5. Making the Invisible Visible

Making the Invisible Visible

99% of Everything is “Invisible”

The concept of “Making the Invisible Visible” can be applied to almost every complex problem or challenge you’ll ever face in life. Yet given its fundamental “common sense”, (as far as I’m aware,) neither the concept or expression is widely taught in our schools. This is perplexing, for making the invisible visible” could ideally be taught at every grade level. Once a person firmly grasps how much of our reality cannot be immediately (if ever) seen by our own two eyes and how we can best respond to that — we will begin to see how valuable “making the invisible visible” is and the reasons to keep it front and center. 

For a quick example of this idea as it applies to the workplace, let’s visualize the flow of money, though any organization. As businesses spend money on things — raw materials, supplies, payroll, etc. — to generate revenue and profits — we keep track of all that spending by tabulating data funneled into account ledgers and spreadsheets. Those numbers all represent all transactions either past, present or future. Few if any people physically see the money changing hands or accounts. Yet, we can visualize and work with that flow because it’s represented by two key elements of an overall system: 1) Every number in the document stands for a real amount of money to be kept track of and accounted for, 2) A hierarchy of checks and balances, people and procedures ensures its accuracy and dependability. Without such a system, it might be impossible for a modern organization to function efficiently.

Let’s consider other examples of making what we can’t physically see ourselves more visible. 1) maps represent objects and distances we can’t fully or completely see with our own eyes, yet which we see in photos. 2) charts and diagrams, 3) calendars and clocks, 4) virtually all plans, schematics, and layouts. 5) the vast amount of advertising that passes in front of us makes the invisible visible, as do 6) most of all news stories we see or read whose headlines generally represent only a tiny fraction of all that happened. 

Inventor and teacher, Buckminster Fuller, (1895 – 1983) who authored over 30 books, and is known for developing the use of geodesic dome around the world, would admonish almost every audience he spoke to that: “99% of everythingis invisible”. Therefore, our job as problem solvers is to deal with that challenge, and the resulting complexity inherent in most formidable issues today. 

DVL helps makes the invisible more visible, therefore more real and workable and real based on four nearly universal human capabilities: 

1) our sense of sight as we commonly know and take for granted;

2) abstract thinking, conceptualization, and association that can expand into visualization and become more concrete; 

3) visualizing through our imagination; 

4) visualizing through other people’s imaginations, stories, distinctions, and resources. 

The more accurately we represent what we can’t or aren’t likely see with our own eyes, the more effectively we’ll solve the kinds of current and future problems largely comprised of invisible variables. As we demonstrate in the Visual Supercharge course, the emergence of DVL as an industry in the last ten years highlights this need and its challenges more than ever. Whether you see DVL as a 5-layered helix, a hybrid form of literacy, a skillset worth investing your own time in learning, or just another commercial venture that a couple of guys are promoting, we hope you’ll continue reading further. What we’ve shared with you so far is only an introduction and tip of the iceberg. There is lots more to come.