Why Visualization Tools are a Logical Next Step for Innovators

Innovation is everywhere, and for many businesses being able to innovate fast is a non-negotiable requirement. Why is it then that so much innovation continues to stall with using outdated technology? The best way for people to understand new ideas is through a visual medium, and because of this it only makes sense for businesses and innovators to begin adopting visualization tools.

In this article, we will discuss why visual collaboration is so important to innovation and we’ll reveal the best tool to implement new innovation strategies.

Why Innovation requires Visualization

Innovation is a process that looks unique for everyone and inherently will have vastly different endpoints. How you get there, however, can always evolve into something more efficient and effective. When understanding how innovation can evolve, it’s important to also understand why visualization is so important to innovators

Visual Learning is Incredibly Efficient

People are inherently visual learners, and visualizing information is known to be the best way to understand and retain knowledge. This means that when people are trying to formulate new ideas and find ways to innovate, using visual aids will help streamline this process.

When presented with visual formatting, people can comprehend large amounts of new information, making their ability to understand and synthesize new ideas much easier. This means that when proposing new ideas, you can brainstorm more options and don’t have to worry about people’s comprehension of them.

If you think about how people understand concepts and ideas when described with words, they use those words to create a mental image of the idea. When described with visual elements, however, they can jump straight to an understanding of how the idea looks and connects to other existing concepts. This is a massive jump in people’s understanding of concepts and cannot be overlooked when it comes to how important this is for rapid innovation.

Now that we’ve established that people are inherently visual learners, let’s go over why visualization is so important to innovation

Why Innovation requires Visualization

Innovation is critical for any company to create new ideas and continue to grow, but as businesses reach a certain size innovation becomes more and more difficult. There are so many moving pieces that need to be accounted for that innovating a new idea or thought process might be too difficult to prioritize.

This is the stage that many businesses find themselves in, where instead of continuing to grow new ideas they become a de-risking and implementation machine. Not to say that this is a bad thing necessarily, but it does make innovation much more difficult.

Not only does this business model make innovation difficult, but it also means people aren’t used to innovating their workflow and the business as a whole becomes very poor at innovating new ideas. There is no formal innovation process that businesses can rely on to formulate new ideas and therefore there is no incentive to do so.

What these businesses need is a platform where they can build consensus on new ideas and discuss them within their existing business model. This is where Ideascale comes in.

Ideascale provides a forum for businesses to increase the velocity of their ideas and embrace their failure by doing so. This is what it takes to begin the innovation process and formulate good ideas, and without a shared creative forum like Ideascale companies usually have a very hard time accomplishing this.

Big companies have trouble taking the chaos of innovation and making sense out of it, it just doesn’t fit with the way they run things. This is why having an ideation platform is so necessary. Ideascale helps build the volume of experiments and feedback that companies need- this is the engagement and analysis side of innovation.

There is one more side, however, that is increasingly important when establishing new ideas. The third prong of innovation is visualization. Taking ideas and beginning to flesh them out. Using visual aids to increase the velocity of brainstorming even further. Visualization is extremely important to innovation and here’s why: It takes the core of the innovative process and both speeds it up and breaks it down. Let me explain.

Like we mentioned earlier, people are visual learners. They understand information best when it’s displayed in a visual format and in a way that they can comprehend. This means that new ideas can be picked up much quicker when displayed visually and there’s overall less explanation needed, hence increasing the pace of innovation.

Visual learning doesn’t just speed up the pace at which people grasp concepts however, it also makes things much easier for people to comprehend. Visual aids highlight the basic tenets of any new idea directly to you, removing any middle ground for misunderstanding. When people view a new idea rather than read about it, they are likely to have a much deeper understanding of what it is and how it operates than if they read about it on paper.

A third reason why visualization is so important to the innovation process is that it promotes creativity within everyone. Just like people are visual learners, they are also able to express their thoughts and creativity much more effectively by using visual elements. This is why you see people explaining complex ideas with hand gestures or a quick diagram.

Even something as simple as a small diagram helps people understand the connectivity and scope of an idea more than a written description ever can. This is proof that people using visualization tools will be able to flesh out more complex and detailed ideas than would ever be possible over a written medium. In order to drive creativity, you need to promote visual brainstorming.

How Online Whiteboards Impact Innovation

Now that we’ve developed an understanding of why visualization tools are so necessary to innovation, let’s discuss the pinnacle of online brainstorming: online whiteboards. Online whiteboards are the key to unlocking the possibilities of visualised innovation and provide the capabilities for teams to connect from anywhere and create new ideas. Here are some of the reasons online whiteboards provide such great innovative upside.

Uncompromising Collaboration

Online whiteboards have the capability to conduct virtual workshops, structured collaboration sessions, or unrestricted brainstorming activities. All of these sessions could contain innovation forums and give people the opportunity to express their ideas on a unique shared space.

The core of the various activities online whiteboards enable teams to engage in is the ability to collaborate. Collaboration is obviously harder in person than it is online, and being able to bring multiple people together on a shared interface is extremely helpful when innovating.

Innovation, like many other things, is much more effective when people put their brains together. By working off each other and collaborating visually, everyone can understand the direction of the team much better and innovate new ideas on the fly. This ability to communicate in real-time, both visually and verbally, means innovation becomes much more efficient when teams collaborate through online whiteboards.

Constant Accessibility

One of the best perks of using online whiteboards is they are cemented in digital permanence and accessible at any time from anywhere. This is beneficial in two very important ways.

Firstly, being able to access your innovation board from anywhere means you can include experts and outside parties in an innovation session that would previously be unavailable. This expands the network of ideas that can be contributed to a given concept and means your ideas can be better informed.

Secondly, and more importantly, having a permanent record of your innovation board means you can access it at any time and add ideas when you have a sudden burst of inspiration. I think we would all agree that the best ideas are rarely dreamt up while sitting at your work desk. The most inspiring ideas are the ones that strike you and get written on your hand or a cocktail napkin. This is the principle that you need to be able to create innovative ideas whenever the time strikes.

Having your board at your fingertip means you never have to write your idea on your hand again, you can simply add it to the board and share it with your team immediately.

Can Take Ideas Full Circle

Something that many businesses struggle with when it comes to innovation is taking a good idea, implementing it, and seeing it through to completion. This is one of the perks of using an online whiteboard.

On online whiteboards, you’re able to create ideas, give them structure, test out their feasibility on a journey map, analyze their pros and cons, and even task out responsibility to set the task in motion. You can accomplish all of these things on the same tool and see an idea all the way through to completion.

Even if the idea isn’t fully realized on your board, you’re still able to use the steps that were taken and trackback, begin ideating again, and follow the process forward to start over again.

The ability to see ideas through to completion all within the same tool is super helpful for innovators and adds a sense of realism to the innovative process that is especially grounding.


Innovation is always a field that looks to push itself to the cutting edge of technology, and the next step is implementing online whiteboards to help visualize ideas and concepts. If you enjoyed this article make sure you check out Fresco to learn more about how online whiteboards can stimulate innovation for teams everywhere.

You can read this blog and others on IdeaScale.com



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IdeaScale is the leading innovation management software platform for the enterprise, government, and education. Gather ideas, implement them. www.ideascale.com