Brainstorming Ideas, Mapping and Modeling Software, Creative Thinking Software, Visual Thinking Software

Brainstorming Ideas, Mapping and Modeling Software, Creative Thinking Software, Visual Thinking Software

Brainstorming Ideas, Mapping and Modeling Software, Creative Thinking Software, Visual Thinking Software



aa.gif (3050 octets) Contents

Extracts from the more comprehensive support accompanying Visual Concept.

Structures of thoughts

Visual Thinking is a name applied to the use of visual aids in thinking processes. From time immemorial people have made marks in the sand with a stick, made gestures and used simple models to represent their thoughts.   Extensions of these simple devices - blackboards, whiteboards, flipcharts and projector screens are used as visual aids to our thinking and our communication. We will frequently make thumb nail sketches to help clarify our thoughts about something or re-arrange the objects on our dining table to illustrate a point. Any child can support amazing mental images with the aid of a few Lego bricks. Blueprints and maps are more sophisticated means of expressing a great deal of thinking with great precision. Wall charts showing timetables, vehicle movements or production flows have been around some time. All these are aspects of visual thinking – representations of thought that can be seen.

What is beginning to change is that more complex and subtle thought processes are being explored and methods that permit constant changes to be made are extending the scope. Perhaps an early version of adaptable visual aids is the war room with its maps and models being updated with the latest intelligence.

Some characteristics of modern visual thinking methods are ;

  • Object based – The objects may represent thoughts or they may represent stages of a process or particular processes in themselves. Objects enable relationships to be worked out and understood.
  • Alterability – Usually words will be written on the objects to clarify what they represent or they might be coloured or shaped to represent different ideas. Objects are either disposable or they can be cleaned and re-used. It should also be possible to write and alter notes and titles on the background. The facility to provide additional information would certainly be valuable.
  • Manipulability – It will be possible to move objects in relation to one another in order to express relationship and subtle shades of meaning. Shapes and colours will ideally be changeable.
  • Recordability – You should be able either to keep the original or to be able to replicate it for storage (memory). It should be easy to make copies for communication purposes and to transmit outputs electronically.
  • Ease of use – It should be easy to set things up and the methods used should be as intuitive as possible.
  • Appropriate scale – for solo work something that fits on a desk-top may be all that is required. However, much of the power of visual thinking is its use with groups. Typically these will be small groups of a dozen or so, although occasionally it may be necessary to work with much larger groups. This can be achieved through replicating the small group many times or large-scale visual media may be needed.

To which we might add:

  • Portability so that they can be used anywhere.

Back to top of this page

Media Media for visual Thinking

Visual Thinking media currently in use include Metaplan (specially pre-printed paper and pins), Post-it notes (disposable), various plastic variations of these (Facilicom and Kancept) which have some re-usability and the possibility of use on an OHP, and MagNotes which are more substantial and re-usable. Recording any of these media usually requires photography or physical transcription. Alternatively they can be copied into a computer using VISUAL CONCEPT.

Computers have the advantage of being able to emulate all physical media and to combine all their best attributes with top quality printout and the possibility of projection so that the largest group can see what is going on just as well as the individual. Of course computers add enormous value because of their memory and capacity for digital transmission. In this respect VISUAL CONCEPT is the best program currently available, having been designed as a Visual Thinking medium in its own right and also as a means of copying models generated in other media.

Back to top of this page

Patterns in the mind ] Externalising Patterns of Thought ] Mapping ideas ] Making meaning ] Example ]

Visual Concept is a protected name of Inspiration Resources. All other products mentioned are registered trademarks or trademarks of their respective companies.
Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to
Copyright 1998 CMC Group. All rights reserved.
Last modified: Tuesday, 09 September 2003.