2. Weaving with hybrid literacy


Digital Visual Literacy (DVL), refers to expanding the use of visual thinking and the power of visualization in communication and problem solving — in short — the use of pictures and imagery. Thus, in a world often dominated by words, the most rudimentary levels of DVL are already demonstrated by anyone using a computer-based mobil device. The form and degree of DVL varies for every person, team, and organization.

Almost all of us realize that humans think most effectively in both pictures AND words—as well as sensations. We also know that most of our thinking is guided by deeply engrained habit, culture, and conformity. We rarely stop to ask ourselves: “Hey, how am I thinking right now? Might I be better off thinking in a different way?” In other words, our moment-by-moment thought process is fairly automatic!

The mindset of DVL offers a step back — and a leap forward — into an expansion of possibilities far beyond what’s automatic and conditioned. In a matter of hours — not months or years — DVL’s frameworks, tools, and practices, can offer greater leverage and effectiveness, thus demonstrable results. DVL’s almost instant meshing of skills and software capability can empower people to use words, pictures and sensations in ways that leaves conventional techniques and approaches in the rear view mirror.

The leverage DVL offers is twofold: 1) the visual resources of the digital galaxy; 2) the development of more visual, whole and complete thinking, which enables better communication, problem solving and creative expression. This leverage can be applied to in any situation, throughout life and especially in business.

Most simply put: DVL is the practice of accessing, creating, using and exploiting visual images with the tools of digital technology: computers, smartphones, tablets and surfaces, software, the Internet, etc. In key search terms, DVL is the umbrella approach to: digital visual communication, online drawing, online whiteboards, drawing to explain, etc.

Like other forms of literacy, DVL involves a mindset, a language, a set of practices and skills, and needed interaction with others to practice these skills, in order to become fluent, agile and successful. This blog explores how DVL can be cultivated and leveraged as a powerful hybrid literacy in mainstream business.

Mainstream business seems to be taking its time adopting the techniques and tools we’ll be discussing, but in thousand of classrooms around the world, remote education has been evolving more rapidly. There, tens of thousands of teachers have been embracing DVL fully and creatively, utilizing an entire commercial array of innovative and fully operational products that support this emerging hybrid form of literacy. More rapid adoption of this technology by business is exactly what the Visual Supercharge course explores and supports in the following five ways:

A.  As a foundation for continuous improvement, Digital Visual Literacy (DVL) can increase the capacity and effectiveness of our thinking, communication, and collaboration – thereby our success. Leveraging technology, DVL augments and accelerates a next level of comprehension, insight, connectedness, creativity, and accomplishment often constrained by habits or traditions. 

B.  As a merger of the latest tools, methods, frameworks and platforms, DVL expands individuals’, teams’ and organizations’ ability to make things more visible, thus more clear, thereby reducing the likelihood of error, wasted time and underperformance. DVL is about the application visual communication strategies, from online drawing to any kind of visual representation — in fully balanced partnership with words. 

C.  Experientially, cultivating DVL may be like riding a bicycle for the first time, suddenly expanding of one’s ability to: 

1) feel free, independent, and unconstrained

2) join in with everyone else riding and enjoying their bikes. 

3) balance, gain greater speed, steer & exercise mobility

4) accomplish something new completely under one’s own power

How might cultivating DVL be like that bicycle-riding experience? As we’ll elaborate in Blogpost #4, DVL is a distinctive set of skills that can expand your world and your influence with relatively little investment. Just as importantly, DVL must be experienced firsthand in order to be real and meaningful. In other words, the more we do and accomplish things with it, the more value we’ll experience ourselves and with others. Therefore, until we invest ourselves in accomplishing a task or project that benefits us directly in some way, DVL will be more of a theoretical possibility than a collaborative game changer. 

D. As a concept model of new skillset, we might imagine DVL to be a 5-layer helix, each layer representing a different capacity:

Layer # 1 ➜ We merge innate human visual capacities and computer-based visualizing capacities.

Layer #2 ➜ We fuse the functions of connection and clarity — both of which are drivers and outcomes.

Layer #3 ➜ We blend what’s visible, tangible, and concrete with what’s invisible, intangible and abstract. 

Layer #4 ➜ We balance the power of pictures as well as words compelling us to use both — wisely. 

Layer #5 ➜ We express ourselves in HOW we’re sharing or presenting a thought as much as WHAT we’re sharing/presenting.

E. As a natural evolution of technology and problem solving, DVL’s emergence into mainstream business is supported by a fully developed commercial space. It’s already in use by hundreds of thousands of schools, teachers and students in classrooms globally. With the dramatic world-wide increase in remote work — even before the pandemic — adoption of DVL in mainstream business has already started.

In the next post we’ll look at the roots of DVL: our sense of sight, Visualization and Knowing. There’s more than you might think.