A whiteboard culture, adopted by companies who desire to encourage visual thinking in their employees, pretends to share messages with own expressions. In Kioru there are few walls, the office is only divided by pillars and glass panes, these last ones are always “full”. These glass panes became whiteboards and are filled by the team as product of everyday work. Either to plan, explain processes, share information, recall important data and of course create new ideas.
Deborah Mills-Scofield, a consultant in strategy and innovation developed a theory in which using “old” words and images limits the ability to think and propose solutions. Sometimes the message is correct but it fails to convey the original idea because we do not relate to the meaning of that expression. The real problem is accepting traditional solutions and not exploring outside the box. A whiteboard culture is an alternative to use “old” expressions because it demands the creation of own diagrams to convey the original idea.
Furthermore, when there are people from different areas in one place, a language to ease communication is needed because each person has a set of words specific to a profession. A whiteboard culture establishes drawing as a language to communicate ideas. In Kioru the drawings we use are diagrams created by ourselves. Is important to understand that “the purpose of visual thinking is for the viewer to understand something, the purpose of art is for the viewer to feel something” (Lakhavani). The whiteboard culture does not encourages art but visual thinking and aims to convey messages that: reduce incorrect beliefs, represent different perspectives and clarify ideas on the mind.
Rather than just having multiple whiteboards and markers everywhere, Kioru has implemented a whiteboard culture to encourage innovation and growth as company values. It will be really strange if we ever find “empty” glass panes.
- Lakhavani. (2012). Whiteboard Culture: An Organizational Competitive Advantage? CIO Dashboard. Retrieved December 7, 2015, from http://www.ciodashboard.com/leadership/cios-can-win-whiteboard/#sthash.k4gfsJsA.dpuf
- Mills-Scofield. (2013). Can you invent something new if your words are old? Harvard Business Review. Retrieved December 7, 2015, from https://hbr.org/2013/10/can-you-invent-something-new-if-your-words-are-old/