Visual collaboration is taking over the world

Taking into consideration that 90 per cent of information entering the brain is visual and that visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text, we can rightly ask whether the visual collaboration isn’t incorporated enough in our daily team communication.

Taking into consideration that 90% of information entering the brain is visual and that visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text, we can rightly ask whether the visual collaboration isn’t incorporated enough in our daily teamwork communication. Studies find that the human brain deciphers image elements simultaneously, while language is decoded in a linear, sequential manner taking more time to process.

Our minds react differently to visual stimuli. Relatively speaking, in terms of communication, textual ubiquity is brand new. Thanks to millions of years of evolution, we are genetically wired to respond differently to visuals than to text.

“We are visual creatures. When you doodle an image that captures the essence of an idea, you not only remember it, but you also help other people understand and act on it — which is generally the point of meetings in the first place.” Tom Wujec, global leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.

The main point of Tom Wujec’s TED talk 3 ways the brain creates meaning is that we make meaning by seeing, by an act of visual interrogation. We use images to clarify what we’re trying to communicate. To make the full engagement, we make those images interactive. These are techniques that can be used and applied in a wide range of problem-solving.

Let’s keep in mind a few things when talking about visual collaboration:

Anyone can draw. Visual communication is not about art, but about explaining and capturing ideas. The images just need to be simple and clear. For instance, draw stick figures and show growth with up arrows.

Drawing saves time over designing a presentation. You won’t have to spend time finding suitable images and doing cumbersome activities like resizing a font. With drawing, you can create and erase content in seconds.

Kind of like viewing an infographic, visualizing the meeting agenda lets participants see the entire story from a bird’s eye view and elevates the conversation. When you distribute a printed agenda, everyone looks down at his or her paper, but posting images on a whiteboard forces everyone to look together and facilitates a better group discussion. Also, making sketches while listening can help with remembering details, rather than implying that the mind is wandering as is the common perception. According to a study published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, subjects given a doodling task while listening to a dull phone message had a 29% improved recall compared to their non-doodling counterparts.

The measure of success for visual collaboration is not whether the technology works, but the degree to which it contributes to business value such as cost savings, more effective teams, shorter decision-making cycles, and so on. So are you ready to improve your flexibility, group thinking, effectiveness, concentration and problem-solving?

All the benefits may be just a few sketches away!

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