimilate this info, transforming words into images.

Think through images, as we have said, is not something new. Is the way our brain understands the world when you are a child, is where your speaking skills start. Thus we could say it is the most natural way to understand concepts, the language was developed after it. Therefore, thanks to images it is easier to understand patterns; as we see them, we provide information to our mind to easily build ideas. During our evolution as humans, images were before words, what originated different languages so we all have this communication skill. We talk about a regressión or involution to get essential communication signs back. The goal of this regression is to improve the data digestion to its correct use.

This is the essence of Visual Thinking, visualize complexity to transform it into a facility. According to social evolution, culture gets richer thus more complex. It is said that info will be in the future (if not in the present) the new oil. The difference will be that it is not a finite source, it is an infinite one which exponentially grows every day thanks to the network.

Which are visual thinking goals?
Overall, Visual Thinking objectives are:
  • More efficient communication.
  • Represent information to improve comprehension.
  • Save sources during information loss.
  • Promote consensus.
  • Improve decisions making process.

Visual attitude is the most important characteristic in Visual Thinking, the “fighting” attitude, don’t be afraid to get hands dirty is what let us procreate. ¿Do you remember when you were a child? You didn’t care about how ugly your picture was, didn’t you?

If you can’t draw it, it doesn’t exist” Albert Einstein

To don’t have great drawing skills was not a problem, you just wanted to draw your family or house to let people saw it. This is Visual Thinking essence, communicate as easily as a child, the rest is not relevant. Sadly we get older and hide this child who only wants to express his world in a direct and sincere way. We are fed up with people who say they can’t draw, don’t they know how to take a pencil and draw a line? This is the first step after it everything comes smoothly. The Atapuerca man inside you appears with its creative capacity to face trials that helped us to survive until nowadays.

Visual Thinking process
Visual Thinking is made of 4 stages with their own tools to deal disadvantages:

  • Visual Mapping
    Gather information, catch everything relevant related to the topic or problem to face. In this stage,we want to gather data to address. In other words, take only relevant information to don’t overflow your mind. Some of the tools are Mindmaps, information clusters, Stakeholder maps, etc.

  • Visual Explore
    Choose the most relevant data. At this stage, we deal with quantity vs quality, we must screen information and create patterns. 6W questions (What, When, Who…) can be very useful so we will visualize relevant data and real facts.

  • Visual Building
    Transform words into images, this is the stage where we really leave aside data to build it in a visual way. According to the data character, there will be different manners to visualize it.

  • Visual Testing
    Be able to communicate clear and concise information. Thus we don’t talk about data or just a picture, but stories. In other words, using Storytelling or Storyboards we will communicate concise information to our audience.


  • Do you want to know more about Visual Thinking? We advise you the following books where you will discover much more tips. There are many and great books in our section
    If you want to discover how to improve your innovation skills and how to incorporate them into your company,discover our services.

    (1) infoxication

Published at 17/02/2020

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