One Squiggly Line Blog

Hand-drawn pictures can make things clear, simple, and fun in blogs, too!

Creativity & Visual Thinking: Go for Quantity!

Creativity demands quantity. Creativity comes from being exposed to a lot of different stimuli. It comes from having a lot of different experiences. It’s being able to draw from each of these experiences, and the unique reservoir associated with it. When we have a lot of different experiences, we can continue to build upon new and old ideas with the wisdom we’ve gained.


In order to come up with a great idea, we need to have large quantity of ideas to pick and choose from, and experiment with. It’s easy to pick the first ideas that come to our mind, and it’s oftentimes the case that we stop after the first few ideas and fail to go further. 


We need to open our minds to more ideas. We can’t stop at our first ideas. Our first ideas are typically generic, and already thought of before. The more ideas we come up with, and the more we suspend our judgement, the more novel our ideas are. We must stretch our minds to think further, and to suspend any judgement. 


This is particularly helpful with brainstorming - of trying to come up with a good idea, whether for a work project or a personal project. 


The creative mind is the mind that doesn’t stop at the first idea.

Visual thinking is a simple way to increase the amount of knowledge that sticks in your brain. And the more knowledge you have, the more building block you have to create with.

Contact me to bring the power of visuals to your next meeting, events, or project.

Visual Thinking: Get it! Grab it! Go for it!


While visual thinking makes things simple, it certainly does not dumb them down. Part of the simplicity comes from removing unnecessary parts, leaving behind only what you need to work with. That allows you to really see exactly what it is you do have to work with. This often leads to that, "Oh, now I get it!" moment when everything finally seems to fall into place and make sense.

Once you can see things more clearly, you are able to make better decisions. Sometimes, things become so obvious it doesn't even really feel like you're making a decision at all. The right choice just jumps right at you. Or if you do need to think about it for a minute, it's much easier for you to grab it and run with it.

Check out One Squiggly Line's About Visual Thinking page to learn more.

Visual Thinking & Meetings: Why ARE We Here?


Why bother to have a meeting if nobody knows why they're there? And they're still wondering what that meeting was all about after they left? Sometimes, all it takes is a simple visual to make things crystal clear. Visuals can remind those in charge to state the objectives and make sure everyone understands them before work begins. Visuals can also remind people to ask questions when things aren't so clear. And if someone's mind wanders, just looking at that visual will bring them right back into your content.


Visual Thinking: Tracking Progress


Setting goals is one thing. Reaching them is quite another!

You're much more likely to reach your goals when you track your progress. Doing that visually helps you see the big picture at a glance. It also keeps your goals in the front of your mind so you're less likely to forget about them.

That's what performance dashboards are for. They're like the dashboard in your car in the way you can see at a glance how things are going. But they're for tracking progress towards your goal, instead.

Here's a performance dashboard I created to help me track how often I stretch throughout the day. All I have to do is put a dot by the time of day when I stretched. At a glance, I can see if I've been remembering to stretch or not.

A performance dashboard like this is super simple, yet so much more specific than just saying, "I need to be sure to stretch throughout the day."

Creativity: Unfinished work


Here's a sketch I did in high school. I never finished it and I have no plans to. But I hold onto it because I like it. And I had fun doing it. And I learned a lot from it. So, it really doesn't bother me that poor girl still doesn't have a foot!

When it comes to creativity, there is no rule that says you have to finish everything you start. Just be sure to hold on to those unfinished projects, though. A quick glance at one may be all it takes to get your creative juices flowing again when you get stuck.

Visual Templates: Visual evaluation and group consensus


Most people think coming up with ideas is what creativity is all about, but evaluating them is just as important. And it's equally important evaluation waits until you're trying to decide which one of your many ideas to use. If that final decision is made in a group, consensus can be hard to reach.

A simple visual like this one can make the whole process much more simple, enjoyable, and engaging. Everyone can see at a glance how bright the group as a whole thinks that idea really is.

Goals: Now and Later


It helps to figure out where you are before you decide where you want to be. For my goal of blogging and tweeting everyday, I've noted how many blog posts and tweets I have today and what the total number of each will be when I reach my goal. That way, it's much easier to keep the end number in mind. Creating a visual like this with those numbers side by side makes it much more likely I'll actually look at at remember those numbers.

Just do it!


I get to listen to lots of talks, conversations, and presentations when graphic recording. And no matter the topic, industry, or people involved, one word almost always joins the conversation. That word is the biggest challenge individuals and huge corporations alike face when it comes to reaching both short and long-term goals. It's also the not-so-secret sauce of highly successful, productive, and prolific folks.

The word? Implementation. Ideas are great, and plans are great. But you won't get very far unless you actually do something with them. Visuals make it much easier for you to see what you need to do and track your progress. They also help keep the big picture in mind - your end goal as well as the steps needed to get there.