#3: Visual Thinking
The Value of Visual Thinking
It was Extremely Boring – When I recall my memories that I had to spend lots of time writing a lengthy business model using a corporate template, the only term that comes to my mind is “Boring”. I’m sure you agree with me that the traditional way of writing a business model was not really efficient.
To save time and achieve your results faster, especially when using business model canvas, it is absolutely beneficial to keep it as visual as possible. To do so, you should use visual thinking techniques that allow you to easily discuss different objectives in a most visual manner.
You know that your business model has more than on aspect to look into and the complexity of a business model and the inter-relationships between 9 building blocks are inevitable. In fact, lots of entrepreneurs face difficulty seeing the big picture when that work on more than 1 starting point and inter-sections in their business model design. In case you are wondering why, it all goes back to lack of visualization skills.
However, using visual thinking tools such as pictures, sketches, diagrams, and sticky notes can greatly help you develop and design your business model in no time.
Let me walk you through a few absolutely amazing techniques
Visual thinking allows you to co-create your business model, have clearer discussions and make changes as you go.
Using visual thinking techniques work best for you when designing a new business model and making changes to an existing one.
Today, entrepreneurs and business owners rely on tools such as Microsoft Excel and other similar spreadsheet software to discuss their challenges, plans and reports.
It’s funny because visualization tools such as graphs, charts, diagrams, etc. are rarely used to discuss ideas, explore opportunities, and define business issues.
At this point I’m going to take you through the process of defining, discussing, and changing business models & help you understand how visual thinking can transform your business model design.
Visualizing with Sticky Notes.
Since you can’t write on your business model you need a set of idea containers to sketch on and move them around. Sticky notes are the most essential, must-have tools when you work on designing your business model canvas.
Having sticky notes in your business model discussions is absolutely necessary because it rarely happens that everyone immediately agree on one topic.
As you practice using them, sticky papers won’t be just a piece of paper anymore, instead, they represent a business model building block and become a vector for strategic discussion.
Here is a 3 steps guideline to use sticky notes in your exploratory discussions:
Use thick marking pens as it prevents you from writing details; it also makes it easier for others to read.
Only write one element per sticky note
Don’t write an essay; a few words per note would be sufficient to capture the essential point.
Visualizing with Drawings
It’s obvious that drawings are more powerful than words because you can instantly deliver a message with pictures.
One of the reasons that many people waste their time on spreadsheets is the fact that they were not exposed to drawing. You’d be surprised to see that a simple drawing can express ideas that otherwise require many words.
Let me give you a few examples:
Think of a smiling face, it conveys emotion right?
A bag of money and Dollar sign can refer to revenue.
A heart can convey a good relationship with your customers.
Drawing your customer and her environment to illustrate one of your Customer Segments using emoji help you understand her needs better
You see, that’s much easier that you think but the issue is that we think we can’t draw.
Of course I’m not asking you to replicate Shakespeare’s work, so you shouldn’t be embarrassed if your drawing appear unsophisticated or childish.
But your drawings will likely trigger constructive discussions and help the team to generate more innovative business ideas.