Monday, January 25, 2016

Better equipped to produce at optimum

Another thought blog by Visual Mapper

Better equipped to produce at optimum

The visual mapping knowledge manager of this part of the 21st century has the luxury of having access to a myriad of graphical tools and methodologies that infuse a forward thinking knowledge mindset: many of those graphical tools are awesome, some not so awesome.

This forward thinking mindset seems to place the knowledge manager in a position where she can indeed produce at optimum output regardless of arena of usage. The driver of this mindset? The absolute understanding of how knowledge, as an integral part of the information economy must be created with focus, managed effectively and reinvested as an improvement tool. That refers to the Information Economy spoken of in previous posts.

Producing at optimum, for me; seems to be a natural progression, development or evolution for the information handler who uses the tools and methods of mind to visual to knowledge mapping, thus developing themselves into the forward thinking knowledge manager.

But; recently I was given an insight from a colleague who is a notable professional knowledge manager. This insight? Well I was as usual encouraging my colleague of the merits of using the tools and methodologies of mind/visual mapping; that's what I do, I'm a visual mapper.

Now this colleague is a most visually expressive knowledge manager; but not at all interested in mind, visual mapping in general; PowerPoint (Nancy Duarte rules PP) and Photoshop (I use PS too) is her preferred tools for visualizing. And this got me started on a string of thoughts that challenged me to realize a few undeniable things about knowledge management, as a visual mapper.

  • Knowledge management is not reliant upon graphical formats whatsoever
  • Graphical frameworks can enhance but are not the core function of Knowledge management
  • Knowledge management seems to be a mindset independent of both linear/non linear formats

I developed a funky little method called T.A.P
  • T: tap into your thought processes by dumping your thoughts into a work space
  • A: arrange and add logic by grammar, spelling, grouping and associating
  • P: present in a format that suits your intended recipients

I shared this in a left >>> right visual map format. But this colleagues insight reinforced my thoughts that the mapped format wasn't the driver at all; it was the textual procedure that was the explanatory driver. I am however a Visual mapper realizing the visual mapping tool-box includes but isn't limited to mind mapping. So the framework is the carrier, regardless of format, and the textual procedure associated with process is the explanatory and/or motivational driver.

So as much as my knowledge manager colleague expressed a disinterest in mind mapping as a format, I believe we visual mappers must, with clarity, state the format is merely the carrier of contextual information (usable knowledge).

To me; this confirms a disconnect between the mind mapping arena and the wider visual mapping arenas. On one hand the mind mappers believe it's best to express information and knowledge within the mind map carrier, and on the other hand, the visual mappers use the myriad of (mostly) graphical frameworks as carriers of expressed data, information and knowledge.

So when I stated above that “Graphical frameworks can enhance but are not the core function of Knowledge management”, I don't want to seem to contradict my firm belief that Knowledge management is best contained within a graphical format when used within a relational database environment. See TheBrain and Topicscape as examples.

The myriad of tools and methods we use to reach that point of knowledge management may or may not be via graphical formats, but I firmly believe we eventually end up with the intrinsic need for data, information and knowledge to be contained within a graphical framework such as the examples referenced to.

More questions than answers for sure, but the nature of my recent blogs insists on asking you for your unique answers. I do continue to believe the knowledge manager of this part of the 21st century shall eventually end up with a database architecture graphical framework. And she is better equipped to produce at optimum while using and utilizing graphical database frameworks. How you get to that point is a journey either inside or outwith the visual mapping tool-box.


John England said...

The initial 'knowldge dump' can be in any format that the Knowledge Manager finds effective i.e. ease of recording information and one that does not impede creative flow. I have for years advocated the Method neutral' approach which means that the methods and tools used are unimportant PROVIDING they enhance (rather than hinder) knowledge collection/correlation. The factors that control this included the source, the environment and the recipient.
Another factor often overlooked is information/data retrieval. In general database search systems require text based searches, so were does that leave you if you are using graphics extensivly e.g infomatic type presentations? I am only aware of one system which allows you to search for graphics as against text. The is the visual search engine in Bluebeam PDF software. ( I would suggest that until visual search is a common feature Knowledge storage and retrieval will be greatly restricted.

Wallace Tait said...

I agree John, and the "Method Neutral approach align nicely with the T.A.P method too.I also like the idea of standardized sets of icons/images & logos associated with ease of navigation throughout a relational database. It's not too difficult to code this function in to run in tandem with textual searches as a choice for the user of a relational database.

I believe Nick Duffill wrote a white paper some years ago examining this very issue.