The Drawing Effect – Pictures just work



It seems to be a given that pictures have a better recognition rate than written words. With ~75% of our cognition system dedicated to vision, this is not hard to understand.
This phenomenon has a name – the “Picture Superior Effect.”
That’s important especially when we think about how we work and present our work to other people.

Even more interesting is the outcome of a scientific study from 2016, “The drawing effect: Evidence for reliable and robust memory benefits in free recall” by Jeffrey D. Wammes, Melissa E. Meade, and Myra A. Fernandes.


The drawing effect

They proved that if you draw something you remember it better – even under time pressure. The researchers call this the "Drawing Effect." They were able to prove, that drawing enhances the memory effect as well for people who consider themselves as not being able to draw. 

Furthermore, they found, that even when it takes a bit longer to draw something and...

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Business, Distractions and Visual Clarity – an interview

Uncategorized Feb 03, 2019

Recently Chuck Frey from the Mind Mapping Software Blog interviewed me on my thoughts around visual clarity. Head over to his blog to read the full interview.
And follow Chuck on Twitter!

I just wanted to add my favorite questions here for you to read directly. :)



Chuck: Why is clarity so rare in business today? What's changed?

Holger: As we progress into a more and more developed world – meaning technology, management theories, methodologies, and tools – live gets complex and so does business. The burden of knowing everything, seeing everything and being able to find every information that's available adds complexity to every company. Especially technologies, may they be for communications or production or whatever, are making it worse. Of course, they help us progress, but they make it more complicated to speak about things. Technology hinders us from understanding everything in detail. And that way clarity gets rare. A second argument could be, that things...

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6 Things I Learned from Creating the WorkVisual App

clarity Jan 10, 2019

Some people call me crazy. Some think I have a magic pill for time traveling. Some friends say I'm super organized. My wife would agree with the first.


Besides running my own business with a team of 6 people now, giving lectures at two German universities, delivering strategy facilitation and coaching with my clients, developing Biz4Kids and sustaining Playing Lean and writing the book „Creating Innovation“ (German only) – I have created the WorkVisual App.


The WorkVisual App is a niche app for the iPad to perform live Visual Facilitation work connecting to a projector for large (or small) meetings, workshops, and conferences.

A lot of professional Visual Facilitators like me are using the WorkVisual App. But I will stop pursuing this venture this year…you can read why on my Facebook post here.


The WorkVisual App has been online for four years now. And I learned a few things along the way...


1. The right team is crucial


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Don't talk if you want them to remember

clarity visual tools Dec 21, 2018

We can retain information way better if we can not only hear them but see them in a well-designed manner. Whenever you want to be sure people "get" what you say and are able to tell it to others later, make sure to communicate at least with decent visuals and words.

That's not just my personal biased fantasy. In 1969 Dale conducted an experiment with four study groups to find out if it is actually true that we can recall more of the content depending on the type of presentation in which we get to learn the material.

The four groups were presented to the content in
1. a spoken lecture
2. In a written form for them to read
3. With a visual and verbal presentation with illustrations and
4. By letting them participate with role-plays and such.

He assessed all 4 groups after 3 hours and as well 3 days after the presentation. The results are enlightening.
As the groups perform relatively equally ok in the test after 3 hours – despite the blah, blah, blah group of course – their...

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A surprisingly simple way to unlock your most difficult problem (in just 5 minutes!)

clarity visual tools Oct 16, 2018


Have you ever had the experience of thinking about a problem all the time, so that you can’t even sleep because it won’t let you go, even in the middle of the night?

The problem is too complicated. Each time one door to a solution starts to open, another two doors are closing.

The solution seems near, but every time you think it through it slips away…

You are starting to get a headache from thinking about it!

Sound familiar? I've been there often enough.

And yet, I would argue that you can overcome this hurdle with a time investment of only 5 minutes! Seriously - that should be plenty. As I'm working on the materials for my workshops, I wanted to share this concept with you.

The big hurdle is the way we typically approach the problem-solving process. I call this your design brief. The design brief is the way you help yourself understand your issue. Without understanding your problem clearly, the solution will be hard to find.

Very often we adopt a ...

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You're not just one person

Uncategorized Aug 11, 2018


"We're not just one person with one set of skills.
We never are.
We are the ones that are needed at this very moment."

This moment could be a meeting, workshop, conversation or just walking in the park. Remember that you will have different strategies, ways of acting and tools at hand for that different kind of moments. This thought was inspired by my participation at @EUVIZ2018 in Denmark

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A mental model that helps you gain clarity

Uncategorized Feb 21, 2018


Is there a way to work visually and tangibly without needing to draw something? Can a mental approach increase creativity? How do I decide as a leader what kind of tools and methods to use in a workshop? These are the questions I've pondered for more than two years.


Mental Models

A mental model is defined as being a set of rules or a structured thinking process, and it can help to navigate through complex issues. This has shown to be true with many leaders of the past and the present. Elon Musk is famous for utilizing diverse mental models. One of them is “Design from first principles” - at its core, this model declares, that you approach projects as if nobody ever before had done something similar. For example, Musk approached the first space rocket design of Space X as if nobody had built a rocket yet. This thinking clears of assumptions and lets you plan on a fresh plate. With this mental model in mind, Elon Musk approaches every creation project.


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