LogoVisual thinking (also LogoVisual technology and LVT) is a practical approach that helps people think. It is used by management teams, project leaders, teachers and students as a means of tapping the diversity of groups and enabling many people to participate in effective thinking processes. It makes thinking visible and tactile by making ideas into moveable objects displayed on writable surfaces – for instance magnetic dry-wipe shapes on whiteboards. Structured processes guide people’s thinking to achieve their intended outcomes.
LVT is both an overall concept and a methodology. It developed out of structural communication, systematics (the study of multi-term systems), and other work of J. G. Bennett in the 1960s, recent progress being sponsored by Centre for Management Creativity. As a general concept it includes the region of learning and communication in which three modes of intelligence are combined for understanding: verbal, visual and haptic. It is thus connected to multiple intelligence. The structure of the process supports metacognition.
LVT evolved independently but in parallel with Tony Buzan’s mind mapping, Edward de Bono’s lateral thinking, Japanese affinity diagrams, Robert Horn’s visual language, Gabriele Rico’s ‘clustering’ and many other rising trends from the 1960s onwards. It makes the making of meaning the main focus of its technology. The technology extends verbal expression to visual arrangement and brings into play physical manipulation of ‘meaning objects’. The haptic component of physical contact and action is a primary distinguishing feature of LVT.
It emphasizes the logos or meaning of words in statements that are ‘molecules of meaning’, which can be understood autonomously and in combinations. Each molecule of meaning (MM) exists on a separate object. MMs can be placed on a visual display and moved around in relation to each other. Meaningful aggregates of MMs are replaced by higher order MMs.
Use of MMs distinguishes LVT from other current techniques of display such as mindmapping because (a) MMs are statements and not single words (b) they are free to be moved about and are not fixed in position (c) they can form into any kind of pattern and not just hierarchical ones. In principle, every MM can be seen in the context of any of the other MMs in a given set.
The technological freedom of MMs enables people to suspend collapse into set forms and/or conclusions (convergent thinking), while providing structure to their explorations (divergent thinking). A complex process of thinking by a group can easily be tracked and recorded.