Business metaphors a powerful thought evoking tool


posted on 24th of july, 2008

Designers or writers looking to add visual impact to their work quite often look for a metaphor to use. These can come from a variety of sources, but what seems to work well is a simile. A similie of course differs from a standard metaphor because you are suggesting something is "like" something else, that is really not like it at all.

Take the image on the right here. The image is of a businessman playing Blackjack. He has drawn 18 and decides to sit. This image of course could be used to add to a dialogue about risk in business. And even though there are certain similarities between business and gambling, those of us with an analyst background would suggest that gambling is unsure and little science can be applied to gambling. Whereas due diligence, analysis of the economy and other factors provide a certain level of assurance in business decisions. So, for me I guess this image in this respect is a similie, and not a metaphor.

But of course, not all business decisions are made with such prudence. And many people believe that it is at all a guess at best. The image on the left suggests that you have as much chance of getting good advice from a clairvoyant as you can from a business analyst. Or, it could suggest a business is at its wit's end and is ready to try anything.

Regardless of whether you see them as similies or metaphors, they are thought provoking, and add depth to any article. An image like this on a PowerPoint slide at a business forum makes the attendees think: "is this what I am doing?"

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Photo credits: David Hilcher.

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