Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Evolution of the Visual Mapper (Part Deux)?

Another thought blog by Visual Mapper

The Evolution of the Visual Mapper (Part Deux)?

September 2010: the blog titled The Evolution of the Visual Mapper gave available thought leaders within the mind/visual/knowledge mapping arenas an invitation to comment on the state of the respective arena's development, identity and potential future.

Some excellent comments from those thought leaders, yet that was September 2010 and this is the first quarter of 2016. And here we are some years later asking ourselves: have we experienced any kind of an evolution? Or to be more clear: has the mind/visual mapping arena moved us forward regarding the ways in which we create, manage and share data, information and knowledge?

For me: I've become rather misanthropic about, in particular the mind mapping arena; although I am very involved within the Visual/Knowledge mapping/management environments; I'm personally disappointed as to the lack of disruptive innovation in general.

Apart from my preferred software products/services, I look at the landscape of available products and view a plethora of software tools and services revealing we seem to have way too much product choices, yet the opposite is the case, as most products perform and look just the same. Yes uniformity has been the curse of the Mind/Visual mapping arena. And cost (affordability) seems to be the only real focus for prospective users.

Yup I've said this all before and indeed do sound like an old recording, so lets hand this over to the thought leaders within this arena. Where are they?

NOTE:
There was 18 invitations sent to notable visual thinkers I've worked with directly or closely associate with within the mind/visual/knowledge mapping arenas. And if you weren't in that initial invitation list; maybe it's because we've not worked directly with each other or associate with each other currently. But of course you need no invitation to make your comments and add your take.

Surprisingly (or maybe not) there were a few declines to add feedback and comment; this was understandable (and expected), as those who declined to comment may have been deeply embedded with mainstream developers. Any challenging comments may have had detrimental effects upon their business relationships with their supporting developers. No judgments; simply observations, I've certainly been there and done that.

Here's the questions I threw at the recipients:

Do you believe the Visual/Knowledge mapping arena has experienced a measurable advancement since the publication of the original article?
  1. If yes: what do you believe have been the most relevant advancements?
  2. If not: what have been the most notable failures of advancement?
  3. What are the consequences for the arena based on advancements and/or failures?
  4. Are we there yet as a mainstream addition or alternative to established productivity tool-sets?
  5. How do you envision the future of Visual/Knowledge mapping arena


So I waited for responses, and I waited, and then waited some more. Oh of course I'm impatient.

I'll post them as additions to this blog when they eventually trickle back to me.

We must indeed take a reality check regarding the Visual mapping arena. Yes and my reality check may be my that my colleagues are simply uninterested in my trivial questions.

On it's own; the mapping arena as I alluded to in the 2010 article, hangs its coat on a very shaky nail. I'll say again; the mind/visual mapping arena may owe its survival, relevancy and future recognition to established professional associations such as Quality management and business management.

These organizations may understand, accept and support the tools and methods of mind/visual mapping as an addition to their existing Quality and business management tool-box. So IMO it makes complete sense to be laser focusing in on these organizations. There are in fact many companies and organizations using the tools and methodologies we use (I've actually seen it being used), but I have found no evidence of organizational wide adoption of mind mapping in particular.

Have we experienced an evolution part deux? Well let me answer questions from my very tainted and subjective positioning. Ah! Maybe that is the issue for the recipients; are the questions constraining them from answering in a way that protects their approaches (consultancies and direct associations with certain developers)? Again; simply my observations.

Here's my answers according to my particular interpretation of the questions: Please add yours

Do you believe the Visual/Knowledge mapping arena has experienced a measurable advancement since the publication of the original article?
  1. If yes: what do you believe have been the most relevant advancements?
I would say the most notable advancements have been relating to cloud association, device usage and presentation outputs. And of course additions such as project management functions and calculation capabilities that actually already exist within mainstream products such as MS Project, Oracle products and other notable competitors.

  1. If not: what have been the most notable failures of advancement?
IMO: the most notable failure has been the lack of advancement from single file architecture to database file architecture.

  1. What are the consequences for the arena based on advancements and/or failures?
Consequences for the advancement? Hard to say when the advancements (as I see it) are limited to presentation and cloud. 

Consequences for failures? The failure to place the product in the hands of the common people; the focus on business use only may be the rock some perish on.

  1. Are we there yet as a mainstream addition or alternative to established productivity tool-sets?
Absolutely not:
The arena to this day has and remains to be perceived by many as a cottage industry and therefore fringe to the mainstream. If this were not the case we'd be exposed to mind/visual mapping more from the mainstream media.

The mainstream breakthrough may have been achieved by the Buzan approach due to the huge user base and apparent religious like fervor of followers associated with the real founder of Mind mapping; Tony Buzan, and the Think Buzan organization and the excellent Buzan mapping product named iMindMap. But then again Mindjet owned that space at one time, and may be back to claim it again for sure. But Xmind; they've scared everyone with their ever growing user numbers and rather good product.

  1. How do you envision the future of Visual/Knowledge mapping arena
It's all in the data load, and the further development of the single file architecture into a database file architecture is essential IMO. The desktop to cloud sync capabilities is equally essential. It is shockingly evident a few developers have missed the importance of the desktop to sync relevancy by the absence of an attachment load to their graphical frameworks.

Of course there's more that can be said, and my answers are merely my particular interpretations of the question. And yes there's lots more that can be added as answers, but this is an article that needs no conflated answers that read like tomes. 

Further developments have been interesting, but if I were to be an investor within some of these mainstream developers (and this also applies to my preferred products too) I'd be asking where the ***K are my dividends.

The developments since 2010 have been IMO embarrassingly slow to market; so slow that when they appear, they just feel so last year and 1.0 version type. Many of the additions compete with the established norms within academia and business arenas, and begs the question “Do we really need these functions and capabilities within mind/visual mapping products, when we already have them available within established standards offered by MS, Oracle and other competitors”?

Oh my; my cynicism really shines through eh. But I'm so much tougher on myself than with what I see as pseudo relevant developments within the Visual mapping arena. I present and teach this stuff for a living so I should be more upbeat shouldn't I?

Hey; in reality I am extremely upbeat about further developments, and if we ever have the opportunity to meet personally sometime, I'm sure you'd feel my enthusiasm for this arena.

As passionate as I am, I really want to make it respectfully clear to the developers that they've had great success offering excellent products to their respective user bases who've simply evolved way faster than their excellent products have, and it's time IMO to get back in touch with what users want, need and demand from mind/visual mapping.

There is one organization that has indeed accomplished the bringing together of, in particular, mind mapping users. It's www.biggerplate.com a huge associative entity, and as much as I am a former member of this most interesting entity, I highly recommend it as a Go To place for in particular the mind mapping arena outwith the huge arena that Buzan mind mapping rightly claims ownership of. Go visit Biggerplate.

And of course I must give deserved and acknowledged recognition to Chuck Frey. His very notable professional blog writings over the years has and continues to be a pillar of support for the mind-visual mapping and associated arenas.

Indeed I would enjoy feedback from associations, bloggers and knowledge management thought leader colleagues regarding these challenging questions. Hopefully we're working together through our networks and associations to serve this part of the 21st century's interest, grasp and use of visual Knowledge management.

Blogs are strange entities though aren't they? Almost anomalies. The viewing numbers here at visualmapper.org are constant; yet the replies and feedback are few and far between. Oh well; maybe that's another reality check eh?

The Evolution of the Visual Mapper (Part Deux)? ABSOLUMENT PAS!

TO BE CONTINUED

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