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Three ways to apply visual thinking for #careerlions

Three ways to apply visual thinking for #careerlions

And that’s when it started, I started seeing sounds
— Time for some action by N*E*R*D (only my alltime favourite band)

I listened to those exact lyrics every day on my morning bike ride in high school. And while I didn’t actually start seeing sounds, I could relate to the song as I am quite the visual person. I wish I could say that this also means I am really good at drawing or another visual design skill, but no. What I can do are some doodling and simple drawing. Did you know that drawing actually helps to simplify stuff and therefore induces effective communication? That’s right! More than enough reason to dig a little deeper into visual thinking!

What is visual thinking?

Now, what does visual thinking actually mean? Visual thinking is the phenomenon of thinking through visual processing. When it comes to visual thinking in business settings, Willemien Brand in her book Visual Thinking states: “Visual thinking and collaboration techniques can help you achieve goals better and faster by unlocking the “whole brain function” of workers within these settings.” Read on if you want to learn more about three methods to apply visual thinking yourself!

Find your purpose through visual thinking

Vision boards have been around ever since the buzz from The Secret, where it was explained as: “The law of attraction is forming your entire life experience and it is doing that through your thoughts. When you are visualizing, you are emitting a powerful frequency out into the Universe.” Vision boards are intended to bring the energy of your personal goals into the world. Now, why not do that for a project with your team?


In meetings, it is advised to set up a little agenda with topics and time boxes. Now, one can simply sum up these topics, or make it more fun in a little roadmap. Visualizing a road is especially relevant (and fun) if you’re working in the infrastructure sector like me. If you’re working in aviation, visualize a runway with a plane. If you’re working in fashion, draw threat and needle transforming into garment pieces. You get the idea, make (boring) meetings more fun with a little creativity. Another benefit of doing this: You’ll capture the attention right away, making it easier to start off and have an effective and efficient meeting.

Using metaphorical strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats

A useful technique to identify and analyze strengths and weaknesses of a project or organization is the SWOT analysis. SWOT is an abbreviation for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. And let’s face it, the SWOT analysis has proven its applicability, but can get a little bit boring if you’re doing it for the fiftieth time. To spice things up, try making a visual and metaphorical SWOT! My favorite? You probably guessed it: the Harry Potter SWOT. In this theme:

  • The strengths are his wizarding talents,
  • Weaknesses the connections to Voldemort,
  • Opportunities are the chances he’s been given at Hogwarts, and
  • Threats the fame of his survival story that brought out the bad sides in people.

Brainstorm with your team about the different metaphors from the books or movies and translate them into what is relevant for your own SWOT. Besides Harry Potter, think about metaphorical SWOT themes like Game of Thrones, Avengers, or Lord of the Rings to think outside the box!

What about you? What are your recommendations to apply Visual Thinking? Ready to purchase the book and give more visualization methods a chance? Let us know in the comments below.

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