Origins: or the Genesis of something (anything) has its beginnings as a thought. This thought is the spark that motivates us to continue down a vein of creativity, innovation, production and distribution.
So as humans we create, innovate, produce and distribute (at the base level) our thoughts. And the advances of we humans throughout the ages has and remains to be dependent on thoughts, both individual and collective.
I wouldn’t dare dive into where thoughts come from; but like you, I have questioned whether we are merely biological chemical elements interacting or more. The scientists, spiritual leaders and skeptics can debate that one.
Taking a look at what we have been told is primeval expressiveness; yes those cave paintings that seem to suggest previous man was indeed a visual thinker who communicated using graphics (icons). Those graphics that have been collected and sifted seem to suggest previous man had a graphical language that was regional and may have even been global. In any case this use of graphics seems to point to an organized use of shapes to represent information and knowledge that may have been universally understood by viewers other than the original author.
As we travel through this part of the 21st century; technology has enabled us to understand each others languages easily by the use of smart translators. And we now seem to be re-entering an age of a standardized use of graphical expressiveness using graphics (icons).
The graphical recorders (GRs); those awesome talented artistic drawers of all things info graphics are the proof of the universality of graphical and iconic communications. From what the mind mapper throws into a mind map, the GRs extrapolate and expresses so much more succinctly as huge graphical stories.
There are distinct division to the whole though; regarding visual thinking, mapping and expressiveness. IMO these divisions seem to be asking (read screaming out) for a coming together (convergence). This convergence may be a place where we visual thinkers and doers can communicate, collaborate (maybe standardize) and create a knowledge base.
Yes I do harken back to the awesome Chuck Frey interview of the potential for a Visual Mapping Body of Knowledge (VMBoK). But I am indeed a tad nostalgic and lack the reality check to add logic to that romantic notion of a body of knowledge.
The distinct divisions within the visualizing arena are very clear. They’re not negative divisions at all, and if some seem to be; well it may be ego that makes it that way. My tool is bigger and better than yours is the cry of the ego from individuals and developers alike.
We have Mind mappers who insist their specific tool is the best. Some are awesome and deserve mention; yet many are simply awful as they simply plagiarize (oh yes they do) and fail to even emulate at the basic level or even improve upon what has been copied.
We have Visual mappers: the users of multiple tools. And IMO this is an arena that holds the key to the fabled VMBoK genesis, growth and continuous improvement. The Visual mappers care not for the tool they, you or I use; they are more interested in and focused on the results of what is being expressed.
Communication is a common thread throughout the use of mind mapping into and through the Visual mapping arena. But Visual mapping is not an actual arena, it’s merely a definition that identifies those who have understood what tools to use, what they are capable of and what end result is expected by the use of.
Mind mapping is an arena, and the sheer numbers of users proves this. But alas the divisions within the mind mapping arena has diminished its potential for (Real) mainstream exposure.
Yes: we do have a battleground of sorts that has been defined by the users of specific software/services expressing what the developers define as mind mapping. But I won’t get into the argument of who is best representative of the mind mapping arena and what tool is the best. I certainly have my favourites and I make no secret of that.
To the devout mind mapper, everything is a mind map and to the devoted visual mapper, everything is information that needs a carrier of expressiveness. Whether it be a mind map, concept map, flow chart or info-graphic; the visual mapper has an end in view and that is tangible and often monetized results. Yes mind mappers want results too, but my point is the definitions of perceived divisions of tools and outcomes.
So it can be confidently said that: Visual mapping includes but is not limited to mind/concept/flow mapping and many other graphical representations.
Anyone not associate with mind/visual mapping or the definitions and divisions of tools, methods may look upon this article and say: “yeah so what, I just get the job done”. And here’s the rub; we need that kind of comment to jolt us into understanding that, as John England ofMind-systems say: “Information is the centre of the Universe”.
Those looking in on the bubble we mind mappers have created is both intriguing and wasteful to those who don’t even use mind mapping or even consider themselves visual mappers.
It does seem to be that we have been so focused in on specific tools to the detriment of the intentions of creating, managing and sharing relevant data/information/knowledge. Yes the tools are extremely important, but if everything is a mind map to us; our audience simply won’t get it or may even ignore us altogether.
So we need the non users, who seem to get the job done, to help us see what route we should be taking. If at all these non mind mappers simply understand what tool to use and get the job done; does that not make them Visual mappers?
Here’s the other rub; these unwitting visual mappers are using the digital arena to further the use of instructional information, that aggregated data of words, images and numbers into knowledge by way of their use of relational databases.
Yes we have come a long way haven’t we? The mind map (or pseudo like structures) are now being given a newer and continuously improving expressiveness via graphical databases. I’ve mentioned my use of thebrain.com many times throughout my articles; and yes it does look like I’m some kind of spokesperson for the product/service, but I am merely a business user who enthuses as to how they have taken graphical thinking into the digital-cloud synced arena.
But these non users; we’ve got to listen to them, understand where they are coming from as they simply get the job done and care not for the tools as we do, but have created a mindset of productivity.
We must expand our reach and open the doors to a wider potential that may be able to crack open new and exciting realities for our skill sets that may respectfully converge and gain a wider expressiveness.