Sunday, August 2, 2009

Visual Mapping and the Information Economy

Visual mapping is: “A systematic and graphical framework for expressing information and knowledge”

We do indeed live and work in a linear world when it comes to academics and business. Taking a look at our established formats for communicating information and knowledge, there’s no denying, we clearly rely heavily on linear data, thinking and processing.

Linear communications are essential; but not always the best format to convey information and knowledge in a succinct and clear manner. As a professional visual mapper I firmly believe that non-linear information and knowledge communication tools that are readily available can, and do, enable you to experience exponential increase to information management handling processes.

A lack of clarity and focus is what causes constraints within information exchange and knowledge growth. In this century, professionals are compelled by established systems to merely maintain the status quo of their respective information economies. Effective communication is essential to organizational efficacy, but we rarely see this as a reality within overwhelmed business environments where communication clarity and focus is not only expected but demanded.

The information economy is defined as: “Knowledge and information that ultimately affects process, system and organizational business investment”

Information has become a commodity that is exchanged both internally and externally within information economies. These economies are our established organizational systems, which in many cases have been overlooked with dire consequences to the organization. Corporate scandals of the late 90’s were characterized by the abject mismanagement of organizational information economies. This can be avoided by adopting the tools and techniques of visual mapping into your business functions.

“Knowledge as the main element of the information economy is of no profitable use unless it is created with focus, managed effectively and re-invested as an improvement tool”

Information is what knowledge is made up of and, we must take responsibility for the successes and failures of our information economies, after all, our information economies are what enable, assure and secure our personal, academic and business future successes.

Visualize a national financial reserve being a knowledge bank and the information economy as being the supplier of the resources that secure the strength of this institution. It makes logical sense that the continuous supply of resources is essential to the strength of the reserve. This is indeed how we should be viewing our information economies. Whether you are an academic or business professional, the continuous development of your information commodities ensures your strength, existence and further survival. Taking a further view of the information economy, we see that it is absolutely impervious to any kind of recession. Global economical recessions do not affect information economies, while a downturn or recession is happening; the one thing that remains constant is information exchange. Information being a priceless commodity that supplies our knowledge banks ensures our survival through the most severe of global effects of recession.

Where does Visual mapping fit into this information economy you may be asking? I firmly believe that the tools and techniques of this graphical framework, is more than capable of enabling you to experience an exponential increase in your information management skills.
We are all information managers, whether we acknowledge it or not, the fact that we create, manage and exchange information to gain knowledge is testament to the human need for expansion. Within academia and business we must manage information for greater good of the systems that we support. There are various degrees of information management efficiency yet, we see time and time again that the information managers who connect with the visual mapping approach, see the bigger picture and gain absolute control of their information economy.

The exponential gains experienced using the tools and techniques of visual mapping add to the financial bottom line of the environment of use. For the academic the gain is effective formats for enhancing student and faculty information exchange and management. The business system is relieved of information gaps that may affect further expansion of information resources and organizational processing.

The gains to business at all levels are experienced by enabling corporate communications to be managed from a “master map database”. This master map is the realization of visual mapping as being a “graphical framework for business improvement”, thus adding to the financial bottom line of corporate profit.

Information management, quality system analysis and improvement are but a few of the benefits of using visual mapping to exponentially add to the bottom line of any business function. The financial constraints associated with time management and organizational training is known to be aspects of business and academia that often cause frustration at the base level and financial loss at a higher level. I firmly believe the tools and techniques of visual mapping to benefit all aspects and functions of any business or academic institution.Visual mapping will enable you and your teams to become more effective communicators and information managers who effectively improve upon the bottom line associated with your working environment.

4 comments:

John C England said...

That is thought provoking information Wallace ... thank you. I would like to make a couple of points:
• Information is certainly largely independent of economic crisis, but is Knowledge? I believe knowledge is synthesised from information and is largely situational i.e. what can be classed as knowledge is dependent on the circumstances. If this is accepted then significant changes in the economy can make the more tradition knowledge bank irrelevant in a short space of time. This all point to the need to ensure our information handling systems are not only flexible but very nimble on their feet.
• I do think that it is worth underline something which is perhaps, considered somewhat “passé” these days, and that is the important of left/right cortex linking that occurs when visual mapping is properly used and implemented. It is critical to ensure the techniques we use have a balanced (i.e. method neutral) to linier and graphical techniques. If ever there was a time we need to be “firing on all cylinders” it is the current environment ... so let’s harness every technique we can!

Wallace Tait said...

Some things to consider:
Correspondence, polarity and cause and effect come into play here.
Linear is integral with non linear (correspondence). The human makes decisions based on thoughts that produce data, which is made up of numbers and words. This data, when aggregated, becomes information, which when contextualized becomes relevant information. Information feeds the concept of knowledge, and depending on the specific management of knowledge, it makes us more valuable. It has been said we humans have a left and right brain; in fact we have a single unit brain that has a left and right hemisphere connected with some heavy duty tissue (wiring). Science has proven that when we use our brains to make a logical decision, we visualize the outcome first. Equally it has been proven when we visualize a scenario; we are calculating a degree of logic associated with the image.
Looking at a thermometer we see the measurement of temperature (polarity). We see a series of horizontal lines that express measurement, this indicates hot and cold. Depending on the higher and lower levels, we understand temperature. Where does hot and cold begin and end? For some this is questionable, the same may be expressed with sharp and dull, high and low etc. The poles of understanding are an expression of the choices we make according to the correspondence of the data/information/knowledge processes.
Arriving at an understanding of why things happen (cause and effect) is crucial IMO. The interconnectivity between the two previously mentioned principles is evident. Causes have effects and effects have causes. The forward thinking information manager of this century is not either a left or right oriented thinker. This person is a visual mapper, a whole brained thinker who understands there is a process approach to expressing system using the tools, methods and mindset of visual mapping.
There is indeed a greater understanding of the implications of the monetized aspect of what we may call the information economy, and I firmly believe it is prudent to entertain the three principles mentioned.
“Information becomes knowledge, and did you know; it makes you more valuable when you use it”

Nick Duffill said...

The key word here that connects knowledge with visualisation is "contextualisation". This is the lens that makes information useful and usable, and is what visualisation does a hundred times better than linear text.

Kyle McFarlin said...

Wallace,

I enjoyed your post and have a functional comment: Make the supporting map preview graphic bigger in your posts as they're excellent and people may be missing them!