Sunday, April 30, 2017

What do you create and share using mind mapping?

I’m originally a mind mapper; and at the beginning I mapped out everything from my shopping to my music and the dreaded To Do lists.

Yup that was a long time ago and I was younger and a tad more adventurous with my newly discovered tool that led me to believe I was way ahead of the information curve at that time.

And it was, in my experience, at that time; a tool that provided a tangible gain to the ways I enhanced my information management abilities.

I very rarely came across fellow mind mappers in my early days of mapping during the early 80’s. And thus I used it as my secret weapon for information management and staying ahead of the competitiveness within my field at that time. Hey if I could map out my shopping list, music collection and to do’s; I was an information manager right?

Of course reality is a slap isn’t it? When the mind mapping tool appeared way back in the 70’s we didn’t have software that could do what we do now in the semblance of mind mapping that we now call Visual mapping, Info-Graphics or even Database knowledge mapping.

The hand drawn maps in the vein of what Tony Buzan presented and formalized: they were awesome for gathering thoughts, making connections and expressing it all in what was then looked upon as a funky, almost hippy expression of information and knowledge.

I eventually came across a few fellow mind mappers who surprisingly enough were extremely similar to my profile as an addict to graphical expressiveness. Yes we were addicts and expressed all the attributes of an addict when it came to how we believed everyone should think of and express information/knowledge.

Mike and Bettina Jetter managed to popularize software mind mapping via their Mindjet Mindman software; later to become so well known as MindManager. Of course there were other developers, but the Jetter’s managed to grab a fledgling audience of users, and were more commercially successful that their existing competitors.

Original mind mapping was on paper; yes we had to draw it all out long hand, make all of those damn spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and then there was that dreaded lack of context and content for relevance. So we often ripped up that hand drawn map and started all over again. Thank the gods of knowledge management we no longer have to willingly endure that. Yet hand drawn mind mapping is a staple of the Buzan approach even to this day, and indeed is the ideal intro to information mapping for many who’ll more than likely go on to use the Buzan endorsed iMindMap cross-platform mind/visual mapping software/service developed by Chris Griffiths and his team at OpenGenius

Yes there’s other products that came along too, only a few are relevant to the bigger picture that is now developing via Visual mapping and what we are now experiencing as graphical knowledge mapping/management.

And then: there was Biggerplate.

Of course you know who Biggerplate are: they're the go to place for mind map image sharing. Have you shared snapshots of you maps at BP? Initially BP was a MindManager centric site that has nicely developed into a business model offering numerous services for personal, academic and business users of mind/visual mapping/management.

Do you want to share your maps with other users of mind maps? Go to BP, create an account and off you go. The file formats may expand when users of other products create a groundswell of file format exchange that equates into a need for users to have a place for their specific software product file formats at BP.

Biggerplate have in recent years developed a rather good get together series of events that have toured via significant global locations and the events have been recorded for all to see.

Sharing maps though is a conundrum for some (like me). I am constrained by NDA’s that restrict much of the meat and potatoes I may offer for fellow mapping viewers to read and study.

Do we need to share maps at all? Good question, as it does seem much of the map sharing I and many colleagues have taken part in privately have been at best minimal for detail and at most embarrassingly short of context and content to make it anywhere near as interesting for recipients due to my NDA choke hold.

Have you had good or not so good experiences regarding map sharing? Please share your experiences.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

The future of mind mapping may be dependent on non users

Origins: or the Genesis of something (anything) has its beginnings as a thought. This thought is the spark that motivates us to continue down a vein of creativity, innovation, production and distribution.

So as humans we create, innovate, produce and distribute (at the base level) our thoughts. And the advances of we humans throughout the ages has and remains to be dependent on thoughts, both individual and collective.

I wouldn’t dare dive into where thoughts come from; but like you, I have questioned whether we are merely biological chemical elements interacting or more. The scientists, spiritual leaders and skeptics can debate that one.

Taking a look at what we have been told is primeval expressiveness; yes those cave paintings that seem to suggest previous man was indeed a visual thinker who communicated using graphics (icons). Those graphics that have been collected and sifted seem to suggest previous man had a graphical language that was regional and may have even been global. In any case this use of graphics seems to point to an organized use of shapes to represent information and knowledge that may have been universally understood by viewers other than the original author.

As we travel through this part of the 21st century; technology has enabled us to understand each others languages easily by the use of smart translators. And we now seem to be re-entering an age of a standardized use of graphical expressiveness using graphics (icons).

The graphical recorders (GRs); those awesome talented artistic drawers of all things info graphics are the proof of the universality of graphical and iconic communications. From what the mind mapper throws into a mind map, the GRs extrapolate and expresses so much more succinctly as huge graphical stories.

There are distinct division to the whole though; regarding visual thinking, mapping and expressiveness. IMO these divisions seem to be asking (read screaming out) for a coming together (convergence). This convergence may be a place where we visual thinkers and doers can communicate, collaborate (maybe standardize) and create a knowledge base.

Yes I do harken back to the awesome Chuck Frey interview of the potential for a Visual Mapping Body of Knowledge (VMBoK). But I am indeed a tad nostalgic and lack the reality check to add logic to that romantic notion of a body of knowledge.

The distinct divisions within the visualizing arena are very clear. They’re not negative divisions at all, and if some seem to be; well it may be ego that makes it that way. My tool is bigger and better than yours is the cry of the ego from individuals and developers alike.

We have Mind mappers who insist their specific tool is the best. Some are awesome and deserve mention; yet many are simply awful as they simply plagiarize (oh yes they do) and fail to even emulate at the basic level or even improve upon what has been copied.

We have Visual mappers: the users of multiple tools. And IMO this is an arena that holds the key to the fabled VMBoK genesis, growth and continuous improvement. The Visual mappers care not for the tool they, you or I use; they are more interested in and focused on the results of what is being expressed.
Communication is a common thread throughout the use of mind mapping into and through the Visual mapping arena. But Visual mapping is not an actual arena, it’s merely a definition that identifies those who have understood what tools to use, what they are capable of and what end result is expected by the use of.

Mind mapping is an arena, and the sheer numbers of users proves this. But alas the divisions within the mind mapping arena has diminished its potential for (Real) mainstream exposure.

Yes: we do have a battleground of sorts that has been defined by the users of specific software/services expressing what the developers define as mind mapping. But I won’t get into the argument of who is best representative of the mind mapping arena and what tool is the best. I certainly have my favourites and I make no secret of that.

To the devout mind mapper, everything is a mind map and to the devoted visual mapper, everything is information that needs a carrier of expressiveness. Whether it be a mind map, concept map, flow chart or info-graphic; the visual mapper has an end in view and that is tangible and often monetized results. Yes mind mappers want results too, but my point is the definitions of perceived divisions of tools and outcomes.

So it can be confidently said that: Visual mapping includes but is not limited to mind/concept/flow mapping and many other graphical representations.

Anyone not associate with mind/visual mapping or the definitions and divisions of tools, methods may look upon this article and say: “yeah so what, I just get the job done”. And here’s the rub; we need that kind of comment to jolt us into understanding that, as John England ofMind-systems say: “Information is the centre of the Universe”.

Those looking in on the bubble we mind mappers have created is both intriguing and wasteful to those who don’t even use mind mapping or even consider themselves visual mappers.

It does seem to be that we have been so focused in on specific tools to the detriment of the intentions of creating, managing and sharing relevant data/information/knowledge. Yes the tools are extremely important, but if everything is a mind map to us; our audience simply won’t get it or may even ignore us altogether.

So we need the non users, who seem to get the job done, to help us see what route we should be taking. If at all these non mind mappers simply understand what tool to use and get the job done; does that not make them Visual mappers?

Here’s the other rub; these unwitting visual mappers are using the digital arena to further the use of instructional information, that aggregated data of words, images and numbers into knowledge by way of their use of relational databases.

Yes we have come a long way haven’t we? The mind map (or pseudo like structures) are now being given a newer and continuously improving expressiveness via graphical databases. I’ve mentioned my use of many times throughout my articles; and yes it does look like I’m some kind of spokesperson for the product/service, but I am merely a business user who enthuses as to how they have taken graphical thinking into the digital-cloud synced arena.

But these non users; we’ve got to listen to them, understand where they are coming from as they simply get the job done and care not for the tools as we do, but have created a mindset of productivity.

We must expand our reach and open the doors to a wider potential that may be able to crack open new and exciting realities for our skill sets that may respectfully converge and gain a wider expressiveness.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

What will historical records say about Mind Mapping?

Historical records are fascinating aren’t they? I’m not the historical type, but my wife is, and she’s the one who professionally works within the family tree arena. I kind of look at these things with a glazed look to my eyes, and it’s very evident I’m rather uninterested in historical time-lines.

But late last year my wife sat me down (yes I was coerced) and she systematically showed me the structure of my family name tree. For the first time I had a very relaxed feeling as my wife took me through the past four centuries of her detective work relating to my family name.

It was fascinating and I eventually got it. I appreciated her work and was so interested in her system of operation while she whittled out the false avenues she often went down eventually arriving at a proven source and then moving on to establish a new historical avenue to investigate. The potentials and probabilities are so captivating. It is true detective work.

And this got me thinking about historical time-lines and their significance.

I asked myself, and now you the reader: what will historical records say? Of course as always I am speaking directly about the visual mapping arena.

For the past 50 years or so we’ve been introduced to the formalizing of hand drawn Mind mapping by the one and only Tony Buzan. And of course we’ve since then witnessed and experienced an exponential expansion of the original thought, method and evolved expressions of the original methodology.

The constant though is: It’s all based on Buzan Mind mapping, no denying that at all. And I can’t help bend the knee of respect to Tony Buzan for formalizing what was named Mind mapping into a structure that has indeed changed the lives of numerous adherents to this fascinating synaptic tool.

And for those who would suggest Mind mapping has been around for millennium; well they’re right as “Historical records” do prove a form of mind mapping has been around throughout human history.

However: one man, and that is Tony Buzan formalized hand drawn Mind mapping, so there we have it.

What will the historical records say?

The works of Roy Grubb are in my opinion such an important historical record relating to all things graphical data, information and knowledge mapping. Go sift through his awesome work and soak in the information and knowledge Roy presents at his domain.

Mind mapping became Visual mapping by virtue of the inclusion of multiple graphical formats being added to the original radiant Buzan approach.

And: Visual mapping has by virtue of this digital age morphed (even evolved) into knowledge mapping. And of course it is evolving continuously along with technology.

It does seem we are at an epoch of great advancement, even to the point of the inclusion of enhanced reality and Artificial Intelligence being added to the mix that seems to be taking the original format down the rabbit hole of mind bending possibilities. What those possibilities are? We can only surmise at this time, but suffice to say it may indeed be mind bending.

So: Historical records are important, and as we are exponentially pushing forward into uncharted territory with the help of big data, AI and augmented reality systems, we must needs establish, support and enhance a true Historical record of where this arena started (or was rebooted) from. Let’s make sure we’ve got an accurate point of reference for an historical record.

What do you believe the historical records shall say about where this arena had its actual genesis and where it has been and where it’s going.

The work of Tony Buzan, Roy Grubb, John England, Chuck Frey and developers such as CS Odessa, Mindjet, iMindMap, Xmind and organizations such as Biggerplate and the product/service that underpins the digital mind evolution of this part of the 21st century TheBrain: they’re all part of this historical mosaic. There’s many other contributing knowledge architect thought leaders: see HERE.

History is indeed in reality all about where we are going, with the knowledge of where we have been; is it not?

Sunday, January 8, 2017

2017 and here we go again

Another short short comment from Visual Mapper

2017 and here we go again

Yes we’re beginning to grope our way through 2017 with that pseudo gusto we call enthusiasm; ha-ha, that is until we press the pause button and say “WTF was I thinking, believing I could get away with this”?

Oh yeah, those resolutions that become useless affirmations to us until we reach a realization we should have been more pragmatic about how we’re going to get to where we want to be.

During the first quarter of any year is that crucial part of the year where many of us attempt to reinvent ourselves by diversifying our skill sets and either learning new skills or transplanting ourselves into arenas that may appreciate our existing skill sets.

And whilst that is always something to consider, I would say now is the time to enhance your passions, skill sets and potential opportunities that may open up doors of probable futures for you and yours.

If you’re not already aware of what my associates and colleagues do by now; we are Knowledge Architects. We are able to assess, measure and build knowledge frameworks for you to capitalize upon.

Data, Information and Knowledge has become a commodity to be capitalized upon to the extent that you may be best to seek the services of these so called knowledge architects.

Being more aware of the monetizing opportunities of being a more effective knowledge handler is a good beginning. So take a look at the TheBrain graphical framework below (here’s a direct link too) and consider connecting with any of my fellow colleagues who may offer you that beginning. And that beginning will no doubt, as all things progress; take you on a journey down the rabbit hole of knowledge management, so hold onto your hat.

You decide the path you wish to take this year. The introduction to Mind-Visual-Knowledge mapping shall enable, enhance and empower your existing knowledge handling skill sets to the nth degree. That means you’ll be the one in charge of your probable future.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The rise of the Knowledge Architect

The rise of the Knowledge Architect

Since the founding of Mind mapping via Tony Buzan; we’ve come a long way since haven’t we?

The advancements have been quite impressive from the now well established mainstream staples we all know of and use. No need to mention these products/services worthy of leadership, most of them need no introduction.

Mind mapping eventually added the multiple formats expressiveness of what became known as Visual mapping and has since further morphed into what we now seem to be defining as Knowledge mapping.

The relational database architecture has enabled the knowledge mappers to use the database expressed as a systematic graphical framework to be the single point of access for all relevant data, information and knowledge. And we’ve now added Knowledge Management to the mix, as this is the logical and natural development.

Knowledge Architects; they are a breed of thinkers and doers who’ve existed and operated independently outwith the mind-visual-knowledge mapping arenas. Yet; they are integral to and have been associated within these arenas from the get go.

Knowledge Architects define themselves by their passion, skill set and complete understanding of how to aggregate data into information, add context and create usable continuously improving knowledge. And they do this very naturally by utilizing current technology to create, manage and exchange the perceived and actual value associated with knowledge. We are now seeing this being expressed within the Artificial Intelligence arenas.

Knowledge is currency, the building blocks to the knowledge architect, and they establish its monetary value by creating graphical knowledge frameworks that express system.

Knowledge architects are wholistic systematic thinkers and doers who completely understand the relevancy and appropriate uses of both linear and non-linear structures of data, information and knowledge.

It can be said that every human is capable of being a knowledge Architect; and whilst that is very true, there seems to be groups of knowledge architects who exist by virtue of their skill sets that have been honed by their use and mastery of the mind-visual-knowledge mapping software and services.

Associated social media groups such as Biggerplate, the Ultimate Digital Memory TheBrain software/services and the seminal work of Roy Grubb who also develops the most amazing Visual Information Organizer called Topicscape have enhanced the mainstream acknowledgement of the relevancy and position of knowledge architects and their contributions to the furtherance of knowledge management.

Here’s a definition of Knowledge Architect: read it and ponder the inclusion of this definition and its implications into your mainstream.

And here’s an excellent Xplane article to consider too in our further understandings of how we as Knowledge Architects operate and handle data, information and knowledge.

There’s so much to be written, discussed and opportunities revealed by coming together to acknowledge the need for formalizing the passions, skills and complete understanding of systematic and systems thinking.

This article; like all I amateurishly comment through most definitely should be expanded upon. I look to you: my mind-visual-knowledge mapping colleagues, to further contribute more professionally than I do, to furtherance of such discussions.

The rise of The Knowledge Architect? Yes if you dare to define yourself as such; you’ll understand we need to find a place, a home; recognition for our passions, skill sets and complete understanding of how we may create, manage and express procedure process and knowledge systems.

Maybe it looks like this: It relates to the Chuck Frey interview of Visual Mapper via this article.


 Let’s start a conversation, meaningful dialogue and movement forward.