Friday, June 13, 2008

Visual Thinking Tools

Sometimes, just laying arguments or ideas out in a spatial way can help you see gaps in an argument, or can help you 'walk through' a decision in a structured way (for example, de Bono's "Six Thing Hats®" provides a visual metaphor for considering the different sides of a situation in a decision making process.

Exploratree is a web site that collects together 'visual thinking' templates that can be used to help structure thinking in a visual way.

Visit Exploratree and browse through some of the "thinking guides" that are collected there. See if you can find a thinking guide that would be appropriate for helping you think through the consequences of an action, or "planning back" from some anticipated goal to a current situation. How does the template for a simple exercise such as Plus, Minus, Interesting help you actually perform this exercise? Do the templates require any prior knowledge, or does their visual design implicitly suggest how to use the thingin guide without further instruction? For example, how would you use this template? Compass Rose.

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