Visualization makes you smarter

When you lead a team and want to squeeze the maximum out of its members, it is vital to promote creativity and learning. As David Sibbet explains in his book Visual meetings: How graphics, sticky notes and idea mapping can transform group productivity (2010), a key factor to achieve this through visual tools.

This infographic indicates how the group learning cycle works, explaining for each stage how to effectively enhance it through visual tools.


The first step in learning is to set a purpose, an objective. This is The first step in learning is to set a purpose, an objective. This is a process that happens in each person’s imagination, before a meeting even takes place. Each person imagines what is going to happen in it and what role they are going to play.

Providing the tools so that each team member can visualize all this on their own is very useful and helps to involve them more.

We recommend things like:

  • Make a poster for the meeting with a catchy title and a suggestive graphic and include it in mailings or in the corridors to encourage curiosity before the meeting
  • Ask people to indicate on a large piece of public paper what they think is important or urgent in relation to the meeting.
  • Incorporate a banner visible during the meeting that reminds people of the purpose of the meeting as they join.


Now, the goal will be to attract team members to each other for dialogue and discussion by exploring new ideas and information.

Many meetings start with a presentation to bring everyone to the same level of knowledge but this is too passive a method, to involve and promote creative thinking you need more than just information. The team needs to actively participate by making observations and sharing ideas. Involvement and movement.

To achieve this, one way that has proven very effective is to write down on a blackboard or similar what the team members are expressing by showing that they are actively listened to and avoiding indifference.


Thinking is the process of finding connections or relationships that explain things, solve problems, or help make decisions. But it is impossible to acquire knowledge about a complex system in an instant, you need to connect different pieces of information.

Much of thinking and reasoning consists of searching for visual patterns. To exemplify this, the following problem is proposed, asking to count the number of beans in two piles. It is clear that it is much easier to count them in the group on the right because a complex system has been divided into more easily understood units of information.

The way you view something directly impacts how much information you obtain, and how smart you can be.

Alan Kay

When you want to transfer information to your team, it is not enough to have a clear understanding of this knowledge, some kind of visual information is needed for the team to share it.

It is very useful, for example, to capture ideas graphically with tools such as diagrams or concept maps (such as the poster that accompanies this post)


The end of most meetings is usually to ask the team to work hard and help make progress and get results.

To do this, it is important to involve the team in decision making by recapitulating the ideas from the meeting and how to implement them.

For the description of the plans it is interesting, for example, the incorporation of roads with small stops that help to have a measure of progress.

Involving the team in the realization of plans increases the involvement and commitment to achieve the objectives. In addition, it is remarkable that the use of visual tools promotes group memory that helps the team to remember more easily what they have committed to accomplish and provides a document to refer to in order to remember it.


Sibbet, D. (2010). Visual meetings: How graphics, sticky notes and idea mapping can transform group productivity. John Wiley & Sons

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