However cheesy the old cliché of ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ may be, there is no getting away from the fact that complex processes can best be described with just a single diagram, or that a single sketch can be far more persuasive than a one page ‘essay’.
Whether an individual is left or right brain orientated, a diagram invariably becomes a tool for thought. To quote Publilius Syrus – ‘The eyes are not responsible when the mind does the seeing’.
Think of an instruction manual that has text as well as an accompanying diagram compared to just text, and how much easier it is to follow the instructions with a diagram to assist.
In our current complex world, diagrams in whatever form are great simplification tools, and should therefore be considered as tools to aid our thinking rather than a means to explore our thought processes.
There are a number of effects a diagram can have namely:
- 1. It grabs people’s attention straight away,
- 2. It causes people to start their own thinking,
- 3. It helps people to tell a story,
- 4. We then learn much faster.
Diagrams are essentially a common universal language that will bridge gaps between people that would normally be considered impassable.
The easiest of these being the Input / Output (IO) diagrams. This allows us to consider a business process in its entirety by taking some initial inputs and through specific activities carried out, useful and appropriate outputs are created.
The most important thing to remember is that diagrams are tools for thought and not a work of art. They are a means of communication irrespective of the person’s language and any diagram automatically gets us thinking, “what is this diagram trying to tell me?”.
Allow your inner child to come out and start drawing pictures!!