Creative Thinking Tool

Manual Thinking is a tool for organizing thoughts, ideas and projects in a simple and direct way.

bodegon manual thinkinggo to online storeNote and arrange

Manual Thinking is a combination of blank foldable maps and removable labels of various sizes and colors. The labels invite to abbreviate ideas in keywords and sketches. The maps offer a large support to organize the labels on, visualizing the content in its context.

example: Take notes at school or a in meeting on the Manual Thinking labels, to organize them on maps!

Brainwriting with Manual Thinking: Effective brainstorming

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Brainwriting is a technique for idea generation in groups, a more structured alternative to brainstorming. As with brainstorming, brainwriting is a method where participants create ideas freely, associating and building on the ideas of the rest, but instead of being mentioned the process is carried out through writing and drawing in silence. This way, discussions are omitted and the full participation of all team members is guaranteed. Manual Thinking offers the ideal material to facilitate a brainwriting session, and gives the opportunity to organize the resulting ideas on a visual document. Try it too!

Manual Thinking foldable maps & removable large labels
Writing material: preferably a black and a colored marker to accentuate. It is essential that the writing material is the same for every participant, in order to hide the trail of the ideas’ authors and improve the legibility of the final maps.
– Assign a facilitator to control time.

Step by step:
1. Present the problem, in a way that invites solutions, for example by initiating the problem phrase with “How can you…?”
2. Situate groups of 6 (preferably) around a table and hand out a sheet of large labels to each participant. Take 3 minutes for the participants to draw an initial idea (one only!) on the first upper left label of the sheet. Now the sheets are passed to the neighbor on the right, who in continuation has 3 minutes to create a new idea building on the idea(s) which are already drawn on the sheet. The sheets keep passing until all labels are filled.
3. When sufficient ideas have been generated, mix the sheets of ideas within the group for review and take time to arrange the ideas by families on empty maps, with the group’s consent and awareness. The ideas can be numbered afterwards for a democratic idea selection.


Mindmapping with Manual Thinking

mindmap manual thinking

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A great way of visualizing ideas, tasks or projects is the technique commonly known as Mindmapping, with which you can create a visual document of any subject by subdividing and arranging its information by families, creating a structure resembling branches of a tree.

Making a Mindmap with Manual Thinking is easy:  Write and draw the information on the removable labels and (re) arrange your content on the map. Finish the Mindmap by connecting the labels with lines. The generous surface of the foldable maps allow various persons to work at once, and can be presented, archived and taken along!


Creative teamwork

go to online storeMake creative teamwork simple with Manual Thinking!

Shot during a creativity workshop in the Manual Thinking studio, this video shows a team of 12 persons from different backgrounds and nationalities working together on problem exploring, idea creation and organization. With the Manual Thinking tool the ideas and visions from all participants are captured without any discussions in visual documents which can be presented and archived afterwards.

Camera & production by Visual13


Visual map of Kanji

Manual Thinking can be used as an effective tool for learning: in this example Tomoko Sakamoto visualized some Kanji symbols with illustrations, arranging them by the basic symbols they have in common. A visual and fun way to learn and recognize how for example the basic symbol for rain has variations such as the symbols for cloud, snow, thunder or electricity.

Gochu Jang by Janet Kim & JungYoon Choi

concept map gochu jangIMG_6640Jang is an essential flavor to the Korean cuisine, based on fermented soybeans. Janet Kim and JungYoon Choi from the Korean food brand Sempio work on the Jang Project, which aim is to introduce this flavor to the world. Together we made a pairing map of the variant Gochu Jang, a fermented chili paste.