Monday, December 26, 2016

The state of the mind-visual-knowledge mapping nation?

Another comment by Visual Mapper

The state of the mind-visual-knowledge mapping nation?

I really like to watch the state of the nation speeches presented by the premiers of respective countries. They often present the prognosis of the presumed ailments of their economies and societies, and in turn justify the onslaught of media redirection. Somewhat likened to an infinity loop; it’s a little confusing as to whom is first or last, but they seem to feed into each other and therefore can’t do without each other for their sustenance and continued existence. Oh my: that sounds parasitical.

CEO’s do the same and IMO they have the same agendas. We are indeed all enslaved, to a degree; by the edicts, prognoses and re-directions of these thought leaders of their own domains.

We don’t seem to have this collectivization of mindsets within the mind-visual-knowledge mapping arenas do we? And maybe that’s a good thing, as the innovation and creativity that is birthed from the apparent independence of the three arenas seems to be really good for private and corporate futures.

The fierce independence of all software/service developers within these arenas IMO may though be the downfall or gridlock to further creativity and innovation within the mind-visual-knowledge mapping arenas.

How so? Well as I’ve blabbed on about before; ALL the current mainstream products do the same thing. Yes there’s a few (maybe a couple) who innovate somewhat with their addins and solutions, but strip away the addins and solutions and you’re left with a bare skeleton that has no muscle and substance.

Recently I spoke of the awesome discussion I had with Chuck Frey a few years ago regarding enabling the creation of a Visual MappingBody of Knowledge (VMBoK). Further to this BOK I believe we need to have the mainstream (or maybe ALL) gather together for a round table meeting to hash out the current and future probable states of where this arena is or should be heading. Oh my; would it be possible to do such a thing without making all the developers feel like they’re being herded into the abattoir?

I personally don’t fancy the chances of the mind-visual-knowledge mapping arenas chances of progressing further without some kind of respective coming together at an agreed place as a collective to openly discuss the current state of and potential (probable) futures of this most essential tool set, methodologies and mindsets of the respective arenas.

But of course this little thought blog is my kind of tongue in cheek way of prompting my friends and colleagues within these arenas to get their fingers out and do something that resembles meaningfulness.

And yes Wallace Tait: Visual Mapper has always been (and remains to be) one who isn’t afraid to stir up a hornets nest in order to get things moving.

What do you think? Do you have an opinion, are you a developer, a writer or an enthusiast? Regardless of where you’re positioned within these arenas it is so important to get involved in constructive discussions.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Visual Mapping Body of Knowledge dream

Another thought blog by Visual Mapper

The Visual Mapping Body of Knowledge dream

I recall during 2009 being interviewed by Chuck Frey: yes the one and only, the most notable blogger of all things mind mapping. And during that interview titled The case for a Visual Mapping Body of Knowledge Yes that moustache and younger face (lol); Chuck asked me a few questions regarding my thoughts on the potential, relevancy and realness of a proposed VMBoK back then.

I haven't changed much since the Chuck Frey interview regarding my stance on a VMBoK. Of course there's variation in everything, and ideas change somewhat over time, yet while I, as most have, developed (evolved) throughout the years; my ideas, hopes and aspirations of a VMBoK remain constant.

The mind mapping arena, if we are to face reality, has struggled from the get go to establish itself as a viable and accepted addition to established productivity practices. And as I'm writing, I am also drawn to the fact that it may have been a tool formalized way before its time, as it may be coming into its own now (end of 2016).

Oh if I could time travel; I would have approached Mr Tony Buzan, the man responsible for formalizing hand drawn mind mapping. I would have informed him of his graphical methodology being emulated and plagiarized by competing software developers, the ensuing failed capitalistic drive, the file format and cloud wars. And oh the things that were added to mind mapping software in an attempt to make it more relevant, such as Gantt, calcs, and all of those awesome add ins by third party developers. Would I dare tell him if I travelled back?

But I can't time travel: and here we are (end of 2016) and there's a reality of a plethora of software products based on, and expanded upon, the original Buzan mind mapping methodology. The price and file format wars are something to marvel at.

As much as the original intents of the Buzan approach was to take mind mapping to the masses, it has indeed taken some time to enable it to be even imagined as a tool that covers personal development, academic enhancement and business productivity.

Mind mapping has arrived though, and it must be noted that there's a hierarchy. The Buzan approach in and through Think Buzan, the developer of iMindMap has such a huge following that it exists as an entity untouchable by any and all other software developments within the, in particular, mind mapping genre. Recent further developments of iMindMap, and the rather good associated/integrated DropTask service has proven the relevancy of the Buzan project management approaches.

Then we have the well heeled behemoth; Mindjet, the developer of the most powerful yet complex business mind mapping product available. The product is called MindManager and it is the undeniable leader of graphical business mind mapping genre and arena. All others have aspired to be as great as Mindjet. And the recent Corel acquisition of Mindjet proves this arena isn’t quite done with surprises, creativity and innovation. Let’s see how this turns out in the long term.

Yet there's been a reality check for both iMindMap and MindManager. The genre branding of their products have placed them in position of a probable need to be re-branded.

Yes many are now using the term and definition of “Visual Mapping” to brand themselves as the provider of multiple formats of graphical expression. And as colleague Andrew Wilcox of Cabre stated some years ago; the mind mapping name may be in need of re-branding. And as much as I fully agree with Andrew, I would say even Visual mapping may become passe too.

There is notable developer that has as the other two mentioned, developed a very unique genre associated with their line of products too: they are CS Odessa; the developer of the ConceptDraw suite of productivity software. The ConceptDraw Solution Browser is simply amazing.

Yes there are of course others that have claim to this space too and I would say Xmind have captured many former users of those previously mentioned. The developers of Xmind seems to have been accepted, outwith the stronghold of Buzan usage as the peoples Visual Mapping software.

So we've got these products, and so many more; but they all pretty much do the same thing; don't they?

But the VM Body of Knowledge spoken of some years ago seems to IMO call out for relevancy and validation. How it may be given birth to must IMO be a not for profit structure. I shall however leave that to those more savvy that I regarding setting these things up, but I would gladly be an active part of such a venture.

Let’s consider the potential for such a Body of Knowledge; hoping you read Chuck Frey’s original interview of Visual Mapper and the myriad of informative works at his web pages.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

No Training Required

A really short comment from Visual Mapper

No training required:

I get willingly dragged into all kinds of work that requires visual information management. The majority is often graphical charting, and the scope of representation is really wide.

Flow, statistical, organizational, concept, project, scheduling and mind mapping. You may be the same kind of consultant I am; often we're all over the proverbial map regarding creating a big picture for ourselves and clients.

There's inherent problems when we use multiple tools to create, manage and share our project. The multiplicity of the tools used to generate the big picture often (if not managed effectively) fogs over the intended clarity of focus for our projects.

And that's where the often rejected tool of mind mapping comes into its own. It proves by way of the graphical framework the natural visual connectivity of all aspects of a project, gathering all together into a single point of access.

That single point of access is indeed the graphical framework of the mind map. Now although we use the Visual mapping tool-box to access, handle and utilize multiple formats to create, manage and express (exchange) our work; the mind maps, they kind of rule this arena.

The mind map not only now has embraced multiple formats into its graphical abilities, it becomes a repository of data, information and knowledge by the very nature of how we can attach files, documents and images of all kinds to the graphical framework of the mind map. And there's no doubt a database file architecture will be the next big thing for the mind mapping developers.

This single point of access is often referred to as a Master Map; IMO it's the most ideal format to manage all of your relevant data, information and knowledge.

Products such as TheBrain and Topicscape do this most effectively as they have mastered the relational database conceptualization within graphical knowledge mapping.

Easily done though with your preferred mind mapping product; the only drawback is the weakness of the single file architecture, but I'm confident developers are mulling over their response to this distinct weakness.

But: there's No training required, and if anyone tells you otherwise; they're spinning you. Yes, that age old sales marketing trap of; we have a tool that will transform you, but you need our training courses in order to experience transformation.


Mind mapping software is and should be self explanatory, and if it isn't; don't use it. Complexity is the mother of confusion, and as I see it, there's a few mind/visual mapping products that have built so much complexity into their software offering; so as to make their particular products useless and even wasteful ventures.

So remember: No training required