Thinking in Images


Most people think in words. When asked to imagine a traffic accident they come up with not very detailed descriptions, in comparison with people who are thinking in pictures. It became even worse if the words are becoming more and more abstract. Words as society, market, law, inflation etc. stay for them just words; they are unable to convert the words into images. Picture thinkers don’t have to translate, they think in pictures.


As school systems are mainly auditory-sequential oriented, it is not surprising that mainly visual-spatial thinkers will have problems at school. Usually, they encounter learning difficulties. But not only at school. Most picture thinkers don’t fit well in traditional companies and institutions. They do things in other ways than expected or “normal”, due to “weaknesses” in thinking.


Picture thinkers are also called right-brainers, as some popularisations oversimplify the science about lateralization, by presenting the functional differences between hemispheres as being more absolute than is actually the case.


We have also committed to this theoretical sloppiness with left/right brain generalisations, although, a handy mini theory to generate creative ideas as we have demonstrated in Blocking the Left Brain Functions.

As we wrote in left brain/right brain thinking, the debate regarding about what goes on in our left and right brain hemispheres seems like a never-ending story. You will find support for the idea that creative people use the right hemisphere while people who are good at organising things are using their left hemisphere. But we can also find support for the idea that creative and non-creative thinking are not two different things but are more reinforcing each other.

The idea that the brain has different specialised functions that can be used to improve memory, learning and thinking are also the part of the foundation behind mind mapping.


A Whole New Mind: Why Right-brainers Will Rule the Future, a book by Daniel H. Pink, posits that the future of global business belongs to the right-brainers. He outlines six essential senses:

  • Design – Moving beyond function to engage the sense.
  • Story – Narrative added to products and services – not just argument.
  • Symphony – Adding invention and big picture thinking (not just detail focus).
  • Empathy – Going beyond logic and engaging emotion and intuition.
  • Play – Bringing humour and light-heartedness to business and products.
  • Meaning – the purpose is the journey, give meaning to life from inside yourself.

Daniel Pink is one of an increasing number of writers on the importance of the Conceptual Economy, as a follow-up of the Information and Knowledge Age. Conceptual economy is a term describing the contribution of creativity, innovation, and design skills to economic competitiveness, especially in the global context. Other contributors to our understanding of the conceptual economy include Tom Friedman’s The World is Flat, Tom Kelley’s The Art of Innovation and The Ten Faces of Innovation, explaining the role of assets such as empathy, storytelling, individual experiences and stimulating work environments in fostering creative ideas.

The discussion about the necessity to escape from dominant linear-sequential thinking was earlier argued by Howard Gardner. He developed The Theory of Multiple Intelligences in his 1983 book Frames of Mind:


In one of our next blog posts, we will give hints and tricks together with some useful resources to become “picture smart”. An essential skill to use mind mapping to the fullest of its advantages.

Day 7 – Christmas Thinkibility Challenge

Swans can walk on earth, swim in the sea and soar in the sky. These magnificent birds are often seen as a symbol of freedom, life, grace or purity. It is magical to watch their movements as the glide on the water with their graceful long necks. And just like yang and yin there are white as well as black swans.

On the seventh day of Christmas my try love sent to me

Seven Swans a-swimming

The white swan increases speed before rise

The Festive Season is a glittering, sparkling light show. We decorate our homes and gardens and fill them with pretty things. Dealing with beauty is not only important for our soul but can also be used as a framework when designing things and decorating our homes.Yet often our search for inspiration is limited to ideas in the shop windows.

Use swans as inspiration and design some Festive decorations, gifts, gift wrapping material. . .

SWAN-L-WH-1-CJacobsen Swan Chair White




Poor Social Design – Thinkibility Nibble

According to a Dutch report, the number of people with intellectual disabilities getting paid care,  increased between 1998 and 2011 fivefold (the figures for other Western countries will not be much different)

The large increase is not because more people have a disability, but because the diagnosis is now  made more often by changing demands in society. This would be partly because more and more digital services, such as Internet banking and the smartcard, have becomm widely available. That someone has a mild intellectual disability is by that more likely to be noticed.

Zahlstation im real,-  Future Store

Read again.

The number of people with intellectual disabilities getting paid care are increasing because more and more services become digital available.

It is normally assumed that (digital) technology will make our existence  easier, yet large population groups are excluded from participation in society by using the same (digital) technology.

Instead they get paid off for their inconvenience, caused by a poor design of digital services.

Technology should be used to make things more simple. Techology that make thinks more complex is simple of a very poor design quality, even for not intelectual disabled.

T29 – Day 19


Day 19 – Design

Redesign a Sport.

Take a common sport and redesign it so that it can be played by more people.

Below are some examples:

  • A dart club called “The Optimist” used a string to help guide blind players to the bullseye.
  • Tennis clubs for visually impaired use smaller rackets, a smaller court, raised lines and auditable balls.
  • A light signal is used to set off deaf people when they are racing.


Thinkibility Day 19


T29 – Day 18

Day 18 – Design

Design something that changes behaviour.
Pick a habit or a behaviour and design something that controls that behaviour. For example, broad avenues where built Paris with the aim to better control riots and revolutionary uproars.

This design should embrace a positive approach to controlling and changing the behaviour. Also select another criteria that must be used in the design. Suggestions need to embrace ideas such as environmentally friendly, use solar power, can be used by young children. . .

Blog Post
Controlled Behaviour by Design


Thinkibility Day 18


T29 – Day 17

ddddDay 17-20 – Design

Design thinking can be defined as the “transformation of existing conditions into preferred ones” (Herbert Simon, Sciences of the Artificial”). So in a way design thinking deals with improving something to make sure that our future is improved. This approach to thinking helps use redefine what an object is.

Blog Posts

Design Thinking – Organic Forms

Out of the Tank

The New Currency is Time

Physical Ticket Machine

Design Thinking. . . What is that?


Day 17

Design something completely new!

Does is sound tricky, well, it is not really that difficult.

Take a subject, and set yourself the task: Are there alternative ways to perform the function? Can it be improved?

Some suggestions for subjects:

  • Pick something in your kitchen such as the fridge, water tap, water kettle or washing machine. Something that functions excellently. Then improve it, design a better one.
  • Choose a transportation vehicle on your way to work – bicycle, car, train. Design a better one – faster, more comfortable, easier to use. . .
  • Choose something that annoys or irritates you, and design something that functions better. Computers and smart phones will do a good job here. But also problems at home for example, your neighbour has a private parking place on his land next to his house, but uses it as a basketball court, and parks his car instead in the street in front of your door; you don’t have a private parking, so you have to park your car in the street. But now the place is occupied by your neighbour’s car. Or maybe you have a trailer parked opposite your home in your street, but drunk pub-goers throw it in the creek next to the street. It happens all the time, whatever you do to prevent it – a new lock, making it heavier. . . so design a better solution.

If you have problems to decide on what item to do some design thinking, take an object from a random object generator. Take one object and stick to it till you can proudly announce your new invention.


Thinkiblity Day 17


Out of the Tank

I found some interesting designs that challenge our thinking. It is easy to hold a distinct view on how certain things should look, what the purpose it, who the item should be designed for. . . It is useful to give the creative muscles a workout by exploring underlying concepts in designs. What common rule has the designer tried to break free from.

Today, the importance of creativity is highlighted but many organizations provide few opportunities for people to explore new ideas and to train to become more creative. Somehow the great innovative ideas should just appear on demand. This is a great misconception and in order to get ideas that stand out, it is crucial to learn to twist ideas around and to see possibilities with new angles.

Ponder over these questions while you look at these pictures.

  • Define the main characteristics of a vase?
  • What is the main purpose of a vase?
  • What is the purpose of a fish tank?
  • Who is a fish tank for?
  • What is a carpet?
  • When does a carpet stop being a carpet?
  • What is the core idea of a t-shirt?
  • Does the humble t-shirt becomes more interesting when thousands of laser-cut polygons are used to create a t-shirt?

The vertical vase and the fish tank are designed by Sébastien Cordoleani.





Disposable Carpets from We Make Carpets.



The T-shirt Issue