I'm thinking about visual thinking. I'm not the only one. Next week, the first of it's kind conference on visual thinking is kicking off in San Francisco. It's called Vizthink. If you are in the area and interested in the topics of design thinking and synthesis—I suggest you go. I wanted to, but the timing didn't work out.
So what is visual thinking anyway? Well, let's go to Wikipedia for a few interesting tidbits:
"Thinking in pictures, is one of a number of other recognized forms of non-verbal thought such as kinesthetic, musical and mathematical thinking. Multiple thinking and learning styles, including visual, kinesthetic, musical, mathematical and verbal thinking styles are a common part of many current teacher training courses.Visual thinking has been found to be the most common thinking style, accounting for up to 60%-65% of the general population"
"As dyslexia is believed to effect up to 17% percent of the population and Visual thinking is predominant in around 60%-65% of the population, there is no clear indication of a link between visual thinking and dyslexia. As visual thinking is the most common mode of thought, it might be expected that the incidence of visual thinking in the dyslexic community would be reflective of that in the general population, around 60%-65% of each population."
"Visual thinkers describe thinking in pictures. As approximately 60%-65% of the general population, it's possible that a visual thinker may be as likely as any human being to also have good spatial-temporal reasoning or visual spatial ability without the two having any necessary direct relationship. Acute spatial ability is also a traits of kinesthetic learners (those who learn through movement, physical patterning and doing)"
Interesting? Indeed. So, as you've probably figured out by now—I'm a visual thinker. I'm also a very specific kind of visual thinker. The way I approach things is to look for a few choice nuggets of an abstract concept and I focus on those using ultra simple visuals to help communicate the idea I am looking to expand on. I also leave a great deal open for interpretation. My visuals are thought starters. Catalysts. They are meant to instigate further thinking. They usually do.
There are all types of visual thinking—from complex diagrams that lend themselves to info graphics to simple visualizations of ideas and thought. In a digital age of complexity—I forsee visual thinking as playing a key role in business—an effective way to get people to understand complex problems and begin working on solving them. I view visual thinking as a tool. A versatile tool that could fall under the catagory of design thinking. As you can see by this post, I've created a new category here as this is something I hope to be writing more about. Stay tuned—more to come.