How and why do visuals work to help groups think better? Christine drew this image of the “5 Rs” that help people work together more strategically and creatively. Link to our podcast about using large paper displays of information in the meeting room

5 Rs

Visuals help Relationships among people, they create a Resonance between thought and feeling, the enable a group to experience Reflection of their Collective IQ, they provide a Rest for our data-overloaded brain, and they show the Relevance of ideas that may seem unrelated until they are visually connected as part of an emerging story.

Relationships– Visuals separate ideas/issues from personalities. When ideas are explicit and on the page, in their own words, they become manageable. This image was for the Art Center College of Design’s IT Department, showing the different expectations of stakeholders. Another example that ……

Resonance–Visuals tap deeply into our consciousness providing us with an experience that is engaging at a level beyond logical thought. When they look together at a mural, people do more than think about the ideas they have generated together as a group–they feel the impact of those ideas. For example, this mural represents a discussion about one man’s experiences with the health care system. People at the meeting could see and follow his journey and by the end they were all exhausted. Even people who did not attend the meeting could look back at this image and “get the feeling”

Reflection-- There’s a limited amount people can remember…need it visible for them to make connections.Many of our organizational problems and issues are very complex. A visual is a snapshot of the Collective IQ, See clearly what’s happened, take it out for other people to look at later.

“Visual thinking can democratize cleverness by literally showing us what it looks like…it can externalize the internal and organize thinking, which is the basis for effective decisions and actions. Understanding can be both communicated and developed, translating rapid, private, ephemoral and abstract thinking into static, public, concrete and accessible demonstrations that reveal concepts to everyone.” Oliver Caviglioli “Thinking Visually.”

Rest–Time-out. Visuals People are suffering from information overload. They can more easily take in new information if it is in a shape that is a familiar structure, it’s easy on eye and easy on the brain. This is an example of an image created for a group that wanted conference participants to think differently.

Relevance – Each idea is part of a pattern. Seemingly unrelated ideas can come together. You write down a quote that doesn’t seem meaningful at the momenet but later becomes part of the “whole”. The visual actually helps make the connections. As David Cooperider said “The use of Metaphor allows new knowledge to emerge and can unlock the complexities of organizational theory and behavior .”

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1 Response to “The 5 Rs of Writing on the Walls”

  1. 1 Idea visualization | Miscellaneous | Traffichoney

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