Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Part Deux: The feedback cometh. Wojciech Korsak of Explorer Consulting

Part Deux: The feedback cometh. Wojciech Korsak of Explorer Consulting

Wojciech is based within Poland and services the business needs of the knowledge management arena within the EU zone. A master of his approach to Visual Business Management, his skills sets are numerous and he has established himself and his associates as the go to place for all things graphical Business Management.

In answer to: The Evolution of the Visual Mapper (Part Deux)?

Do you believe the Visual/Knowledge mapping arena has experienced a measurable advancement since the publication of the original article?

If yes: what do you believe have been the most relevant advancements?

IMO, undoubtedly "yes"; elements such as:
  • Cloud sharing
  • Cloud co-working on same document
  • Internal calculations
  • Advanced filtering
  • Tagging topics (very important in my work)

These are all key element advancements that indicate we've moved forward as Knowledge Mappers.

Further: the flexibility viewing in various formats allows the user freedom to present knowledge in different ways to graphically communicate the connections between topics. This option is very useful to present topics as diagrams, and not merely as a typical mind map structure.

Most importantly we are exchanging data. It's so convenient to view topics and maps in various output formats: mind maps, process maps, Gantt charts, metro maps, info graphics, sales dashboards,... A most excellent example is CS Odessa's ConceptDraw Office; the engineered balance of: MindMap, Project and PRO independent yet interdependent products is genius.

If not: what have been the most notable failures of advancement?

What are the consequences for the arena based on advancements and/or failures?

To be frank; we must and have moved forward from mere hand drawn visual representations of information and knowledge. Of course you have the ultimate choice between hand or digital based solutions.

In my work, as a Knowledge management consultant; I approach business knowledge using various graphical formats to assist, coach and teach business managers to begin handling and expressing their data, information and knowledge in graphical formats. Static diagrams have their place, but interactive sales dashboards, knowledge bases, projects dashboards; they hold the future within database file architecture environment.

Are we there yet as a mainstream addition or alternative to established productivity tool-sets?

Well there's many interesting formats that provide solutions knowledge management.

IMO there's 3 main groups of users.

[1] Classical mind mapping users (Tony Buzan hand drawn)
[2] Software mind mapping that has morphed into the multiple graphical formats of Visual Mapping
[3] Database use with a graphical bent who us multiple IT solutions to create, manage and present knowledge

To shock you; I actually use 15 unique software and cloud products to accomplish my approach to Visual business management. So it all depends on who and what needs to be presented: it may be simple static diagrams or interactive knowledge bases.

How do you envision the future of Visual/Knowledge mapping arena

Well I hope we'll arrive at, as Gregory Zhukov CEO of CS Odessa states, “A common file format”. I really do hope, as my colleague Wallace Tait hopes for too, as it would enable the presentation and exchange of data, information and knowledge so much easier. Many of my clients confirm the need and want of a common graphical knowledge database. For me as graphical dashboard junky, this would be a users dream come true.

Part Deux: The feedback cometh. Jamie Nast of Idea Mapping Success

 Part Deux: The feedback cometh. Jamie Nast of Idea Mapping Success

In answer to: The Evolution of the Visual Mapper (Part Deux)?

Do you believe the Visual/Knowledge mapping arena has experienced a measurable advancement since the publication of the original article? Yes
  1. If yes: what do you believe have been the most relevant advancements?

I can only speak of my own experience. Since 2010 I’ve taught my Idea Mapping Workshop to over 5000 professionals.
The companies where I’ve taught have taken me to a wide array of countries and organizations including these notables:
    - Poland for the last 8 years to be part of a project sponsored by the Ministry of Regional Development and the European Union. This program has been recognized for its excellence by the Office of the Prime Minister.
    - One of Abu Dhabi’s largest oil companies - Takreer
    - Amman Jordan
    - Presentations for PMI and IIBA annual conferences with standing room only
    - PRA International: A clinical research organization
    - Ball State U & Middle Tennessee State University
    - A 3-year contract with the largest aviation company in the world
    As a result of these workshops I’ve seen such a vast variety of uses for mind maps; many of which I cannot expound upon due to the proprietary nature of the content. I’ve seen tremendous personal and professional growth in astounding numbers of workshop participants. Other advancements would include the Biggerplate movement and the Using Mind Maps Magazine.

    2. NA

  1. What are the consequences for the arena based on advancements and/or failures?

The consequences are like a snowball that is picking up steam. I only see a continued desire to embrace mind mapping and other visual tools that enhance learning, thinking and productivity.

  1. Are we there yet as a mainstream addition or alternative to established productivity tool-sets?

In pockets, but still have a way to go.

  1. How do you envision the future of Visual/Knowledge mapping arena?
The biggest change I’ve seen is that people finally get that you can’t just throw a software package at a user and expect them to “get it.” I see the trend changing to teaching learners the theory behind mind mapping then followed by the potential use of a software tool. This gives mappers deep knowledge of both hand-drawn and software generated maps. Now the purpose of creating a mind map can determine the venue.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Part Deux: The feedback cometh. Young G Chung: CEO, SimTech Systems, Inc

In answer to: The Evolution of the Visual Mapper (Part Deux)?

As CEO of SimTech Systems Inc I'd like to share my thoughts with you.

Yes we've been the developer of MindMapper and Thinkwise for the past 20 years. And regarding the question of visual thinking arena's past, present, and future?

Visual thinking is one of the thinking attributes born to all human beings. However, there are different methods and degrees of visual thinking, but in all, everyone, whether they know it or not, thinks visually.

Visual mapping software is an excellent tool that helps users to think creatively and logically utilizing the tree structure as a visual backbone. However, we must realize that visual mapping is just one method out of many that facilitate visual thinking.

Let's look at the advancement in the visual mapping arena from the software perspective only. Computer generated mind map was available in the mid-1990s. Digital mind map market really opened up when the market received with enthusiasm MindMapper's key feature of converting a map to an MS Word document for the first time at Comdex 2001.

Before and after 2010, we witnessed increased expansion of creative thinking at the team level by utilizing collaboration. And currently, individual and teams are using mobile and the cloud for visual mapping needs.

The biggest contribution visual mapping has made is that visual diagramming skills only available to professionals were now accessible to many to help simplify and expedite their daily activities. In short, it has fundamentally contributed to achieving happiness and success by utilizing visual and whole brain thinking capabilities given to all human beings.

A lot of people are still puzzled and want to know why the visual mapping software industry has not solidified itself as mainstream. But, one must ask if such question or the expectation is valid and beneficial.

A lot of people cannot distinguish the difference between visual mapping and mind mapping. Visual thinking and visual tools had been around even before mind map existed and they are not limited to a tree structure visualization.

Visual mapping products, when they came to market, emphasized main benefits and positive effects inherent only to mind mapping. As a result, mind mapping became a buzzword to the general public equating it to visual thinking.

Many visual mapping software developers from 2000 to 2005 have used mind map for their marketing efforts. However, as time passed, many have realized that mind mapping software is nothing more than information visualized in a tree structure and started to lose interest in the whole arena. On top of that, it is tough to replicate the original mind map's memory benefits from a digitally created map. Ironically, mind map has contributed to the rise of the visual mapping market, however, in the process, it has contributed to the loss of visual mapping identity and definition.

Salt is used in almost all food. However, salt is never presented as food itself. Visual thinking is God-given natural talent that everyone uses in their daily activities. But, mind mapping technique or tree-based visual mapping is just a small part of visual mapping arena. We all know of a visual mapping developer who positioned itself as a project management tool in the early 2000s as a way to distinguish itself from the rest of the industry but had failed to emerge as a viable project management tool.

Mind mapping or any tree-based visual mapping software can work together along with groupware, ERP, and such, to create synergy, but they can never become a substitute or replacement. From this perspective, I foresee future products integrated with the mainstream products or evolve to combine technology such as DB, Big Data, and AI with visualization using visual mapping.

MindMapper also has contributed to the growth of visual mapping arena for the past 20 years. "Value creation through innovation" is MindMapper's direction for the next stage of development. To create value, you need to ideate and execute. Our goal is to evolve into a more comprehensive tool that can facilitate idea to action. And our current iteration, MindMapper 16 is the first product development process accomplishing this objective.

Thank you;

Young G Chung
CEO, SimTech Systems, Inc.
Developer of MindMapper

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Part Deux: The feedback cometh. Phil Sheperd.

In answer to: The Evolution of the Visual Mapper (Part Deux)?

Phil Sheperd the founding director of Gooisoft Ltd and developer of the most intriguing Thortspace: a 3D visual thinking tool gives his knowledgeable feedback to the questions posed by Visual Mapper.

One of the refreshing things about your approach, Wallace, is that you are clearly open to true innovation and not restricted by any form of preconceived ideas.

Mind-mapping works brilliantly in all its forms and in all its iterations for the purposes it is built for and I am sure that this is why, over the last thirty years or so, mind-mapping in general has gathered such an enthusiastic following amongst senior managers (just look at the superb Biggerplate annual survey to see who actually uses mind-mapping in the work environment).

But Mind mapping is only part of the story... In the original report from 2010,  Nick Duffill of Harport Consulting says "Visual mapping includes but is not limited to mind, concept, flow and argument mapping. Of course there are more tools included; but for the sake of argument these tools adequately cover the graphical capabilities of Visual mapping. Visual mapping may be a useful term to bridge the gap and emphasize the common goal of both mind maps and other data visualization formats."

One or two of your readers may know, my colleagues and I have been quietly building a collaborative 3D thought processing tool specifically for problem solving, where
the 'juice' is in the process rather than a finished map and the main influences have not been mind-mapping or knowledge mapping but philosophers, modern psychologists and gaming-quality graphics-card capabilities so, although avid observers of all things graphical-thinking related, we could be perceived as working outside the mapping genre so I'm not sure we qualify to answer your questions(but I'll have ago anyway!)

Do you believe the Visual/Knowledge mapping arena has experienced a measurable advancement since the publication of the original article?

If yes: what do you believe have been the most relevant advancements?
1. Five and a half years is a very long time in the technology world so I would have expected quite dramatic advances. As Moore's Law has continued to prevail, there have been massive changes in hardware and computing power and big reductions in cost of access during this time. I don't yet see the world of Visual/Knowledge mapping having advanced at the same pace over this same period. That's not to say there haven't been any advances at all; there have been many superb incremental software improvements. Then there's been the growth of Biggerplate which, although specifically Mind Mapping oriented, represents an opportunity for promoting the genre to a wider audience.
During this particular five year period, however, Leaps and Bounds could have been expected - but I haven't seen them.

If not: what have been the most notable failures of advancement?
2. Perhaps there's been a general lack of breakthrough thinking about what might be possible using rapidly changing technological advances - but that applies to both users and developers.
There's a chicken and egg problem here. Developers have to take very expensive risks when investing in something highly innovative, because potential mainstream customers are very quick indeed to reach for their "too hard to learn" and "learning-curve time-investment" OFF switches almost before they get started and/or make a purchase decision.

What are the consequences for the arena based on advancements and/or failures?
3. The consequences of not investing in paradigm shifting innovation will simply be that those who do (on both sides, developers and users) will move rapidly forward while those who don't, will probably just stay where they are.
Grabbing the attention of a wider customer base is not easy but there is a growing group of potential customers in the young, millennials, who have much more open mindsets and are hungry for something different. Failing to inspire millennials with the beneficial possibilities inherent in visual knowledge mapping would be a wasted opportunity to say the least. There is a dilemma here of course; this is not the demographic that currently uses mind mapping in large numbers (see the Biggerplate survey)

Are we there yet as a mainstream addition or alternative to established productivity tool-sets?
4. The moment when one of the really big software corporations puts a visual/knowledge mapping tool into their mainstream product portfolio will be the time when maturity will occur.
This will be wonderful for all of us because we'll have a world in which untold numbers will realise that they can more easily solve problems, brainstorm, cope better with increasingly complex lives and collaborate across divides. It will also massively increase marketing possibilities for already existing development companies.

How do you envision the future of the Visual/Knowledge mapping arena?

5. As a medium for thinking and developing ideas, planning, collaborating and easily accessing and manipulating complex data, Visual/knowledge mapping can look forward to a very rosy future indeed but only if technological change is fully grasped.  The next five years are going to bring even greater innovative change to the technology world; indeed the only constant will be change itself.
We could see a breakthrough if developers can truly embrace and build for the needs of the millennial demographic in the context of up-coming 3D VR technologies

Above all, it will depend on the industry's ability to capture imaginations and powerfully demonstrate major advantages and benefits. How? Well, other industries have done it by collaborating and co-ordinating and investing in whole industry promotions....

Part Deux: The feedback cometh. Pofessor Toni Krasnic.

In answer to: The Evolution of the Visual Mapper (Part Deux)?

Toni Krasnic @ConciseLearning an academic and author of Concise Learning-student success is laser focused on the academic use of in particular Mind mapping in school-college-university settings.

Do you believe the Visual/Knowledge mapping arena has experienced a measurable advancement since the publication of the original article?

I haven't seen any real advancement in use of Visual/Knowledge mapping in schools.

If yes: what do you believe have been the most relevant advancements?

If not: what have been the most notable failures of advancement?

Students and teachers are still struggling to see the real benefits to use of Visual/Knowledge mapping in academia. They're not to blame; visual/knowledge mapper are. We haven't done our job in clearly explaining, via real life examples and user stories, how visual/knowledge mapping can benefit students and teachers.

In addition, when we have told stories, we have focused on the visual mapping process, rather than benefits, which has not helped with adoption. For example, many students still perceive visual/knowledge mapping as a drawing exercise they did in Kindergarten and first grade and is not useful in higher ed.

To advance the use of visual/knowledge mapping, we have to carefully choose our stories that we tell, and then tell lots of them and often.

What are the consequences for the arena based on advancements and/or failures?

We're still at a point where visual/Knowledge mapping is a novelty in schools, even after many decades of existence.

Are we there yet as a mainstream addition or alternative to established productivity tool-sets?

I haven't seen a mainstream addition although MindMeister is certainly making an impact.

How do you envision the future of Visual/Knowledge mapping arena.

Use of new technology/ideas spreads when there's a clear benefit to adopting them. Visual/Knowledge mapping arena will struggle until we clearly make a demonstration of benefits from its use. These stories have to come from common users, not just mappers, to have the most impact and relevance.

Part Deux: The feedback cometh. Hans Terhurne.

In answer to: The Evolution of the Visual Mapper (Part Deux)?

Hans Terhurne of creamatics @HansTerhurne has been a colleague for many years now, and his thought leadership within the EU regions of Netherlands/Germany relating to visual knowledge is very well known and exposed.

Yes, something has changed in the way visual mapping tools are marketed. More and more we see business examples and presentations focusing on business purposes at the sites of the software companies.

Visual mapping tools are not only our schematic ways of acting with all kinds of maps. Infographics are still nearby, but there are also visual thinking tools as photo, video, family/business constellations, cartooning/harvesting and theatre. Our specialisms are the schematic forms because of our backgrounds I think.

I think we still are focusing too much on the tools where it’s about the thinking process. We know our added value is interesting because of these tools, but still … Problem is that focusing on the process we have to compete with all kinds of other consultants and facilitators while we are/want to be those very special and valuable VISUAL facilitators.

We still struggle with the fact that a lot of people first have to experience our way of working before they have any idea what it could bring. Since their childhood people learned in a linear way. To change that to a more holistic thinking means a lot, it makes people a bit unsure or even anxious. And most people are already unsure and anxious because of all kinds of crises at this moment – better stick to the known way of working because you never know what will come out.

As Jeff Conklin and Paul Culmsee say it’s also difficult to work our way if there are hidden agendas. Sometimes the transparent picture is not wanted.

We are in a transition period which give us chances. Some companies and communities are looking for a dialog. A dialog means more listening than talking and with our tools we can structure this dialog. Also old solutions work less and less, so more and more people will be open for other ways of getting clear what should be done. Problems are getting more ‘wicked’ and the rational linear way of problem solving doesn’t work very well in such cases. An iterative process with the help of visual mapping is getting more interesting.

So it’s not about visual mapping, it’s about thinking of all kinds of things with the help of visual mapping. It’s about the process and we still are talking too much about the tools and if something may be called mind mapping as meant by Tony Buzan. It’s not important if we use mind/concept/whatever mapping. We can help to get a wider overview and a deeper insight with our way of facilitating and we know what tools are most helpful in a certain situation.

A problem is how to distinguish from ‘the others’.

Part Deux: The feedback cometh. Chris Griffiths

In answer to: The Evolution of the Visual Mapper (Part Deux)?

Chris Griffiths @GriffithsThinks is founder and CEO of OpenGenius, the company behind the iMindMap and DropTask brands gives his feedback below.

It was an excellent article. I felt your viewpoints were balanced and objective, as were those of many of your contributors. I did take exception to some of the comments made by others. It appears that many in the industry focus too much on trying to convince others that their new ‘visualizations’ are better than Tony Buzan mind mapping. Our viewpoint is that Tony’s original mind mapping process is very effective and that there are many other visualizations that are also very effective for specific tasks. To say one is better than the other is not constructive to the industry. It is, ultimately, a question of personal choice for users depending on what they are wanting to achieve.

Do you believe the Visual/Knowledge mapping arena has experienced a measurable advancement since the publication of the original article?

If yes: what do you believe have been the most relevant advancements?
Yes, clearly it has. More people in both education and business are becoming aware of the benefits of using visual tools to help them. There are now more software products / visualizations available meaning more choice of tools for specific applications.

If not: what have been the most notable failures of advancement?
The lack of combined input from the industry to educate the outside world as to the benefits of visual mapping.

What are the consequences for the arena based on advancements and/or failures?
It is inevitable that visual mapping will become more prevalent. Individuals that continue with old ways of working will get left behind.

Are we there yet as a mainstream addition or alternative to established productivity tool-sets?
Of course. It is a matter of overcoming the chains of familiarization that keep people using the same tool-sets.

How do you envision the future of Visual/Knowledge mapping arena
We have made much progress, but we are still in the infancy of the VK mapping age. More combined effort needs to be made by the industry, education and governments to promote the benefits of VK mapping.

Part Deux: The feedback cometh. Professor Pascal Venier

In answer to: The Evolution of the Visual Mapper (Part Deux)? 

Notable colleague and Academic professor Pascal Venier @pascalvenier has offered a summary of his thoughts as an answer to the questions posed at “The Evolution of the Visual Mapper part Deux

The evolution, or rather the lack of pertinent evolution, in the software industry is a huge disappointment. They fail to focus on what is important, ie the usability and purely visual dimension: this is very much the elephant in the room. Likewise the ability to switch between radial (mind-mapping) and hybrid (concept mapping) formats. The only cool new app I have seen since you wrote that piece is the Inspiration app for iPads, which gives a feel for what visual mapping could be like in the future; In writing this I visualize a Minority Report-like screen.
New pricing models based on subscriptions are not adapted to private users and make costs increasingly prohibitive”.

Friday, March 4, 2016

I Think Therefore I Might Mind Map

Another thought blog by Visual Mapper

I Think Therefore I Might Mind Map:

But should I?

A conundrum of a question for sure isn't it? We're 40+ years since the modern formalization of a hand drawn technique called Mind Mapping developed by the father of the arena; Mr. Tony Buzan.

Tony completely understood then as we now do; how the human brain works at a microscopic level and expressed it so beautifully as the mind map.

Looking at the synaptic explosion of connections within a mind map, and experiencing what can be achieved by utilizing the radiant graphical layout to express information and knowledge, is quite phenomenal for many. -----But not for all.

Why not for all?

Now as far as I'm concerned, mind mapping is an amazing graphical tool that simply must be experienced in order to understand the deeper implications for personal, academic and business advantages. And after that initial usage, it usually takes more than one pass; insights are delivered and epiphanies realized.

Yes there's something about mind mapping that takes you further down the rabbit hole of curiosity. And we never want to climb out of that rabbit hole, as we go deeper we realize we're evolving at an exponential rate regarding graphical information management.

The wide scope of uses have been realized by a few developers who've expanded upon the original Buzan concept. There's a few capable developers who've added functions and capabilities, presenting them within their products to the market as extremely effective business productivity tools.

Not for all though; and it's such a shame mind mapping has been almost relegated to the fringes of the mainstream many developers really did hope to conquer. It may still happen though.

The wholesale adoption just didn't pan out, and regardless of any well meaning attempts to drive mind mapping into the mainstream via associations, groups, forums and business models, it still hasn’t to date (1st Q 2016) gained any real measure of mainstream notoriety. There are of course outliers that doggedly presume mainstream adoption is just around the corner. Oh my: I may be one of them, but then I do dream.

I believe the “Why not for all” question is easily answered by the drive by most developers to laser focus their iteration of mind mapping to business, rather than a balanced offering to the general public too. Mind mapping has been marketed by most developers solely as a business tool.

Mind mapping can and does indeed cover the three distinct usage areas of personal development, academic enhancement and business productivity. But IMO to laser focus solely on the business arena has been to the detriment of fully exposing to personal and academic uses too.

We certainly can't blame the developers for aiming their marketing strategies at business use only. Taking a look at the majority of software offerings, it's clear they've added functions and capabilities personal users in particular simply don't need, require or demand.

So what is needed to happen in order for mind mapping to gain maximum exposure? Surely we visual thinkers with a mind mapping bent haven't been doing the exposure thing all wrong; have we?

From my perspective ThinkBuzan; the developer of the excellent iMindMap information mapping product; have like most other software mind mapping developers, joined the visual mapping genre offering multiple graphical layouts that transforms them into Visual mapping product.

The Mind mapping software developers realized that to have more or maximum exposure, they'd have to add more graphical formats and functions that would enable their products to be perceived as a business productivity tool-set.

And so the cost of having this kind of Visual mapping software went up, because it made marketing and financial sense by the developers to be perceived as growing in relevancy by an exclusivity of cost to user.

In reality we now have Visual mapping products that have expanded upon the original and traditional Buzan approach, adding graphical layouts such as concept type of mapping, rudimentary flow charting, Excel range inputs, calcs, Gantt and more.

The cost though; yes the cost always comes into it. But if the main marketing drive is towards the business arenas, businesses can indeed justify the cost of owning or subscribing to this visual mapping product/service?

But the personal users: can they justify the high cost of purchasing this kind of product? The price range doesn't seem to have a really wide affordability scope for single users. There are a couple of products that do lie within a really affordable range for the single user who has the cash to throw at a visual mapping product. But as a close colleague stated to me recently; “Wallace you do all this stuff with your visual mapping software and I can accomplish the same deliverable results using MS Office and other office product ranges”.

Damn don't you hate it when the reality check moment slaps you in the face? And yes it is indeed true that many simply don't tune into in particular mind mapping. And they may use other tools and formats such as flow charts, Excel and even info-graphics; producing similar results and in many cases a more comprehension rate of understanding by their recipients.

The challenge for those with a mind mapping bent like us? It's to integrate the format ever so subtly to our particular mainstreams. Whether it may be contained within an email as an image file or printed off and showcased in your office, factory floor or classroom; it's always been about the user taking the initiative. And that is a natural process for the mind mapper who's become so passionate about the tool and format to the point of being an evangelist for the format.

The developers know this and are delighted to see others create groups, associations and business models based on their tools. These user groups have become the unwitting unpaid marketers of their products. But the question must be asked of most developers; why create your product knowing it has such a wide scope and then almost step back and watch the landscape be produced by well meaning enthusiasts?
Another conundrum of course; the developers have actually enabled the arenas associated with mind/visual and knowledge mapping to be defined by the users to a point. Ultimately though the developer controls the product/service.

Questions just start piling upon each other after awhile and the developers arena gets fogged over by crisis of identity, purpose and relevancy. After all we do have a huge and ever growing tool-box called Visual Mapping that includes but isn't exclusive to mind mapping.

But Mind mapping endures by the very nature of the arena that has been developed mainly by the users. The developers have tried to create community and togetherness according to their file format. And for the most part they've failed to go mainstream due to the lack of community and togetherness.

I mentioned file format; this has been the enduring battle for supremacy between developers. My format is more popular that yours eh. It's still relevant as MindManager, ImindMap and Xmind file formats have become the most used formats.

Regardless of all the confusing and distracting issues associated with the mind mapping arena; I remain to be a knowledge consultant with a mind mapping bent. And yes, I equally use flow charts, concept maps, statistical ranges and info-graphics too. I'm a Visual Mapper.

I Think Therefore I Might Mind Map: and YOU?