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A visual approach can help you more fully develop your idea — and more easily connect the dots for others.Shutterstock

M.I.T. neuroscientists have found that our brains can process images in as little as thirteen milliseconds — that’s faster than reading a sentence. Our brains are wired to absorb visual information, yet as we get older, we’re taught to “use our words.”

But when a disruptive idea is so unfamiliar that people have no context for it, how do you use words to explain it? When words fall short, a visual approach can help you more fully develop your idea — and more easily connect the dots for others.

To strengthen your skills of visualization and your ability to better describe innovative ideas, try a technique called Picture the Future. Not only can it help you communicate really big ideas, it can help align the vision for your company and inform strategic planning. In fact, a VP at Sprint used this same exercise to create a vision of Sprint’s Future for Content Development.

It all starts with a group visualization exercise. You’re ten years in the future, and your organization is a leading innovator. You’ve achieved a position of dominance in your industry. How did you get here? As in, what specific decisions and actions got you to this level of success? To focus your thoughts, capture your answers to the following:

  • What new things will our business or team be selling or doing?
  • What changes will enable us to sell and do those things?
  • What skills will we need to be successful?
  • What will be different about the structure of our business?

Now, start drawing your vision of the company ten years from now, using your answers as a guide. Maybe your answers included things like “all employees work remotely” or “A.I. will have a much larger role in operations” or “we will only sell our products through a subscription model.” Whatever your vision, convey it through a mix of words and images and then share with the class.

As you look around, take note if any team members’ sketches are really similar. Ditto if everyone drew something different. Generate a discussion around the implications of having aligned or differing visions for the company. Then decide, as a group, which drawings represents the ideal version of your company’s future. Once you’ve narrowed it down to one or two drawings, identify what you can act on today to start fulfilling your vision of tomorrow.

Visualizing your company’s innovation success in the future is essential to achieving it. Use the actionable ideas from this exercise to strategize, align, and implement a ten-year plan for innovation success.

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A visual approach can help you more fully develop your idea — and more easily connect the dots for others.Shutterstock

M.I.T. neuroscientists have found that our brains can process images in as little as thirteen milliseconds — that’s faster than reading a sentence. Our brains are wired to absorb visual information, yet as we get older, we’re taught to “use our words.”

But when a disruptive idea is so unfamiliar that people have no context for it, how do you use words to explain it? When words fall short, a visual approach can help you more fully develop your idea — and more easily connect the dots for others.

To strengthen your skills of visualization and your ability to better describe innovative ideas, try a technique called Picture the Future. Not only can it help you communicate really big ideas, it can help align the vision for your company and inform strategic planning. In fact, a VP at Sprint used this same exercise to create a vision of Sprint’s Future for Content Development.

It all starts with a group visualization exercise. You’re ten years in the future, and your organization is a leading innovator. You’ve achieved a position of dominance in your industry. How did you get here? As in, what specific decisions and actions got you to this level of success? To focus your thoughts, capture your answers to the following:

  • What new things will our business or team be selling or doing?
  • What changes will enable us to sell and do those things?
  • What skills will we need to be successful?
  • What will be different about the structure of our business?

Now, start drawing your vision of the company ten years from now, using your answers as a guide. Maybe your answers included things like “all employees work remotely” or “A.I. will have a much larger role in operations” or “we will only sell our products through a subscription model.” Whatever your vision, convey it through a mix of words and images and then share with the class.

As you look around, take note if any team members’ sketches are really similar. Ditto if everyone drew something different. Generate a discussion around the implications of having aligned or differing visions for the company. Then decide, as a group, which drawings represents the ideal version of your company’s future. Once you’ve narrowed it down to one or two drawings, identify what you can act on today to start fulfilling your vision of tomorrow.

Visualizing your company’s innovation success in the future is essential to achieving it. Use the actionable ideas from this exercise to strategize, align, and implement a ten-year plan for innovation success.