The art of visual thinking course 

Why professionals benefit from developing the skill of visual communication

Did you know that problem-solving abilities of professionals improve when they are able to visualize their own thinking process clearly? Viewing and/or thinking about information visually improves the cooperation between the left and right hemispheres, which has several interesting benefits. In a world that moves faster and faster every day, where people have an information overload twenty-four seven, and the average attention span is down to seven seconds; how do you process information quickly and communicate effectively?

The answer? Visually!

Visuals enhance cognition, improve problem solving abilities and create insight. Whether you’re summarizing complicated information or trying to decipher its essence, visualization is a powerful tool for swiftly getting a message across clearly and convincingly. 

According to the cognitive load theory we have a working memory with limited storage space. To be precise: our brain has space for processing seven pieces of information. If we exceed that amount of information, the system will be overloaded. That is, the brain can no longer process the information, let alone remember. Just think about what amounts of information you, as a professional, are supposed to digest every day or what you ask others to digest. Is this actually realistic? The answer to this is simply: no. We are not able to process and remember all that information. However, when translating information visually we are better able to better process that same information ourselves and communicating visually reduces the cognitive strain on the ones we communicate with. 

Visualization is therefore a powerful tool for professionals to decipher the essence of information received. This so-called visual thinking, is a way to organize your thoughts and improve your ability to think and communicate. Research has shown that sketching while reading text often reveals relations that otherwise would have stayed hidden in the text. Mastering the art of visual thinking will allow you to move through the content faster while gaining a better understanding of the issue at hand.

Mastering the art of visual thinking can also help you to collaborate with your colleagues. Visualizing your way of thinking allows others to understand, connect and build on (your) ideas. Through visualization we create shared understanding - a proven way for groups to quickly iterate and further enhance ideas.

Arriving at the last step; communicating effectively with your stakeholders for the purpose of convincing or alignment. Doing so visually will make not only make you differentiate yourself but will also be highly effective, as visuals have the ability to communicate even the most complex information accurately, quickly, and memorably. It is not for nothing that meetings using visual aids save 25% of the time. 

This fast pacing, highly digital, world and the rise of the visual culture forces us to rethink how we can maintain a high level of efficiency and how we can keep communication with others effectively. Understanding the benefits of visualization is the first step in doing so. 

The Deloitte Designing Insight team is the most innovative team in the field as they combine design with the scientific knowledge of behavioral psychology and cognition. Deloitte specializes in incorporating visualization within your organization, training your employees, and creating effective visual communications for complex cases within your organization.

For Deloitte clients they have now developed a visual thinking course for professionals In a four hour course you will work on your own case as a team.  Through a mixture of exercises and theory, Sarah van Hecke will demonstrate why and how visualization can augment cognition and improve problem-solving abilities. You will learn how to sketch and how to translate these sketches into visuals to communicate with; you will master structuring your thoughts and be able to literally get on the same page with your clients and/or colleagues.

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