The Significance of Images for Innovation

Good images can be of particular significance for innovative projects and ventures. They can play a key role when seeking support for a new concept, during the development and implementation phases of innovations, as well as in cooperation between and within organisations. Images can be of huge benefit for several reasons.

We live in a visual world, surrounded by images. TV, film and magazines; culture and entertainment; in public settings and in the interface between man and machine; images on mobile phones, videos and music.

Good images can be of particular significance for innovative projects and ventures. They can play a key role when seeking support for a new concept, during the development and implementation phases of innovations, as well as in cooperation between and within organisations. Images can be of huge benefit for several reasons.

The benefits of images

Really good images can:

  • Communicate visions about new ideas – often far more effectively than words.
  • Illustrate complex connections and complete messages immediately and clearly (how many people would prefer to wade through lengthy texts if the same message can be conveyed straight away using an image?).
  • Bridge differences in language, ideas and specialist focus areas. Diversity is of great value. Innovative projects require ideas from all sides. A variety of skills, attitudes, opinions and personalities all contribute to the final result.
  • Kindle the imagination, curiosity and associations (without steering in a particular direction, as is often the case with words).
  • Stimulate discussion, further develop ideas and open up unanticipated perspectives.
  • Speak straight to the heart and the aesthetic sense, and contribute to the right culture and recognition.

Despite all these benefits, ‘standard images’ are used surprisingly often (for example smiling people in a business setting, an open laptop, immaculate desks…. ). Innovation is about the unique, which means that there is something special about using images that are selected and designed with a distinct idea in mind, a certain context and a particular audience. This is after all the case in marketing in other areas: advertising images are deliberately designed to communicate particular feelings, messages or aspects of the brand.

Food for thought

A brief checklist – for example for lectures, business plans, project work and annual reports describing innovative ambitions:

  • Have the images been specially and consciously selected and/or designed for a particular purpose?
  • Do the images convey the thoughts, messages and visions you have in mind?
  • Are they unique and aesthetically pleasing?
  • Do they successfully communicate beyond differences in language and concept?

Last but not least: Could they tip the balance for a new concept?

By Jan Rollof

About the author

Jan Rollof is a senior lecturer at Lund University. He has written several books on innovation and creativity, and also conducts research within these fields.
For further information, visit:
www.kreativamoten.se
www.inmindimages.com
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