Working Visually to Simplify Complexity

Subscribe to Working Visually on LinkedIn to get the newest monthly edition delivered straight to your inbox!

Complexity is, by definition, hard to simplify. Especially when typical business communication methods often rely heavily on dense text and stock visuals.

Picture this: you develop an innovative, game-changing approach to solving a crucial challenge for your organization. As you put it in writing, the page count increases as you strive to provide enough context to communicate your idea. You kick off your pitch to leadership or your team with a preemptive apology: “I know this seems like a lot of information, but I promise it’ll come together by the end.”

We’ve all been there; if you haven’t yet, it’s likely to happen in the future. Why? Because game-changing ideas are difficult to distill. Our mission at Throughline is to change that narrative and lead with visualization first. We change the game by showing audiences how a new idea will deliver impact instead of just telling them. Attention spans and interest are piqued as you gain the opportunity to delve into why your message matters. Visual storytelling enables us to simplify the complex.

“A great story triggers the subtle emotional centers of our brains so we can care enough to keep going. Novelty triggers surprise, delight, fascination. Tension triggers anxiety, curiosity, cravings. Relatability triggers empathy, nostalgia, happiness.
And when you weave those things in combination, you can string together a longer attention span." (Forbes and Dr. Paul Zak)

Simplifying Organizational Complexity

Coordination and alignment are common challenges clients bring to us. Leaders seek to effectively communicate strategic decisions to diverse audiences with varying needs. To address these challenges for the U.S. Navy, we created LOGCELL to solve mission-critical supply chain problems and enable logistics experts to collaborate with IT tools in a war room-like environment. We designed physical spaces dedicated to heightened communication, collaboration and problem-solving with data access and security implications. In this case, our working visually methodology included everything from interior design and accessibility to templates and frameworks that drive information gathering and collaboration.

Simplifying Product and Service Complexity

Our clients also seek our expertise to help communicate the value proposition of their unique products and services. How does an enterprise pitch their innovative idea in a way that resonates with potential customers? These pitches or marketing materials need to cut through the clutter and grab attention, impart key information and spur action in as little time as possible. Recently, our Deloitte client came to us to help communicate their unique CortexAI™ for Government platform in a simple way for public agencies to understand how AI can impact their organization. We worked with them to build an interactive ecosystem on our NimbleStory software to visually communicate CfG's value at a high level for all public sector executives and decision makers. In this case, working visually meant finding the value and articulating the story of a new product to a diverse audience in a memorable, informative way.

No alt text provided for this image
The interactive map allows audiences to explore the new idea themselves while also empowering leaders to tailor their briefings in the moment, clicking into and out of detail as needed.

How Can You Simplify the Complex?

Bringing in a team of researchers, UI/UX experts, designers and strategists isn’t always an option—although we love a good challenge so always reach out! If you’re grappling with an innovative idea that needs communicating today, you can strengthen the impact of your story by answering the foundational questions below:

  • What action are you looking for your audience to take after hearing this information? Are you requesting additional funding, resources, time, vocal advocacy? The actions can help identify which information you want to call out in visual format (trend charts, YOY comparisons, network connections to help drive information sharing) to maximize impact.
  • How do you want your audience to feel after learning your story? Motivated, enlightened, empathetic, supported? Narrowing this down can help you simplify your message and use wording and imagery that align with your intended outcome.
  • What will this idea mean for them? Make it personal. Will this impact their daily work? Improve their user experience? Relatability is key in making a new idea stick.

At Throughline, we’re always hungry to tackle the next complex challenge and communicate solutions in new, effective ways that spark creativity. Got some challenges lying around? Reach out! We’re excited to dive in with you.

'Til next time,

Myrthe Doedens

Senior Content Strategist