Why the Japanese Prefer Visual Thinking
Rochelle Kopp says that the Japanese prefer to present data visually, in charts, graphs and diagrams –
Japanese tend to prefer taking in information visually, while Americans tend to prefer taking in information aurally. My hypothesis is that this is due to the differences in the language – that the process of becoming literate in Japanese requires honing of visual processing skills beyond that required to become literate in English,due to the ideographic characters.
I am a big fan of visual thinking myself and ‘The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures‘ is one of my favorite books. So, I am particularly excited about the “A3 Thinking” method pioneered at Toyota –
The A3 format memo (so-named because it’s printed on 11 x 17 inch paper which is called A3 in Japan), is another Japanese method for arranging information visually. Used extensively at many companies, the composition of an A3 is an art in itself.
By the way, I really like the Japan Intercultural Consulting blog (here’s another recent post on the importance of “omoyari” or “consideration in Japanese business). I would love to read a similar blog for China, so do share your tips in the comments section.