The Cognitive Process - Visual Thinking

Visual Thinking (& Systems Thinking)

Drawing on the research of how humans see and understand the visual world around us, visual thinking spans visual perception, neuroscience, colour theory, graphic design, media theory, visual storytelling, and information design. At AllChange, the use of visual thinking techniques focuses on improving and inventing new ways for people to work better and more effectively together. The visual thinking approaches we apply are inspired by how architects and engineers work. The evolution of computer graphics and social media have built on our original thinking, with the addition of the benefits of the latest thought leadership around systems thinking (how natural systems organize and connect to each other).

What is the value of Visual Thinking in a business context?

  • We are all hard-wired to think visually – capturing complex issues in visual form; using models, tables, symbols and pictures enable individuals and groups of people to understand and engage more effectively together.
  • Visualization is a powerful way to resolve confusion in groups that arise from inadequate or conflicting mental models. This is crucial when those models involve our ideas of how work gets done, how teams co-operate, how to make decisions, how to organize and how to learn. A huge amount of time in meetings is spent working out these differences.
  • A picture up on a wall or on a computer screen creates a visual target for groups of people to explore, debate and challenge – this makes problem-solving very much easier as it is collaborative and effectively draws on the group genius – whilst also creating a cohesive single perspective and team.
  • Much of our understanding of systems and how things work together is represented through visual imagery. We apply cutting-edge visual techniques to help our clients’ ground and test their business thinking in a real, meaningful and whole-system way.

Visual Thinking promotes:

  • Participation – Engagement explodes in meetings when people are listened to and acknowledged by having what they say recorded in an interactive, graphic way.
  • Big Picture Thinking – Groups get much smarter when they can think in big picture formats that allow for comparison, pattern finding and idea mapping.
  • Group Memory – Creating memorable media greatly increases group memory and follow-through, a key ingredient to achieving effective implementation.
  • Group Cohesion – A visual target promotes collaboration, makes problem-solving easier and is highly effective at creating a cohesive single perspective and team.
  • Tackling Systems Level Challenges – Much of our understanding of systems and how things work together is represented through visual imagery.

See also:

Structured Thinking
Narrative Transport
Pure Language

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