It’s easy to focus on the visual. In fact, that’s probably one reason we believe so strongly in visual thinking. It helps people brainstorm, process, organize, plan, and communicate information more effectively. However, we so often talk about the visual aspects of our field (photo, 3D, sketching, color, proximity, flow, etc) that we forget there’s a thinking part as well. The purpose of the visual isn’t necessarily to save us from having to think (although it can do that, for sure), but it can also be used to cause us to think more deeply and to think of things that we may not have thought of before.
I recently had the privilege to spend some time with industry veteran and guru Bob Horn in his San Francisco office. Filled to the top with years of books, reading, research, and writing, he has amassed a myriad of experience in visual thinking. Not only has he research and written about the theories of visual thinking, he has also put them into practice with local and national governments, global organizations, and non-profits of all shapes and sizes. His preference is to focus on the “wicked” problems such as climate change and apply visual thinking techniques to help change the world. During our time together, we recorded a 28-minute podcast where we cover a variety of topics such as:
- Systems Thinking
- Argument maps
- Use of a mess to communicate a message
- Visual Thinking is about both the Visual and the Thinking
At VizThink ’09, we’ll talk with Bob in more detail on the main stage about working with messy, wicked problems of public policy and how various intermediate kinds of visualization can facilitate the process of early brainstorming, deep analysis, detailed planning, creating drafts for early feedback, and looping back through the analysis and design process as gaps show up. In addition, Bob will have a 90-minute breakout session on the core of visual language as a tool for global communication. Check it out for a brief summary of his book,Visual Language: Global Communication for the 21st Century.
Be sure to join us for this exciting set of sessions and to learn first hand with an industry veteran and guru. For more information on this and all of the other great sessions at VizThink ’09, be sure to check out our conference wiki. The draft schedule is up, so you can begin to plan your conference experience. We have just 20 days left until the event in San Jose. Be sure to register now so you’ll be sure to reserve your space and not miss this exciting conference.