Sunday, July 26, 2020

Visual Mappers are unwitting Systems Thinkers; aren't they?

The Visual Mapper’s journey into systems thinking. Purposefully complicated yet shouldn’t be.

The first steps of many to the fulfillment of our goals are no doubt taken with trepidation. The apprehension associated with the steps, goals and paths we take on our journeys are somewhat predictable spaces or voids full of process and system potential.

The blank slate of your digital workspace is likened to that of the virgin canvas of the artist who looks into the void of the canvas and envisions what she desires to reveal.

This process of drawing out from that blank canvas is presently understood as a series of synaptic responses within our brain that culminate in actions. Some have posited it as an almost other worldly (non local) connectivity that’s ultimately revealed within the blank canvas. Currently I don’t tune into the other worldly posit.

I do however completely buy into the reality that we can take a blank digital computing workspace and create relevancy and meaning within a systematic framework. When I say systematically, I merely mean method.

We have tools, we have methods, we have visual representations of our intended communications. These individual elements come together (aggregate) into a whole that offers an emergence of thought, feeling and action. On their own they are merely elements; yes they do have their usefulness as independent elements, yet they are best expressed being aggregated into a wholistic representation.

Wholistic may be a reasonable term or definition to speak of regarding this aggregation.

Many of our notable Visual Mapping Knowledge Architect colleagues often speak of systematic thinking; and I understand the term and definition as it’s, for the most part; speaking of methodical or process oriented thinking. I’m big on process approaches too.

There are however very few of our colleagues who speak loudly and confidently in terms of Systems Thinking.

I’ve often wondered why: It’s a question that’s hard to answer as it’s analogous to getting blood out of a stone regarding experiencing dialogue under the systems thinking umbrella. From fellow visual mapping colleagues.

I’ve found though, there’s many within the visual mapping arena who’re not only systematic thinkers but are indeed systems thinkers who may have never realized they are or have simply never felt the need to declare or express they are.

The graphical mapping tools we use scream of system, yet we rarely speak of system or systems thinking in relation to the arenas we service and where our various expertise are expressed.

From QMS auditing, to inventory and production measures and process flows; we’re unwittingly involved within systems and interact and influence them too.

Taking into consideration we are unwitting systems thinkers who decline to express it too well; which is an oxymoron. IMO; we should be speaking of systems thinking more openly among our knowledge architect circles and learning from each other and also from the more formalized colleagues within the systems thinking arenas.

I chased my own tail like a dumb dog for a long time before I broke free from reliance upon a tool, and adopted a multiple formats approach expanding to the use of the Visual Mapping tool-box. And in doing so; I realized the progression from Mind mapping (single format) through to Visual mapping (multiple formats) was a progression of an understanding of system in itself.

Indeed the Visual mapping tool-box is encompassed (enveloped) within the systems thinking mind-set, and we knowledge architects who offer our services to clients for continuous improvement purposes should know this. But of course we do; don’t we?

If you haven’t already found these notable Systems Thinkers; I highly recommend them as a sound genesis and foundation of a complete understanding of System:
August Bradley
Gene Bellinger
Derek Cabrera

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