Monday, June 1, 2009

You're an Information Manager; did you know that?

Oh yes you are, and let’s not argue about that one.

One of the wonderful aspects of being Human is the ability to clothe our thoughts in words. Of course these words build up and equally demolish. This paradox is reconciled in the degree of intelligent use of words. We all choose our thoughts which in turn create our words. Words are data.

Data when aggregated becomes information, which then must be contextualized in order to exhibit a level of knowledge. This knowledge must be organized in order for it to be of any constructive use for the furtherance of the human condition. Therefore we manage information.

Now this is something we actually do naturally, but many of us have willingly given up this uniquely human attribute. So in this age we map out information and, in doing so we rely on tools, techniques and mindsets that take care of our ever growing information management needs.

Are you with me?

Some of us hand draw, doodle and Mind map, and some of us have chosen to rely on technology. Tony Buzan is credited with formalizing hand drawn Mind maps. In many ways, the developers of current information management software based on Mind mapping, wouldn’t be around if it wasn’t for Buzan.

The evolution of synaptic thinking, a term coined by Patrick Baker, started with rudimentary hand drawn doodles, and just look where we are now. As of the date of this post, we have over 100 software products jostling for a piece of the sales pie associated with the information mapping arena.

Where are we heading is the question. It is rather difficult to say at this time, but IMO, we may have to see many software apps being victims of the chaos that precedes great leaps forward in innovation.

Whole brained or integrated thinking is becoming an essential requirement for the success of the information manager of this century. Most of the apps associated with Mind/Visual mapping to date have failed to grasp the need for flexibility and multiple modes of information and knowledge expression.

So you’re an information manager, and where do you want to go from here? Connect with me and let me know?


Blusky said...

I certainly agree with Wallace’s comments, however my thinking in this area has become somewhat polarised. I call the “polarisation” enlightenment rather than tunnel vision! Let me explain. During the preparation of a comprehensive set of templates for our new Information Manager (Mindsystems Amode) it suddenly occurred to me that just about everything in life consists of a series of “processes”, sometimes simple and sometimes more complex. For example brainstorming: regardless of the method, (e.g. lists or mind maps) the process starts as random items of information and evolves into patterns (This of course is a perfect example of Chaos Theory). However in order to use those patterns they must be finally assembled into “sequences” or “procedures”.
So while agreeing that we must consider ourselves as “Information Managers” it seem unlikely to me that we will not be successful unless we can generate and follow sequences and procedures. By the way, I do not see a procedure as being “set in stone” but rather as start point which help us be more efficient by both avoiding reinventing the wheel and giving us consistent start point upon which we can build.

Wallace Tait said...

It’s a pleasure having John England MD of Mindsystems comment.
I agree with your comments regarding process. It is however clear that process is the “what” and procedure is the “how”. Many are confused regarding procedure and process and often use these terms interchangeably. The Data/Information/Knowledge/Procedure/Process/System flow can be as complex or as simple as the creator wishes. The whole process flow is in the process itself.
Depending on the individual understanding of the flow, formats may or may not be relevant, but I personally adhere to using a non linear mode to create my initial Data/Information flow, moving on to a more logical tree mode to manage the Knowledge/Process/System flows.
From chaos comes order; Data becomes Information, which then (when contextualized) becomes Knowledge, and so on. The patterns that emerge from chaos (as you very well put) give us the ordered sequences of procedures.
An understanding of the Data/Information etc flow is essential to the “Information manager” enabling her to Create, Manage and exchange the building blocks of process and system with ease and efficiency.
How we do this graphically is the question. Mind map/Flow chart/ Tree/Concept; One or all of these in a flexible workspace. The information manager must have tools available to be an integrated (whole brained) thinker using multiple formats (modes) that suit their Personal, Academic and Business environments.
The question is how do we do this and what tool/s do we use?

Adrian said...

"Most of the apps associated with Mind/Visual mapping to date have failed to grasp the need for flexibility and multiple modes of information and knowledge expression."

Hi Wallace,
I totally agree with you on this, excepting Mind Maps I found more than 50 other Knowledge Maps used for various purposes, the difference between them residing in the way labels for nodes and associations are chosen, the graphical signs used to represent them, the layout within page and the philosophies behind them. Users arrive to use 2-3 types of Knowledge Maps, having their own preferences; the ideal would be to have a software tool that allows the (concurrent) creation of multiple Maps and combine them within the same visual or logical space, allow the conversion between them and other formats available on the market. From what I saw there is a long way to go until achieving that.

In my Dissertation paper on a related topic I enumerated directly or indirectly about 20-30 requirements for such tools. I hope I can put it soon online.

Best regards,

inventory pos system said...

I appreciate your post, thanks for sharing the post, i would like to hear more about this in future.