These 6 Roadblocks Require a Visual Solution

In the pursuit of any personal resolution, or organizational goal, you are bound to run into obstacles at some point or another. Like a freight train interrupting your morning commute, project roadblocks can at best, dampen your mood, and at worst keep you from where you’re going on time.

ImageThink has met a wide variety of client organizational roadblocks head on – and seen our way past each with a visual solution. Whether you’ve come across these in your field, or expect to face challenges like these in 2023, know that we’re here to help you chart a path forward.

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1. “Who are we talking to?”

Clients come to us with a variety of challenges: slowing sales, customer attrition, launching a new business unit, new product development, or organizational transformation. In most of these cases, the solution boils down to helping the client talk to who they’re talking to. When organizations are unsure of who their target audience or user is, they end up with a muddled message, unclear to everyone, helpful to no one.

Whether you’re looking to understand your external stakeholders or target audience better, or need to uncover your company’s strategic differentiators, a visual approach is a great option to have. Our work with CurePSP illustrates that to understand, we first must listen, and then see. As the old adage goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Visuals are the perfect medium for capturing how your audience feels, allowing you to talk less, but say more, and better.  

2. “We need bigger ideas.”

With an ever-growing demand from consumers, and roughly 30,000 products launched each year, many organizations feel the pressure to come up with the next big thing. As such, creative thinking is a highly sought-after trait of many new hires and is a requirement of teams within any organization. Clients often partner with ImageThink to generate new ideas and break the mold of traditional thinking,  

Visuals are an invaluable tool – working new and different areas of your brain to unleash full creative potential. Seeing images and drawing while brainstorming or problem-solving allows ideas to flow more quickly, in greater quantity, with more immediate clarity. And, you needn’t know how to draw – stick figures, post-its, and visual templates like mind-mapping will do wonders for your session.  

If your roadblock involves generating new ideas, try adding visuals to your next brainstorming or problem-solving session.

3. “What are we doing here?”

As people leave, or join an organization, it’s important to continually evaluate culture. Company culture is crucial for defining the organization’s identity, attracting top talent, and improving employee performance. Alignment and engagement around core values plays a key part.  

Want employees to feel aligned an engaged around core values? Make those values tangible, resonant, and memorable. When ImageThink facilitates, we leverage storytelling, inviting individuals to share a moment when they or a colleague embodied a value, and the impact it had. These stories always lead to some of our strongest imagery, which in turn locks the behavior, and the associate value, in the collective consciousness.

4. “Who’s doing what?”

Department disconnect and miscommunication can hobble even the strongest organizations – no one knows who’s doing what, who owns what, and what they should be doing in general. Improving internal communications, workflows, and collaboration are universal and perennial goals for companies of all sizes.

ImageThink designs and facilitates sessions that help our clients walk through an illustrated “day-in-the-life.” Here, teams see a project from its initial phase through its completion, including snippets of department handoffs and individual ownership, through the eyes of key stakeholders.

A "Day-in-the-life" creative exercise for breaking down internal communication roadblocks.

5. “Where are we going?”

A recent change in leadership, pivot on strategy, or influx of new hires (or departures) can all signal a larger issue – stakeholders are not aligned on the strategic vision for the company. To succeed, teams need a North Star, and a clear, shared understanding of key business drivers and values. 

ImageThink guides teams in need of a North Star through creative exercises meant to uncover shared goals and establish a vision. In ImageThink’s “Future headline” exercise, we allow teams to consider their ideal future state and summarize that image in one clear headline. A follow-up activity identifies action items that will help them get there. 

6. “How do we move from A to B?”

What about organizations that have identified and aligned on annual or quarterly goals? Now the challenge is “how?” Without a plan of action in place, most goals are doomed from the start. With detailed planning, however, your ability to achieve your goals increases by 64%.

Strategic planning sessions with ImageThink provide ways for teams to chart the path forward, identify tactics, and define metrics for success. With creative exercises like our “Stop, start, continue” activity, we guide teams to consider what efforts they are currently doing that will help them reach their goal, what efforts aren’t, and what they might start to inch them further along. The best perk, however, of having a visual strategist in the room, is seeing the next steps, showing you how to begin the journey ahead.

Illustrated ImageThink journey maps are perfect for charting next steps, identifying roadblocks, and keeping the end goal top-of-mind.

As a final thought…

No strategic plan is complete without considering what hurdles may lie ahead. When ImageThink facilitates strategic planning sessions, we provide organizations with visual tools to predict future challenges, and ways to go over, around, or through hurdles as they appear on the track. By thinking and working visually, teams and organizations are given the opportunity to work proactively, and embark in successful endeavors.

2023 will have its obstacles, so if you find yourself faced with one of these, or any other issue unique to your organization, ImageThink can help you see the way through. Give us a call when you’re ready.

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