Visual Thinking

QMPAS Collective Thinking

What is visual thinking?

Broadly defined, visual thinking is the use and exploration of images as tools for communication, understanding, analysis and problem solving. When practiced with rigorous discipline, Visual Thinking techniques result in the production of graphic ideas that help us understand ideas, problems, processes and systems in intuitive, novel and original ways.

Why does visual thinking help?

  • Visually representing a challenge helps us to deconstruct it and understand the factors and issues that make it up. This can help people make better decisions faster
  • It helps people communicate our decisions (and visions) more effectively
  • Visual information is processed more quickly than text.
  • Visual depictions of projects and plans puts people in instant visual contact with their project and each other, helping them understand and monitor whatever needs to be happening at the level of detail that matters most at the moment.
  • People benefit from interaction with multiple representations of information and concepts more than through text.
  • It helps people learn about complex systems. In many cases, visualizations convey more meaning than written and verbal descriptions alone.
  • Visual diagrams, graphic organizers, and concept maps help people problem-solve, and support group work.
  • Creating visual explanations improves retention of information and deeper understanding of complex concepts.

What do you see?

There are two squares. One square is bigger than the other square. The bigger square is blue and the smaller square is red.

What did you read?

In the text description, the writer decided on the order. We reveal two shapes, then the size difference and finally the colors. An equally accurate description could be: red and blue colors. Next to each other. The blue is bigger than the red. They are each shaped like squares.

The linear text enforces a sequential order, it can be articulated in many different ways over a paragraph. The visual does not enforce it. Viewers will likely see the colors before they notice that the shapes are square, but they will see the picture as a whole AND the parts at the same time.

Benefits of Visual Thinking

Better Decisions Faster

Creating and visually representing ideas in a collective process gives people a deeper and broader understanding of the factors, issues and impacts of decisions.

Clearer Communication

Visual depictions that take a "systems approach" are able to communicate the bigger picture and the details cleary, concisely and more quickly than a written report.

Better Engagement

Having engaged and motivated employees has many benefits. They are more invested in their company's success, they stay longer, work harder and perform better.

Team Alignment

Following a Fair Process enables us to pursue the best ideas and achieve a high level of alignment and support for the decisions or outcomes of our collective design process.

Better Performance

Well designed, understood and supported visions, strategies and processes help people learn, understand business objectives, think critically and creatively to make better decisions.

Accelerate Learning

Accelerate collective learning so people are able to contually "see the whole" together to find clear, coherent and cohesive strategies for accomplishing their objectives.

The Design Process

Click through the slides to see snapshots of a design process as it evolves from the core question through a series of questions to the final product.

Visual Thinking Product Evolution Slide #1: The Question
Visual Thinking Product Evolution Slide #1: The Question
Visual Thinking Product Evolution Slide #1: The Question
Visual Thinking Product Evolution Slide #1: The Question
Visual Thinking Product Evolution Slide #1: The Question
Visual Thinking Product Evolution Slide #1: The Question
Visual Thinking Product Evolution Slide #1: The Question
Visual Thinking Product Evolution Slide #1: The Question
Delsys Logo

QMPAS "Service and Software" is developed and managed by Delsys.

A visual thinking consultancy serving the Federal Government and other corporate clients in Ottawa for over 40 years.

Visit Our Website