The power of visualization

Data-Visualization-Landscape

Do you know the power of visualization? 

It helps you to solve problems, understand, banish confusion, discover new ideas, envision, think, communicate, present, convince, show, sell. And more.

Let’s get visual.

 

Words are limited

Within organizations, we mostly use words. 

As we wrote in a previous blog “Lost in language“: there is nothing wrong with words, but they are limited.

Visualization or visual thinking doesn’t get a lot of attention in organizations. That is a pity, because it can be extremely powerful. Here are some random thoughts on the power of visualization. How it adds an extraordinary amount to your ability to solve problems, understand, banish confusion, discover new ideas, envision, think and communicate, present, convince, show, sell. And more.

Bring in your visual mind

Let’s start with Dave Gray. He says: “Visual thinking is a way to organize your thoughts and improve your ability to think and communicate. It’s a way to expand your range and capacity by going beyond the linear world of the written word, list and spreadsheet, and entering the non-linear world of complex spacial relationships, networks, maps and diagrams…It is a way to externalize your internal thinking processes, making them more clear, explicit and actionable.”

When we take a step further, visualization is a way to discover and understand the essence, and literally ‘see the big picture‘ (‘the whole picture, relationships, dependencies). This will lead to a clearer picture of the situation and it can help you to see things that would otherwise remain invisible or unspoken.

Thereby, it’s a great way to discover hidden ideas, to envision new products or services (and expressing functional and emotional merits) and to develop and test ideas (see our blog: “Six reasons to prototype – everything“). And is extremely powerful to share ideas with other people in a way they are simply going to ‘get’.

So, visualization can work vigorously for problem solving: quickly look at problems, understand them and more rapidly convey to others what you have discovered.

It’s also a very powerful way to banish confusion. In visualization, you are forced to make things concrete. You have to step out of the world of abstraction and make implicit assumptions explicit. This helps for shared understanding; visualization as a shared language to understand each other better. And is valuable as support in discussions about the meaning of things. To be on the same page. And it’ll help you to increase the dialogue.

Thereby, an amazing way to clarify complexity. As Ole Qvist-Sørensen puts it: “Pictures can convey complex information in a way, which is natural for our brains to grasp. Visual thinking is a gift we all have and drawing is an easy and simple way to show and involve others in understanding — or seeing — what we mean. (watch his TED x Talk: “Draw more, together“)

This is also the case when it comes to data visualization. Make information more ‘manageable’ and communicate and present data in a way that is attractive and people understand. (See, for example, Hans Rosling in this 5 min BBC video: The joy of stats or look at the beauty of data visualization in this book “Information is beautiful“, with the most beautiful infographics).

And, of course, there is the power of visual storytelling. Yes, here comes the cliche: “A picture says a thousand words”. In this age, millions of pictures are shared on social media every day. Visual content is appealing. People generally react more strongly to images than words. Images transfer messages immediately and can express things that otherwise require many words. Therefore, is is helpful to sell an idea or convince people. Visualization helps to connect people to thoughts and goals (in case you are interested; see our blog about StorySelling within organizations. Or our blog about The power of business storytelling).

So, many reasons to bring in your visual mind.

(Owh, and of course, you can use visuals for inspiration. Or just for fun (check out the – not very helpful;-) – drawings of The Oddball Empire).

Let’s get visual

So, visualization can be extremely powerful.  It adds an extraordinary amount to your ability to solve problems, understand, banish confusion, discover new ideas, envision, think, communicate, present, convince, show, sell. And more.

As author Dan Roam says: “It’s time to bring our visual mind back.” According to him, everyone is born with a talent for visual thinking, but — especially in the business world — we are never encouraged to develop it.

We agree. You can learn to act different. Anyone with a pen and a scrap of paper can exercise their imagination and develop quick visualization skills (you may like this slideshare: The 10 1/2 Commandments of Visual Thinking)

Try it. Do it.
Bring in your visual mind. 
And experience the power of visualization. 

For the curious

We’ve made a Flipboard Magazine for you: all about visualization.
Go beyond words
View my Flipboard Magazine.

Image credits: Forbes

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