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.

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