Visual Thinking is the expression of ideas or thoughts through images either drawings, pictures, graphs, … It is a very useful tool when we work in teams, because sharing ideas using images help us to communicate better and more efficiently than by simply talking and writing, thus we increase the group effectiveness. Visual Thinking is an excellent complement to the Design Thinking methodology, especially during the creation process, and that is why we use it and we teach it during our workshops.
This method, today very trending, is something that has been used since thousands of years ago. Probably the oldest examples of Visual Thinking are the cave paintings, where men got organized to hunt before the actual hunt.
But Visual Thinking as a proper tool, has its origin in 1969, with the publication of the book “Visual Thinking” written by Rudolf Arnheim. He was a psychologist and physicist from Germany and professor of Psychology of the Art at the University of Harvard. Although Arnheim is the father of the term, Dan Roam, who wrote the book “The back of the Napkin” is nowadays considered as one of the biggest experts on the subject.
Dam Roam uses this tool as a 4 step process, which allows us to better use the potential of the visual thinking. Those steps are: look, see, imagine and show. Through these steps we will get our message better explained and understood; we will dig deeper to see what it might hide and see the internal relations between ideas that aren’t clear at first glance.
Nowadays is a very spread tool used in the creation and innovation processes within companies, many successful companies have already introduced this tool with their creative processes obtaining very good results. We refer to companies such as Apple, Goole or Ebay but also to small companies and entrepreneurs.
The main reasons and advantages why using the Visual Thinking tool is very useful in our projects are:
- The human brain thinks better with images, that is, visualizing an image takes less effort than reading a word, process it and make an idea of what that word means. The brains processes visual information 60,000 times faster than text.
- The images help to describe the relations between objects which we maybe could not see and that can give the hint to create new ideas and not obvious solutions which will make us innovate.
- It is something innate to the human beings, we draw since we are little and although we are not big artist, we are very capable of making the basic drawings to represent concepts which in term will improve the communication of ideas.
A good way to integrate this tool within our methodology is combining it with creative techniques. In Designthinking.gal we always use the visual thinking during the brainstorming process, because it helps us to boost the creation of ideas.
The possibility of looking through images or icons other people’s ideas, without talking or explaining verbally, helps our brain to think faster and to be able to generate new ideas from the already known ones.
Now, you can stop reading and start drawing ;)