Creativity Coaching and the Visual Thinking Methodologies

The fundamental definition of visual thinking is that it is the concept of thinking via visual processing. The process is sometimes referred to as visual learning, spatial learning, or picture thinking and it's crucial to the creativity coaching process. It has been described as processing thoughts as pictures. In general terms, approximately 2/3 of the world’s population experiences some of their thoughts in this manner, although a much smaller group uses visual thinking as their primary mode of processing thoughts. In reference to children, those who process thoughts as pictures are generally considered to be ‘visual learners,’ and will perform better when allowed to work with and create visual aids.

A variety of visual thinking methodologies are also utilized among adults in addition to young learners. Visual thinking has been proven extremely effective when two or more people are working together on a project. In order for groups or teams to work more smoothly together, they may use images, diagrams, idea maps, thought maps, concept maps, process flowcharts, and idea webs. This way of thinking and processing allows people to collaborate and co-create projects together in a very efficient manner.

When visual thinking is utilized among group members working on the same project, creativity comes to life during the brainstorming phase. Not only does visual thinking help team members come up with a wider variety of possibilities to the challenge at hand, but it also enhances how well each group member will comprehend others’ ideas and how effectively they will be able to then build upon those ideas with new ones.

By using one of the most basic visual thinking methodologies, idea maps, co-creators can more easily and more completely share what is going on inside their minds. Brainstorming within a group is enhanced when idea maps are introduced, and shared concepts can easily lead to newer, better ideas that no one in the group had thought of before. Connections to shared thoughts can be made much more easily, and then built upon so that any gaps or lacking areas can be pinpointed quickly.

Research studies have shown encouraging data that proves just how valuable visual thinking methodologies can be. By organizing ideas with pictures, graphs, maps and charts, it is possible to make improvements in the following areas related to thinking: memory, critical thinking, organization, and last but not least: planning. It has also been determined that visual thinking strategies work really well on very complex tasks. Additionally, visual thinking is not a strategy that discriminates: anyone (of all ages) can do it!

Learning to use visual thinking methods is relatively simple. Once you’ve mastered the strategy, visual thinking methodologies can be applied to a wide variety of situations, projects, tasks, jobs, assignments and problems. Its uses are virtually without limit. Because visual thinking allows participants to literally ‘see’ their ideas (and those of their co-workers) come to life, it is much easier to spot trouble areas or problems with the big picture much earlier than if using written words only. This means that projects’ timelines will be much shorter in the long run, and the time saved can be applied to other important tasks.

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