Sunday, August 9, 2020

They’re everywhere and they’re part of the process; Oh my!

 Our graphical formats are in many cases the least of our worries when we deal with clients and their internal issues.

I have a good old belly laugh when I consider the reality that ego plays such a prominent part in how many individuals position themselves within any arena; especially that of our clients who call on our skills sets.

Many of us have been around the knowledge and systems management arena for some time, and there’s stages we all go through in our personal, academic and business lives.
Ego is one of them, and when the dreaded ego thing raises its ugly head, we are presented with a stage that is full of unintended clarity. The script has been written (imagined and planned), the chosen actors are handled into place, and the audience has been pre-conditioned. The outcome is rather scientifically assured

Have you experienced this very same scenario; I’m thinking it’s the same or similar in structure for us all. In other circles the ego is expressed in the proverbial role of the Agent Provocateur. Yes that person whose aim (regardless of agenda and handler) is to enter a group and to cause disruption and eventually the demise of their target by way of deception, false (fake) news and to cause endless useless processes of misdirection so as to make their target and audience unmanageable and rather useless. Then the real agenda unfolds; that of attack, dominance and eventual hostile takeover. 

The outcome is indeed scientifically assured and we see it time after time in every arena we service don’t we? Let’s face it, the media (fact or fake) use this very process so very effectively.

The seed has been planted, the values have been established, the beliefs are manipulated and the thoughts flow with precision. Those thoughts choose an emotional response and ultimately the audience is led into actions that are so (common and special cause) predictable by the provocateurs and handlers.
Yet we as Knowledge Architects arrive at a client’s place of operations knowing all of this probability and potential. Well I certainly hope you and I arrive prepared and have fully profiled our client’s original concerns and needs. Yes there’s more profiling by way of our auditing methodologies employed and applied.

We help people, institutions and corporate; yes that’s what we do at the core of our services as consultants. And we are knowledge Architects who arrive to assess (audit), profile and to create a framework for continuous improvement within our client’s thinking and doing environment’s.
The push back is that resistance to change that’s given stage by the plans of the provocateurs. And as graphical thinkers; we are charged with a responsibility to do our best to achieve a consensus. That agreement status our graphical work wishes to achieve.

Graphical mapping is merely one aspect of our communications skills for sure. And no we are not trained psychologists, (well I’m certainly not); yet we have accumulated so much understanding of the human condition in and through our delivery of procedures, processes and systems. We understand the most important function of any system, and we communicate with clarity towards it. Yes it’s the people for sure. Have you experienced that resistance to change within your client’s environment as you create frameworks for BMS continuous improvement? And how have you dealt with it?

Friday, August 7, 2020

The systems thinking employee: where are they?

Over the years of involvement within visual knowledge mapping/management; I’ve realized a mindful place (mentally, and even spiritually) where I contemplate and apply the continuously evolving mental models of understanding relating to information and knowledge.

And again; over the years I’ve been introduced to quite a few models that overview and detail knowledge base repositories for those who seek to be more acquainted with and practice the tools, methods and mindset of systems thinking.

What has impacted me though recently is the fundamental gaps that exist within the hierarchy of society regarding the understanding, use and sharing of the mindset of systems thinking.

Systems thinking in general is and continues to be the perceived domain of business and in particular corporate business regarding process and system.

The regular person in many cases looks at systems thinking as a set of tools and methodologies (system in itself) for business rather than it being a tool for personal development.

I recently walked through a manufacturing facility with all of its various processes that support their system of operation. I was impacted by the regular people on the shop floor who seem to be performing mundane tasks according to their work process instructions (procedures).

Yet talking to many of the line operators I was struck by their profound and natural understanding of procedure, process and system. They were systematic and systems thinkers.

Yet this profound understanding by line working employees is not in any way tapped by the OEM org or their system of operations. And this got me thinking; how can systems thinking be more formally encouraged and taught by way of clarity of communications within industry; especially for the most important part of any process.....People!

Your thoughts?

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Heads in the cloud and forgotten privacy

Heads in the cloud and forgotten privacy.

A colleague and good friend recently said to me “we’ve come a long way since web 1.0".

Yes we have, and it’s been a journey of gains and losses.

Here we are within web 2.0 and V3 knocking at the door and chomping at the bit to get going in the race for dominance and a piece (if not all) of our data. Quantum Computing? Yeah that’s gonna be the game changer, and it’ll happen in my lifetime for sure.

It has been a strange and curious journey hasn’t it? We’ve arrived (currently) at a point in time where generational many younger folk just don’t understand us older users of traditional UX/UI and our bemoaning of ownership rather than subscriptions. Yeah the younger generation are (or have been) so conditioned into actually believing that everything is a subscription and data protection and privacy is a thing of the past.

I use a lot of legacy software products; yeah we call them apps now. The kind of products that you actually downloaded and stored (archived) the installer exe. Oh I know; that is just so last century now eh. I actually used a 10 year old version of MS Office up until a few months ago before jumping all over Corel WordPerfect Office suite, Only because the interface was rather old school and the exe was and is reusable. It actually kicks Micky soft’s **s.

Haven’t you noticed or realized; what we used to do for free maybe even as lately as 5 years ago, we now subscribe to? For this getting older guy involved in some pretty damn interesting projects; it’s a challenge (read curse).

And then there’s the hardware. It’s changing at an exponential rate. Jeez; hard-drives are even becoming old school.

The cloud though is a real challenge for me. Yes I use it extensively, yet I must continually remind myself that There is no cloud (a crafty name), it’s merely someone else’s computer (server). Yes we tend to forget this don’t we; and we’ve certainly been conditioned into believing this arrangement is okay and actually a convenient arrangement.

I recoil in pseudo shock when friends and colleagues shriek “F**k I’ve been hacked......Again”. I basically give them a show of emotional support and kinda psychologically coach them into a nice place where they can recoup their mindset and reform their use of and understanding of the beautiful cloud that has metaphorically F****d us over since it’s inception.

Yes I’m cynical when it comes to willingly offering up data to the cloud that is unashamedly data-mined by developers who get us to download, use and abuse (by subliminal means) and add our private and sensitive data to what has been termed Free for Personal use products.

I mean, what part of F*****g stupid doesn’t that scream at you? Some products are so enticing that we jump all over them like a dog on heat and make some kind of pseudo psychological love moves on them.
The numbers following some of these actually awesome products are impressive. I recently was enticed by a product that took me a little over two months (yup) to eventually set up that suited my ways of creating, managing and exchanging (sharing) information and knowledge.

Then I had to stop myself and ask the question I have been advocating all along and never even thought of following my own advice. Yes I forgot (WTF) to ask the developer all about their data protection and security arrangements. I did ask them.......and got silence.

So my head was in the clouds (and also up my own **s), because of my stupid lack of process. I was seduced by an awesome (it’s still awesome) product that could have (and maybe still have) the potential to change my knowledge management practices. I believe the product can still add to my knowledge work, yet that data security and privacy thing has stopped me in my tracks.

Caution and discernment for sure when we choose to add software (apps) and cloud (someone else’s computer) arrangements for our data. BTW: That awesome product/service I use? I connected with the developer who gave me this answer “If you’re not happy using our product; don’t use it, we’re not forcing you to use it are we?”.


Enough said eh; end of.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Monetizing your knowledge:

Monetizing your knowledge:

This is going to be real short, and it’s a kinda gripe.

I recently had a comment here at Visual Mapper Blog spot by someone who preferred not to identify them self. I decided not to post their comment as it is, in my opinion, rather disingenuous to anonymously take without giving.

The comment was in response to the article titled; “Mention the $$$ value of Visual Mapping and people magically listen”.

The anonymous person (or bot) asked “How do you monetize your knowledge via Visual Mapping?”.

I use a few visual mapping products that have impacted my work over the many years of involvement within the mind, visual, knowledge mapping arenas.

This particular product/service has delivered a way for me to monetize my knowledge work in order to create a direct and indirect residual income.

The product is TheBrain: not only has it enabled me over the almost 20 years of use to become a more effective graphical knowledge mapper/manager; it has enabled me to work with my clients and colleagues with absolute clarity.

The efficacy of your knowledge work that encompasses your business models are essential. TheBrain slowly but surely became my virtual office, a place where I go to create relevancy, manage effectively and share (exchange and monetize) my knowledge frameworks.

TheBrain software/service has become integral to the ways I create and build my database of information and knowledge. It can indeed be the same for you.

If you care to investigate the power of this ever evolving product; you’ll more than likely discover the ways you can monetize your information and knowledge via the “Make Private” and packaging functions within TheBrain functions and capabilities.

The anonymous won’t be getting a more in depth answer here within this short post. I do however encourage that person, and anyone interested; to investigate TheBrain to discover via the process of learning; that monetizing their information and knowledge is relatively easy using TheBrain software and cloud services.

I would be glad to privately discuss this reality with you; that is if you identify yourself and begin meaningful dialogue.

Point of disclosure:
I have comp access to the mentioned product.
I do not sell nor have any commissions from the developer of the mentioned product.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

A note about moderating comments at this blog!

I'm happy to moderate and post your comments on one condition.

At least identify yourself for clarity of potential involvement.

Visual Mappers are unwitting Systems Thinkers; aren't they?

The Visual Mapper’s journey into systems thinking. Purposefully complicated yet shouldn’t be.

The first steps of many to the fulfillment of our goals are no doubt taken with trepidation. The apprehension associated with the steps, goals and paths we take on our journeys are somewhat predictable spaces or voids full of process and system potential.

The blank slate of your digital workspace is likened to that of the virgin canvas of the artist who looks into the void of the canvas and envisions what she desires to reveal.

This process of drawing out from that blank canvas is presently understood as a series of synaptic responses within our brain that culminate in actions. Some have posited it as an almost other worldly (non local) connectivity that’s ultimately revealed within the blank canvas. Currently I don’t tune into the other worldly posit.

I do however completely buy into the reality that we can take a blank digital computing workspace and create relevancy and meaning within a systematic framework. When I say systematically, I merely mean method.

We have tools, we have methods, we have visual representations of our intended communications. These individual elements come together (aggregate) into a whole that offers an emergence of thought, feeling and action. On their own they are merely elements; yes they do have their usefulness as independent elements, yet they are best expressed being aggregated into a wholistic representation.

Wholistic may be a reasonable term or definition to speak of regarding this aggregation.

Many of our notable Visual Mapping Knowledge Architect colleagues often speak of systematic thinking; and I understand the term and definition as it’s, for the most part; speaking of methodical or process oriented thinking. I’m big on process approaches too.

There are however very few of our colleagues who speak loudly and confidently in terms of Systems Thinking.

I’ve often wondered why: It’s a question that’s hard to answer as it’s analogous to getting blood out of a stone regarding experiencing dialogue under the systems thinking umbrella. From fellow visual mapping colleagues.

I’ve found though, there’s many within the visual mapping arena who’re not only systematic thinkers but are indeed systems thinkers who may have never realized they are or have simply never felt the need to declare or express they are.

The graphical mapping tools we use scream of system, yet we rarely speak of system or systems thinking in relation to the arenas we service and where our various expertise are expressed.

From QMS auditing, to inventory and production measures and process flows; we’re unwittingly involved within systems and interact and influence them too.

Taking into consideration we are unwitting systems thinkers who decline to express it too well; which is an oxymoron. IMO; we should be speaking of systems thinking more openly among our knowledge architect circles and learning from each other and also from the more formalized colleagues within the systems thinking arenas.

I chased my own tail like a dumb dog for a long time before I broke free from reliance upon a tool, and adopted a multiple formats approach expanding to the use of the Visual Mapping tool-box. And in doing so; I realized the progression from Mind mapping (single format) through to Visual mapping (multiple formats) was a progression of an understanding of system in itself.

Indeed the Visual mapping tool-box is encompassed (enveloped) within the systems thinking mind-set, and we knowledge architects who offer our services to clients for continuous improvement purposes should know this. But of course we do; don’t we?

If you haven’t already found these notable Systems Thinkers; I highly recommend them as a sound genesis and foundation of a complete understanding of System:
August Bradley
Gene Bellinger
Derek Cabrera

Sunday, July 12, 2020

To be or not to be a Visual Mapper!

To be or not to be a Visual Mapper!

That is the question, and a challenging one at that.

Conundrums galore for sure for the knowledge manager. BTW we’re all knowledge managers to a degree; if you think then you’re processing usable knowledge.

Ideation; that process of getting your thoughts on paper or digital. Paper works and digital formats work too, both are valid and for many they’ll stick to using one or the other. I find; like me, most use both formats. Paper to make cursory notes that lead into the use of software tools to enable a more defined and refined framework of reference and output.

I doodle a lot, they make absolutely no sense to anyone other than me. The subjectivity of doodling is a form of protective writing that’s naturally encoded. No need for an encryption here eh?

Sketching? No! I’ve never really gotten into sketching like some of my colleagues who are pretty damn good at it. When I say sketching, I mean the more expressive type rather than the stick characters and scribbles, which seem to work too. I’ve noted some colleagues are using very professional type of sketching products on mainly tablets. They are indeed very well done.

The graphic facilitators among our colleagues are quite artistic and if you ever get the chance to witness how and what they accomplish, it’s almost magical. To me though, the time allotted to this kind of artistic approach to creating presentations in real time for clients is almost like a stage act. The audience are captivated and enjoy seeing the final act.

There’s advantages to almost every form of graphical expressions available within the Visual mapping tool-box. Some are more powerful than others and some have had their day and the tool has to be either discarded or redesigned for further use.

The hand drawn mind map claimed the throne many years ago and kind of did have prominence for a time. Software mind mapping came along and functions were added that became a multiple formats approach to what became known as visual mapping. The tool-box of Visual mapping was established when software developers finally listened to their users who asked for rudimentary flow chart functions, Gantt functions and Excel range inputs and outputs. The range of functions and capabilities we have now within a few products is quite amazing.

A couple of notable products, whilst adding these other graphical representations to their software was expected and even demanded; the software code became bloated and the product became slow. And the file format wars began. The cloud took care of the file format wars (for now).

Behemoths such as Mindjet, SimTech and CS Odessa prevailed and do so to this day. They all have their unique and peculiar functions and capabilities. So much so; that I actually use all three products, as each product strength is not cloned or emulated within each of these three products.

I shall say though; CS Odessa the developer of the ConcepDraw software range has in fact done the best job of offering three distinct products that are extremely powerful yet can and do have a synergy (they communicate with each other) within an office suite build. The beauty of this approach is that the three distinct products of Mindmap, Diagram and Project can be code design supported and updated as individual products and not be responsible for being a bloated and over/under coded product that needs to be continually monitored for code errors and crashes.

So we know there’s many software products for enabling ideation to be realized. But does the knowledge manager need to or feel obliged to create, manage and present her information and knowledge in a graphical format at all?

To be or not to be a Visual Mapper is the question; and the answer to that is no, not really.

The efficacy of knowledge manager of this part of the 21st century is dependent upon knowing what formats to use; linear and non-linear to create manage and share (present) in formats that have the most synaptic impacts on colleagues ,clients and employees.

In many cases the developers of these awesome products, many I use and abuse have, continued to develop amazing functions and capabilities into their products and seem to have taken their eyes off what has been developed for the knowledge manager parallel to what they have offered.

Again, the knowledge manager doesn’t really need to grab a graphical mapping product to create, manage and share ideation, innovation and creativity with their colleagues and others.

Maybe the developers were aware or maybe they were wilfully ignorant of other approaches that were plodding away and gaining huge user numbers within personal development, academia and business productivity areas.

I speak of course of products such as Notion, Roam Research and the relatively new Obsidian.

The graphical mapping developers may indeed be scrambling to develop functions that emulate these non competing product ranges that may in fact challenge the visual mappers reliance upon graphical mapping tools they generally use.

It is after all the job of the information handler, knowledge manager/ architect to be in total control using even relational database functions to keep all of her information and knowledge available in a product/service that is both comfortable to use/view/comprehend and has a very light learning curve.

I continue to use my preferred visual mapping products; yet I have been amazed as to the exponential development of Notion and Roam Research in particular. Have these products caught the visual mapping developers off guard? I’m thinking maybe.