Framework


The visual thinking framework provides a platform that will help you generate better ideas and allow you to solve problems far more effectively. The entire framework is built upon the principles of visual thinking as they apply to problem solving, creativity and idea generation. In fact, every article on the blog, every technique we explore, and every principle we discuss is intertwined into the framework you will find below.

The Visual Thinking Framework

Peeling Back the Onion

The framework is very much like an onion. You start peeling at the top layer and continue peeling until you reach the core of the onion. At the core, you will have a complete grasp of how to solve your problems and generate ideas using a large variety of visual thinking techniques, strategies, principles and tools.

It’s Not Just About Drawing

Most people perceive visual thinking to be all about drawing. To some extent that is true. However, as you can see within the visual thinking framework, drawing is only one small piece of the puzzle. It’s nothing more than a skill you will learn to perfect over time. It’s no doubt a very important component of visual thinking, but only one of several competencies required to become a visual thinking expert.

The Metaphor of “Magic”

The visual thinking framework ties into the metaphor of magic. This is important, because metaphors help us to learn concepts far more effectively, and as such it will be of great value while work through the framework. More about this at a later time.

Exploring the Visual Thinking Framework

At the moment the VTF is slowly starting to come together. More information about the framework and how all the pieces connect will be revealed over time. However, there is already information about the framework up on the site. Most of it is still incomplete, as I continue to piece things together in small chunks, however there’s probably enough there to hopefully inspire some curiosity.

Here are some handy VTF links that might be of interest. However, please bear in mind that many of them are still within the early stages of construction.

  • Competencies: In order to excel as a visual thinker, it is recommended that you develop a set of competencies that will naturally enhance your ability to think visually and present your ideas in a persuasive way.
  • Components: Visual thinking is made up of a set of components that make visual thinking possible. These components form the basis of how we structure our thoughts when thinking visually.
  • Core Principles: Having a working knowledge of core visual thinking principles will help you to gain a deeper understanding of the process of visual thinking and its building blocks.
  • Creation Tools: Every creator needs a set of tools that help bring their thoughts into reality. When it comes to visual thinking these tools can either be physical, such as a pencil or pen, or come in a box installed on a computer.
  • Environment: It’s critical that you create an optimal visual thinking environment that will naturally help promote higher levels of concentration, productivity and creativity. In fact, building an ideal visual thinking space is critical to your development as a visual thinker.
  • Mindset: In order to become a successful visual thinker you must begin cultivating a mindset that will allow you flexibility of thought, creative self-expression and self-belief — the building blocks of achievement.
  • Questions: Questions form the foundations of the five thinking competencies that help enhance the visual thinking process.
  • Resistance: Visual thinking is a powerful tool that can help you solve problems and generate ideas far more effectively and quickly. However, first and foremost you must be open to the possibilities and overcome the unfortunate resistance that some people feel. You actually ARE a visual thinker. :)
  • Techniques: There are many different types of visual thinking techniques you can use to help you solve problems, think more creatively, and generate ideas far more effectively. As with anything, the more you use them, the better you’ll get. For further insights you might also want to take a look at the Element Gallery.
  • The Path: This segment of the visual thinking framework is effectively the brain of the entire thinking system. This is where all the pieces get pieced together; where you begin to make sense of everything, and where you work through your problems in a visual way.

If all of this doesn’t quite make sense at the moment, than I hope that it will over time. It’s all a work in progress, and so it may be a little rough along the edges. In fact, the entire site is probably a little rough along the edges. For me it’s very much like an experimental lab where I can try new ideas and test strange theories. It is therefore very much akin to a diamond that needs a lot of polishing. There’s certainly exciting potential here, but its still got a ways to go.

Everything you read here is part of ongoing research and experimentation within the visual thinking arena. The goal is to create a comprehensive framework for visual thinking that encapsulates creativity, problem solving and critical thinking skills. Your comments, ideas and suggestions are most welcome.
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