Be visual and draw

Why being visual

Have you ever asked yourself why many traffic signs use pictograms and not text? The reason is pretty simple.

It is because visualizations – like pictograms and icons – are easy to recognize and to remember, especially in demanding situations. Even basic visual shapes like circles or squares can be used to communicate information. In traffic outer circular shapes are often used to communicate forbidden things. Triangles show that you have to be aware of something in traffic. Visualizations are use like a kind of universal language.

Stefan Meier Sketchnoting Bikablo Bulb Idea
Stefan Meier Sketchnoting Bulb Idea

Being visual in business case

Transfered to the business case being visual helps to overcome (language) barriers. The fact that visual elements are easy to recognioze, to understand and to remember can help you to schow complex things like flows, dependencies and structures.

Using pictograms and icons offers multiple anchor points for discussion compared to a linear text, where interconnected details can hardly be described. This enables you to dig deeper into a topic by taking you time to think about it in an explorative and understandable way, especially together with others.

Stefan Meier Sketchnoting Bikablo Agile Scrum Process
Stefan Meier Sketchnoting Agile Scrum Process

You can even sort thoughts and show ideas tangible or cluster them with being visual, e.g. in ideation worhsops. There design methods might come into play by adding card sorting or bubble boards.

Stefan Meier Sketchnoting Bikablo Process
Stefan Meier Sketchnoting Process

In business case being visual is often linked to terms like visual storytelling and sketchnoting. One famous approach in this case is called Bikablo. It offers a visual language easy to use for everybody.

Inspiring pictogram and icon ressources

To get started I recommend to get in touch by drawing icons and pictograms which already exist. This is an easy way to get a feeling for the topic of being visual. offers a great data base for pictograms and icons.

Pictograms by Otl Aicher, the famous designer who was responsible for the corporate design of the Olympic Games 1972, can be found here:

Swarm innovation

There are many processes and methods out there to drive innovation. It’s pretty hard which to pick. But what if we look a bit closer to people in organizations? Does this make the decision a bit easier?

Different skills of people offer the ability to drive innovation from different perspectives. This is why collaboration and participation should be encouraged by conflict. In an experimental environment where failures are welcome creativity is unleashed. These experiments should not be about being right, they are about leaning.

How to enable these conflicts? One approach can be setting up steering boards where everyone can participate in flat hierarchies in small teams. In this case leadership is more about asking questions, listening and setting up the space where interaction can happen and ideas arise.

According to this topic I found an inspiring talk by Linda Hill about “How to manage for collective creativity”: