OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Adding Visual Goodness to Your Ideas

Photo of OpenIDEO

Written by

Sketch for the Mobile Entrepreneurship Camp idea from our Social Business Challenge
Here at OpenIDEO, we think that visualising your ideas is a significant step in engaging others to appreciate the goodness on all your switched-on thinking and get onboard to collaborate as you develop it further. Visualising can take many forms and may be used at various stages in the developing your ideas – from a quick sketch as you start out to a diagram, video or prototype as you flesh things out more. It also helps you to move from thinking to doing – which can add a fresh dimension to your idea to help it flourish. Here's some tips on using various kinds of visuals to tell the story of your idea with higher impact.
You don't need to be the world's best artist to jump in and sketch something for your idea. Any kind of sketch helps grab attention and gives a sense that there's a human being behind your idea. And in fact the process of sketching opens up a different part of your brain that stimulates your creative thinking. Check out more on Sketching: The Visual Thinking Powertool.
Diagram for the Glassdoor concept from our Connecting Communities Challenge
Often when you're really close to an idea, you start to lose sight of how hard it is for others to figure out how various elements fit together. Creating a diagram can help you clarify complexity and let the awesomeness of your idea really shine. A diagram can be anything from a sketch through to something more polished – it's all about showing how components connect, user journeys and more. And, as always on OpenIDEO, you don't need to go it alone. The example above was actually a collaboration between two people in our community. Who could you join forces with to help add visual goodness to your idea?

Video from the Decode the Codes idea on our Vibrant Cities Challenge
Making a video is a really great way to explain your idea. It's been one of the most successful aspects of getting thousands of ideas crowdfunded on Kickstarter, where it's a required part of submitting an idea. Here at OpenIDEO we don't make it compulsory – but we highly recommend it. Again, it pushes you think creatively about your idea plus telling a story helps get your thoughts in order and has the power to capture attention in a way that written text can't. It's not as hard as you think. You'd be amazed what you can even achieve with a bit of planning and a smartphone! Although their aims are a bit different to ours, you can find some handy tips on making videos from Kickstarter and Indiegogo plus there's heaps of other pointers to be found online plus advice about making storyboards when planning your project. There's even sites like Pow Toon that help you easily put together animated videos to explain your OpenIDEO idea. And you don't need to create a video before you post an idea – it may be something you do at anytime during the Ideas and Refinement phases.
Check out some more examples of videos made by OpenIDEO collaborators:
People's Radio from our Atrocity Prevention Challenge
Opencity from our Vibrant Cities Challenge
Mother Mati from our Maternal Health & Mobile Technology Challenge

Prototyping for the Different Generations, Shared Humanity games on our Healthy Ageing Challenge
We're big fans of trying things out at OpenIDEO. Visualisaing is often a key part of this process as it begins to transform an idea into something more tangible. Are you proposing a website, mobile app or some kind of interactive tool? Why not take things to the next level? Have a go at mocking it up and get it in front of our community and potential users. This allows you to test your assumptions about their reception and behaviour then iterate your idea based on what you find out. It also allows others to give you more focused feedback – and that's a core part of collaboration, right? Here's a bunch of practical tips and worksheets to plan awesome prototypes.

If your idea is digital in nature, check out more tips: Design Better And Faster With Rapid Prototyping and also Paper Prototyping. While there's loads of tools available to help you refine your prototypes digitally, we think sketching is a good starting point before you pursue the pixels. And we'd always encourage you to engage some potential end users in your prototyping so that you're not visualising in a vacuum.
Whether you go in for something simple or more involved – we hope   you'll get your visual game on in some way during our journey to  design better, together.
20k 16
OpenIDEO Tips & Tricks


Join the conversation:

Photo of Muhammad Ali

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info. Marcel Sanders

View all comments