Saturday, May 14, 2011

This battlefield called Mind mapping

Navigating your way through the current choice of Mind mapping products is like discovering a new green field you intend to walk on, unknowingly to you, is loaded with landmines. I use this extreme visual imagery; conveying the reality of the battlefield mentality that has become the norm for prospective users and developers alike. 

When I wrote the article titled “Software Choices for the Information Manager”; at that time, I really did believe all of the software viewed within the graphic was relevant, usable and useful.

As my dear wife (I call the Boss) often says; “Wallace you’re not often right but you’re wrong again”. I joke of course, but I can say; I was definitely wrong about a few of the products mentioned in that article. It’s certainly okay to be wrong; just as long as you admit it.


As of the date of this article I am really concerned as to the plethora (over abundance) of Mind mapping products, Some are excellent, some are great and many are, and remain to be, just awful.  Choice is good, but I would disagree with the abundance of choices associated with Mind mapping software; the choices have confused and sidetracked the real issue of effective information management via graphical frameworks


The divide between the software products (regarding relevancy and usability) is becoming both wider (for the many) and shorter (for the few), and the bridge for a small number of forward thinking developers seems to be the cloud (SaaS). And even at that; some lesser known developers may have jumped onto the cloud as a means of simply being visible, rather than being usable and relevant.

The reality of the Mind mapping arena is based on what the leading developers produce via R&D, listening to the Voice of the Customer (VOC) and the tenacity of the lesser known developers to challenge the status quo.

Other than the leading developers (there’s really only a few); the whole arena seems to be based on a cottage industry approach to software development. The cottage industry may be defined as a passion driven enchantment with tools and techniques. And if you disagree with my findings; simply take a closer look at the vast majority of software developers, and you’ll find they are either a family based business, single owner operators or dissatisfied former employees of the few leading Mind mapping developers.

I do however believe the cottage industry developers are completely relevant; the reality of further development of this arena, and without their tenacity and open mindedness; we just wouldn’t have that evolutionary push we continuously need within the Mind-Visual-Knowledge mapping arenas.

I am though amazed, disturbed and even fascinated by a clear practice of plagiarism within software development. Looking out of my office window, I notice lots of vehicles, and what strikes me; they all look the same but with different brand names. 

It has been said that plagiarism is the highest form of a compliment; I reserve my thoughts regarding this, yet I understand the copying of looks, functions and usability has been a common practice within many environments conveniently called competitor benchmarking.

Relating to Mind-Visual-Knowledge management; software tools seem to have diverted many away from answering a somewhat important question.

What is the relevancy of visualizing knowledge?

In past posts at Visualmapper; Hope I’ve accomplished a flow of informing readers of the absolute importance of understanding procedure, process and systematic approaches to information management.

There’s no doubt we’ve all been seduced along the way by a few software products. 

Software applications are important, and the methodologies associated with using the products are crucial for ease of integration.  Yet there’s a really important aspect of visualizing knowledge processes that has been sorely ignored or even willfully passed over by many of the developers.

It’s the mindset. Of course this certainly doesn’t translate into scalable sales for the developers.  But it’s a real shame some opportunistic developers merely create another mind mapping product that simply mirrors the leading and established competitors functionality.

Cost is certainly a key motivator for the end user, and the leading developers who wish to remain viable as producers of effective product should take note of the importance of cost to the end user. And we must be aware of the tablet battlefield that may be the change that’s needed as a challenge to developers of overpriced and bloated software products. A simple example would be the brilliant iThoughts HD for iPad.

The battlefield:

The battlefield mentality is coming to the fore again.  With newly announced strategic alliances between products (I do believe we may see more of this); and the coming out of a few of our colleagues with web portal approaches that offer very convenient social networking approaches for mainly mind mapping.

The current economical climate (seems dire doesn’t it) may be the catalyst for moving many of us to realize; we may be best positioned within strategic alliances with fellow colleagues and developers. The lines are being drawn though, and it seems to me; we are coming to a point of dividing those who do (or have) with those who don’t (or don’t have) the tools, associations and memberships to certain entities.

IMO and in my experience over the past (many) years of involvement within Graphical information management; it does seem we must enable a battle to take place between the many in order to view a more clear landscape of relevant software offerings.  Maybe the results will offer relevancy for the furtherance of the information-knowledge management arena that uses the graphical tools and methods of Visual mapping.

These are merely my musings about the state of the Mind-Visual-Knowledge mapping arenas; but more importantly are the views of you the readers.  I would enjoy reading and posting your thought’s, views and feedback regarding the state of the nation as it where.

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