Tuesday, April 16, 2019

How does visual thinking help us understand/think better ? (Part-1)

In continuation with my last post, I am sharing the key points of my conversation with Ashok Thiruvengadam for the SmartBites series.

[Ashok] As an avid visual thinker who uses SketchNotes to communicate, please tell us the importance of visual thinking and how it can help us understand/think better, and influence people?

[Anuj] Let me sharing 3-4 perspectives on this one:

Visual thinking helps you be more aware, be present in the moment:
Not so long ago, I had a post-dinner rare ice-cream with my family. In the ice-cream shop, there was an interesting menu (on a big board) which represented the whole list of ice-creams on offer in a sort of story form. The whole menu board was divided into different sections depicting each season and each section listed the ice creams on offer for the said season. Not only that, it had cool graphics representing each sections and the ice-cream names were called out in a very interesting set of fonts. The visual thinker in me was quite busy absorbing the whole layout with the keenness to try out some of the fonts on return to home.
If you replay my entire experience at the ice-cream shop, what is more evident is the whole experience of embracing the moment and appreciating the art and life around you. Most of the visual artists (i don't claim to be an expert one yet) take inspiration for their art from the surroundings. They are deeply observant and over a period of time, they develop this ability to be present in the moment and embracing life to the full. This self-awareness really helps to extract more life out of each moment.

Visual thinking brings in brevity in communication:
We live in a consumption economy. The whole digital revolution seems to built on the premise to offer the contents (in the form of news, updates from friends, images, videos etc.) to us as effortlessly as possible. We now have smartphones that are 24x7 content broadcasting machines. As a result of this, human beings are always in content consumption mode. While access to information is good in one way (it has made us more aware) but largely it has also robbed conciseness from the day-to-day communication. The emails tend now to be longer, verbal updates muddled up and our white-boards more busier than they have ever been.

One of the pieces of writing that recently inspired me was the blog- Create less, Consume more by Tanmay Vora. Sharing couple of pieces of advise from this blog:
Consume mindfully by having right set of filters that help you decide if something will *really* add value and increase your ability to create. When you consume mindfully, less is actually more.  
Practice the fine art of subtraction – we don’t need more and more. We need less that is more (useful/helpful/enriching etc.) Sometimes, the only way to find if something is useful is to “try” it. But often, once we try something, it stays with us because we are not so good at subtracting stuff – at eliminating that which we don’t really need.
The other end in the spectrum of consumption is the creation. Sketchnotes and blogging has really helped me balance the continuum of creation and consumption. Sketchnotes offer a powerful medium that lets you do a concise representation of a book or a large number of words in just one page. It really helps to separate signal from the noise. In short, it improves brevity in communication.

Will be sharing more in the Part-2 of this blog. Stay tuned.

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