Key insights on Visual Design Thinking 5/5

For anyone who wants to understand the potential of Visual Design Thinking for you and your organization

Training @ NPO
Training @ NPO

Remember my last article on Visual Design Thinking?

When people start talking about ‘Visual Design Thinking’ you will most likely get many question marks popping up in your head. In my opinion it is an area yet to explore after the introduction of Design Thinking, Agile working, Scrum Masters, and many other buzzwords that are used in business nowadays. I would like to help you gain some clarity on this subject.

As discussed in the first article: each week I’ll share one of the insights! Last week I explained that co-creation is key to generate ownership. For the ones who are up for a challenge: Try to visualize the insights you gained from this article 😉 For now: Time to reveal the fifth insight. Have fun while reading!

Session @ Provincie Noord-Holland
Session @ Provincie Noord-Holland

5. VDT unlocks a safe space for feedback

I think it is generally acknowledged that providing and receiving feedback has always been a confronting aspect of meetings. I have learned that a great and meaningful way to ease-up the act of sharing feedback in the process is to add a third point of communication.

I’ve experienced the added value of that third point being the visual. It makes feedback less offensive and therefore helps your team to reach that shared goal you want to achieve in a shorter time frame. You can’t work with only positive feedback, so you need to create that comfortable safe space to share the things you might disagree with.

Especially the use of metaphors can be enlightening, as it contains many associations and biases people can relate to. If your company is a ship, what would be your horizon? How many masts do you need to get there? What does the distance between the ship and the horizon mean to your organization?

Training @ Newcraft
Training @ Newcraft

It’s easier to say you don’t think that the mountain is that high, the captain of the ship actually acts more like a sailor nowadays, or you missed out on the information underneath the tip of the iceberg. By pointing it out in a visual, it lowers the threshold and therefore invites everyone to speak up equally. People tend to provide much richer feedback by pointing out the differences in a visual in front of them rather than looking someone in the eye, telling them they are badly wrong in their opinion.

A visual opens up a space for feedback which is less confronting, and helps to let everyone participate and provide their opinion as they all build upon the visual information physically in front of them. By discussing the visual representation of a company’s’ strategy, it even evokes a deeper layer of questions to be solved, and in the end it results in a clear understanding of the shared information.

Try it yourself: During your next meeting when you experience you disagree with it, try to visualize the situation and point out what you think should go differently. Curious if you’ll experience the lower threshold to speak-up!

Let’s join forces to help a transition in your organisation!

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