15 January 2006

Visual thinking practice: Thinking spaces

Visual thinking is the practice of using pictures to enhance your ability to solve problems, think about complex issues and communicate effectively. Are you ready to work on your visual thinking skills? You don't have to be an artist. Pick up a pen or pencil and try the following exercise:

See if you can capture your best thinking and creaive experiences in each of the following categories:

1. Solitary spaces:
Make a list of the places and times that great ideas seem to come to you when you are alone. Where, when and how do you do your best thinking? Does a window help inspire you or does it distract? Do you like to be indoors or outside? Music or silence? What are the characteristics of a great solitary thinking space? How can you make these spaces better for thinkig visually?

2. Community spaces:
What groups or communities do you like to think and create with? Who inspires you? What are the "watering holes" where these people tend socialize or congregate? How can you make them better visual thinking spaces?

3. Informal spaces:
Think back to the most interesting conversation you had recently. Where did it happen? Is there anything about the space that helped spark the conversation? What were the key attributes of the space? How can you make such spaces better visual thinking spaces?

Now see if you can draw the spaces that you want, by making a sketch or plan-view diagram. Do your drawings generate any further ideas? If not, show them to a friend and see what ideas it sparks for them.

Read more in visual thinking school.

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