Find us on Google+

Nov 11, 2015

Why people believe they can’t draw - and how to prove they can

Why is it that so many people think they can’t draw? Where did we learn to believe that? Graham Shaw will shatter this illusion – quite literally - in a very practical way. He’ll demonstrate how the simple act of drawing has the power to make a positive difference in the world.

Graham specialises in the art of communication and has helped thousands of people to make important presentations. He is perhaps best known for his use of fast cartoon drawings to communicate ideas and is the author of ‘The Art of Business Communication’.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Sep 14, 2015

Video: a fascinating history of visualizations

A few weeks ago my good friend and Visual Thinking fellow Walter Maes pointed out to me an interesting video: A Visual History of Human Knowledge. The image above is the sketchnote I took  while watching the video.

In this fascinating TED presentation, Data  expert and founder of Manuel Lima explores the thousand-year history of visualising information and explains the increasing shift away from using tree metaphore to networks of information.

Aug 12, 2015

Rediscovering the Webbing Technique

You may have heard about a visual thinking technique called "Webbing", also called "Clustering". 
This technique is not derived from Mind Mapping. The first uses of the Webbing technique bring us back to the 18th century in Europe. As shown in the image below about mythology dating from 1741. 

This technique involves entering key words or short phrases in bubbles. They are connected to one another around a center, which is the main subject.
No, or very few, colors or images. The tool is simple, it helps to organize ideas in a visual way and to get a synthetic map
The first publication explaining how to use this technique, "Writing the natural way" was written by Dr. Gabriele Rico, a professor of English and Creative Arts during the eighties. Focusing on creativity, split-brain research, and the writing process, she developed clustering in her doctoral dissertation at Stanford University in 1976. 
A tool used recently for culinary innovation
More recently, in Spain, "El Bulli", one of the world most famous restaurants, has implemented the Webbing technique.  For several years, the chef Ferran Adriá and product designer Luki Hubber encouraged the use of Webbing. A large amount of Web Maps were created  to explore new recipes, flavors... in a collaborative way.  The technique was part of the innovation process of the restaurant.    
The result of these experiment is a new  methodology called "Manual Thinking", where the bubbles are materialized by removable labels we can place on a foldable blank map.  Manual Thinking allows all members of a team to be at work at once, writing and drawing their ideas and opinions on these labels. The maps offer a large support to organize the labels and visualize the content in its context.  
Here are below a Web map I built using this method:
Click on image to enlarge
 The Webbing technique is intuitive and less restrictive than mind mapping but also poorer in its visual rendering.
It is used by the largest number in multiple situations: brainstorming, note taking, meeting, team work, learning ...

We can also discover the use of Web maps with the famous Canadian sommelier François Chartier in his book "Taste Buds and Molecules" , as shown in the Web map below.

This is a simple way to represent the ideas in a non-linear and divergent manner. In  my opinion, the Webbing technique represents also a useful step to then access to more complex tools such as Mind Mapping or Concept Mapping. For these reasons we make us of the Webbing Technique during the first part of our Visual Mapping workshops in Paris and Madrid.

Jul 14, 2015

When Diagramming meets Pop Songs

One the most important skills in Visual Thinkins is the ability to understand and to reveal the underlying structure of the content. In the fantastic video above, created using Lucidchart, a powerful diagramming application with collaborative features, we can witness how it is possible to turn a song into a beautiful lyrical flowchart. 


The company behind Lucidchart is currently launching a competition: the Songtacular Flowdown

Basically, it’s a competition between lyrical flowcharts of popular songs from the 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s, and 2010’s. Each week, four new videos of lyrical flowcharts will face-off head-to head.

You can vote on eight popular songs and also win a $500 Amazon gift card if you predict the final winner. The Flowdown will run for 5 weeks, up until August 14th.

With this competition, Lucidchart is brilliantly connecting Music, Gamification and Visual Thinking, making diagrams fun and interesting!

Apr 6, 2015

New Book: Introduction to the Applications of Mind Mapping in Medicine

I recently finished to read this book, written by José M. Guerrero and Pilar Ramos. Pilar is Graduate in Nursing at Hospital Clinic de Barcelona. José is CEO of Infoseg, a Software development Consulting Business specialized in Mind Mapping Automation. 

One of the key points of this book is his really serious research on the scientific bases of Mind Mapping. Various Studies and Papers are mentionned and explained. In the same time, various Myths about the Brain are criticized. 

Reading this book, I was able to understand more clearly the contribution of mind mapping automation in Medicine. Among the different applications in Medicine, we can discover various examples: Personal Health Record, Patient Visits, Clinical Trials… From another hand, I was amazed by the exploration of the Future of Mind Mapping Software: Voice Recognition, Big Data Visualization and even Brain-computer Interface! 

One of the most interesting chapters of the book is the one about the History of Mind Mapping from Porphyry of Tyr to Tony Buzan. It shows the contribution of Middle Age's Trees of Knowledge and Codex but also the contribution of Concept Mapping. 
I summarized the key points of this book in the mindmap below. 

click on the image to enlarge
In conclusion, this book is interesting and useful. It helps us to understand the scientific bases of Mind Mapping, the History of this technique and some profesional Applications in Medicine such as Personal Health Record, Patient Visits, etc...

Link to Introduction to the Applications of Mind Mapping in Medicine on Amazon.

Mar 5, 2015

A quick exercise for stretching your visual thinking muscles

I came across this very useful exercise shared by Visual Thinking Expert Dave Gray, one the most important Visual Thinker and Writer. Check out this short video presentation and read the explanation below.

"Squiggle birds is a quick exercise that you can use to get people stretching their visual thinking muscles. It takes about five minutes and quickly, clearly demonstrates how little effort is really required to make meaningful, easy-to-read images. The main point of the demonstration is that our minds are already pattern-making machines, and very little drawing is actually required to convey an idea. The mind will fill in the rest."