For a long time I have been interested in visual business communications. How can we use graphics to provide simplicity, clarity and efficiency. In the world of work, there is an overload of reports, spreadsheets, emails and routines/procedures etc. Therefore its imperative that we become knowledge masters – not by just feeding our brains with more fact, figures and instructions but by summarising, indexing and prioritising what we receive and what we want to communicate. There are many tools to do this. These are the three I used regularly:
Flow Charts: A great tool to condense a massive amount of information in a concise and clear way. Flow Charts helps map the different steps in a process and then identify any weaknesses. Its a great way for presenting and explaining long and detailed routines/procedures – very useful if used at heavy process driven organisations. If the map is too long and complicated then its not the chart’s fault, its the system you are working with! And if you do produce a complicated flow chart then you have fertile ground for identifying problems, improving processes and reducing waste.
Mind Maps: The tool for radiating thoughts in a creative process for the presenter and the audience. The word and pictures are the hooks for the brain to think, remember, spread thoughts and ideas. They should always be developed and read in a clockwise manner. A good Mind Map is a treat for our brains which are usually overburdened with mono tone (monotonous ) written sentences. The brain is always craving a colourful image and hooks to make connections in your vast memory of knowledge, experience and creativity.
Mind Trees: This is my own developed tool based on other similar techniques and ideas. A Mind Tree is a great way for management to develop their plans and concepts and put them into a format that can be explained on one page. Then just as importantly Mind Trees can help operational co-workers understand and implement: for example company business ideas, the factory customer goals, the latest management trends and organisational restructuring etc. Mind Trees have strict rules. There must be one goal, 4 x needs and then 12-16 x drivers . Then finally the described actions required to achieve the goal!
Business visuals should work to present themes, processes and ideas; grabbing attention, promoting comprehension and motivating people to use their precious brain space, energy and time to achieve real understanding and further creativity in the maintenance and implementation of their work.
Mark K. Astley: Robert Vernon Associates Ltd.