MIT MBA Students Learn to Innovate and Inspire with Visual Tools

 Photo by Matthew Cavanaugh

Business leaders at top companies, universities, and centers of influence are increasingly embracing the power of visual communication as a leadership skill.

Leaders need tools to facilitate clarity, inspire innovation, and move people to take action. Visuals simplify information to help individuals better understand how and why to do things.

Effective use of visuals spurs creativity, motivates employees, galvanizes teams.

Put a marker in the hand of some of the brightest minds and emerging leaders, equip them with proven visual thinking skills, and watch their confidence, problem-solving abilities, and the artfulness of their growing leadership qualities come alive.

That’s what faculty at MIT Sloan School of Management witnessed last year during Kelly Kingman’s half-day workshop. So they invited her back to lead two separate full-day workshops for this year’s Sloan Innovation Period (SIP), an intensive week of experiential leadership learning the school hosts for their MBA students at the midpoint of each semester.

Kingman Ink's visual communication workshops complemented a diverse range of deep-dive seminars and hands-on learning experiences created by senior faculty, leading executives, and leadership experts to further the MIT Leadership Center’s goal of cultivating the next generation of leaders to tackle the world’s most pressing and challenging issues.

Leading with Visual Communication: Innovate and Inspire with Visual Tools

  Learn more  about Kingman Ink's custom visual communication training & workshops. Photo by Matt Cavanaugh.

Learn more about Kingman Ink's custom visual communication training & workshops. Photo by Matt Cavanaugh.

An intimate group of approximately 18 students participated in each workshop. We covered topics including:

  • Whiteboarding with confidence

  • Data visualization

  • Visual storytelling for presentations

Even the most avid whiteboarders acquired tools and techniques to build skills that engage audiences through imagery. They learned how to use basic visual language to distill complex ideas into basic elements to help teams and customers better understand them and see new possibilities for change and growth.

During the data visualization portion of the workshop, we considered everything from workout habits to how many "Sloanies" change careers post graduation. By the end of this session, students learned how to create compelling visual narratives--a skill that will help them break through jargon and avoid overloaded PowerPoint slides.

Then students practiced lively visual storytelling on topics ranging from banking in Mexico to their favorite kinds of ice cream. In this session, students strengthened conceptual thinking and storytelling capabilities through the use of visual symbols and metaphors--a skill that will allow them to be more engaging, relatable, and persuasive in leadership roles.

I had already thought about my main arguments but I hadn’t thought about how I would represent them visually. Having the freedom to sort of imagine how I would like the data to look like instead of finding the data first and then deciding how to present it helped me realize what was the clearest way to convey my message. I’m definitely thinking about how I will incorporate what you taught us today to my [pitch]. – Sloan MBA student

Would your school, program, company, or organization benefit from empowering your leaders with visual communication skills?

 Contact us today, and let’s discuss your needs.