Monday, February 24, 2014

3 Ways the Brain Creates Meaning

It's no surprise that visualization can help to make complex ideas easier to understand, but science is just beginning to understand the reason for this. As discussed in a TED Talk by Tom Wujec, vision actually plays a critical role in understanding meaning: The way people interact with images affects their subjective evaluation of the concepts they portray. 

After your eyes take in images, signals are relayed to as many as 30 areas of the brain. Among these areas are the ventral stream, which recognizes and classifies objects, and the limbic system, which is responsible for emotional responses. Images that are interactive trigger engagement from the brain and stimulate deeper thought. This is why visualization is such an important element of crowdsourcing decision making, and why it enables people to make smarter and faster decisions about data. 

Rather than seeing the world directly, the brain gathers information and sorts it into models, similar to what modeling software might do with data. These models are then used to provide the brain with information about the topic. Ultimately, the brain creates meaning in three ways: 
  • Interacting with a visual to create engagement.
  • Using images to clarify ideas. 
  • Augmenting memory with mental persistence. 
Together, these three actions are what make images so powerful to learning and remembering information. 

Because the human brain is heavily geared toward visual data, many of our critical thought processes are tied to images. This is why graphs, charts and other images provide a faster way to analyze data, and it's also why images are so effective at tapping into a group's collective intelligence. By putting key concepts into images, you can help get everyone involved on the same page and gain access into a group's tacit knowledge on the subject. 

When it comes to crowdsourcing decision making, using visualization technology is a smarter method of tapping into a team's collective intelligence. By gathering data and displaying it in a visual medium, you'll have easier access to the tacit knowledge of your staff. Your brain's natural inclination toward engaging with visual data makes subjective evaluation of information much faster and more efficient. 

By using images, you can engage with data much more effectively and come to a decision far more quickly than if you were dealing in more intangible data. A solution such as Ranktab can tap into the 3 ways your brain creates meaning to help you understand the information you need to assess.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Improving meetings with visualization SaaS

In any small or medium-sized business, problems will arise that must be solved. Although the final decision always lies with the business owner, coming up with creative solutions is a task that is usually shared among a company's valued employees. 

Tapping into the tacit knowledge of your employees is a valuable part of making business decisions. By crowdsourcing decision making, you can tap into the collective knowledge of your staff and arrive at a wider variety of creative solutions than would ever be possible alone. However, tapping into this collective intelligence can be a challenge. In order to help your meetings accomplish their objectives faster, you need to tap into a smarter method of gathering and evaluating ideas. 

Scientific evidence supports visualization software

A recent scientific study conducted by The Institute of Marketing and Communication Management at the University of Lugano sought to identify the best methods for crowdsourcing decision making. The study provided two groups with the task of identifying problems and arriving at solutions. One group used visualization software while the other utilized hand-drawn charts. 

The study found that the group that used visualization software was significantly more efficient. Not only did these participants arrive at solutions faster, they also generated more ideas and retained more knowledge than those using hand-drawn charts. The software-using group was better able to apply subjective evaluation to the ideas generated and recorded in this manner. 

You can apply these same principles to your own business when tapping into the tacit knowledge of your employees. At your next meeting, consider using visualization software to help your team gather and present their ideas more clearly. Not only will this make the process faster, it's also a smarter and more efficient way to gather information. 

One software that can aid in tapping into your team's collective intelligence is Ranktab, which allows you to gather and assess information and ideas in a visual manner. The visual interface makes subjective evaluation simple: Rather than needing to discuss each idea or suggestion at length, you can tell at a glance which ideas are most effective or have the greatest support from your staff.