Thursday, December 31, 2015

If they're all the same; where's the innovation?

Another short thought blog by Visual Mapper



If they're all the same; where's the innovation?

For me, it's clear there's divisions within the visual mapping arena. And let's be straight, the word “arena” is used loosely when defining an area that visual mapping belongs to. It may be imagined.

But firstly I'll use the term “visual mapping” to define where we're at regarding software tool development. Mind mapping came first, and IMO Mr. Tony Buzan is the embedded acceptance as being the author and founder of hand drawn mind mapping. So let's not argue about that sticky subject for some. Yup, there's concept mapping too, but that is indeed a different animal.

The “arena” is indeed a sticky one for me, as we use that term almost flippantly to gesture away any potential challenges to there being an actual arena in the first place. But, the arena definition is in fact propped up, or was originally developed and propped up by a cottage industry like fervour for the mind mapping tool to become an accepted and viable software tool for ideation and information mapping.

This “cottage industry” was originally a single person or team approach that took mind mapping from being a hobby pastime software development to being something that seemed to be a viable commercial offering. That is; if it was marketed well, and further developed as a tool that could be integrated with other real mainstream tools. Has this ever happened in reality?

Okay; so it's taken us quite a few years to get to where we are today regarding software offerings. We even have cloud integration now; and even a couple have evolved into relational database approaches.

Price? Back in the genesis days, the software was super affordable, yes it had rudimentary capabilities in the early days. Looking at what we have available these days seems like an evolutionary synaptic explosion has occurred. Oh my: we have software products such as iMindMap, Mindjet MindManager, ConceptDraw Office, MindGenius, Xmind, MindMapper and many others; the list goes on.

But here's the thing; the visual mapping products are all beginning to suffer that dreaded auto sector curse of uniformity. Yup they're all looking pretty similar regarding capabilities and functions; the only thing that separates them is user interface. Whilst there's nothing wrong with that at all; the arena offerings boil down to UI look and feel and yes price.

So; If they all offer the same capabilities and functions: where's the innovation?

I personally haven't seen much innovation other than the inclusion of Gantt charts; and SimTech were the first to offer that along with MS Word integration many years ago before any other developer.

So; what innovation do you expect or even demand from the developers? And the question of identity through “arena”; what's your thoughts? And if it just boils down to price due to the uniformity of capabilities and functions; who's going to win there?

I won't blab on any further, as that's all it becomes; blabbing.

Time for you to blab now.

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