Visual thinking to stimulate creativity

Drawings, as rudimentary and clumsy as they may be, help you share, understand and discuss ideas better. 

Drawings prove particularly useful for sharing an idea with a group and fine-tuning it. They make it possible to develop a shared language and identify links between the elements of a problem. A few lines in pencil are often enough to clarify a concept which needs a lot of words. Drawings also engage different parts of the brain. They can therefore trigger unexpected ideas.

Whilst companies are generally used to certain visual techniques, such as the use of diagrams, drawings are more rarely used to generate and develop ideas within a team. People often think they cannot draw and dare not start for fear of ridicule. But even the most rudimentary drawings can make things tangible and understandable. For example, a straight line can symbolize serenity whilst a discontinued, broken line can evoke a sense of irritation. A smiley face conveys a positive emotion. Piles of coins of different sizes can represent proportions in an immediately understandable way. There is no need to be an experienced artist. 

Use of Post-it notes

Post-it notes are particularly useful during the exploratory phase of an innovation project. Separate concepts can be associated with different Post-it notes. Once stuck on the wall, they can then be reorganized, removed or replaced. Here are three useful instructions for using Post-it notes:

  • Use thick marker pens. This stops you writing down too many details and facilitates prompt visual understanding.
  • Write only one thing on each Post-it note.
  • Write only a few words on each Post-it, sticking to the essentials.

Source: Business Model Generation, Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, Pearson, 2011.


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Quotes about creativity

“I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else.”
Pablo Picasso, painter, founder of Cubism

Last modification 24.10.2018

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