social, health, political imagery through the lens of G J Huba PhD © 2012-2021

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The majority of the posts on this blog are about using visual thinking methods — of which I think that by far the best is #Buzan-style organic mind mapping — to understand, explain, evaluate, and communicate about healthcare. A lot of my own thinking has focused on using visual thinking techniques to potentially improve the quality of life of those with cognitive impairment and dementia.

Tony Buzan and Chris Griffiths and their colleagues and staff at ThinkBuzan have done a very comprehensive job at getting many of Buzan’s ideas embedded into a general purpose computer program (iMindMap) which provides a general visual thinking environment, of which mind mapping is a special part. There are many computer assisted mind mapping programs, but I have concluded that iMindMap is by far the best for creative visual thinking and communication, in no small part because it fully incorporates Buzan’s theory and theoretical implementation.

Like scientists and management consultants and educators and healthcare providers and patients and patient caregivers and students and many others, illustrators struggle with how to best use visual representations to support better thinking and communications.

Which brings up this beautifully conceived and executed little book that I have found to be mind expanding and liberating in how to develop and use a series of illustration techniques and “tricks” to look at things differently when trying to make creative breakthroughs.

Whitney Sherman is the author of the book “Playing with Sketches” which provides 50 exercises which collectively will change the way you think about creating images to understand and communicate ideas.While Ms. Sherman wrote the book for designers and artists, the techniques will be just as useful for visual thinkers in science, education, medicine, industry, and other fields. The beauty of Ms Sherman’s exercises is that in showing you fairly simple ways to make hugely informative and well designed images, the tools will themselves suggest many applications to visual thinkers of all types.

And, I have found that Ms. Sherman’s techniques can be used by the severely artistically challenged (of which I am one); the techniques are ones for Visual THINKERS, not necessarily artists and designers.

I have mentioned this book before in much less detail, but in the months I have used the methods, I have found that they WORK very well to facilitate creative visual thinking. For me they have promoted a breakthrough in how I see the visual thinking canvas.

Get the book, try some of the techniques (pick a random one here and there to start), discover that great artistic talent or aptitude is not required, and see how the techniques fit the information you study in search for better healthcare or disease prevention or decision making or facilitating creative group processes.

In partnership with Tony Buzan’s techniques for organic #mindmapping and Mike Rohde’s framework for #sketchnoting, the techniques codified by Whitney Sherman provide very powerful visual thinking tools.

Ms. Sherman’s website is She tweets at @Whitney_Sherman. The book is available from major online book sellers.




I will be posting some examples of using the sketching techniques of Ms. Sherman to developing assistance and communication techniques for those with cognitive impairment or early-mid stages of dementia.





Surely you jest.

I prefer to do no mind mapping on the iPhone, even though most iPad apps are “universal” ones that also run on an iPhone without extra cost.

According to, the phrase “Surely you jest” originated in the earliest 1960s sitcom “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.” I remember watching the show as a tween (before the phrase tween was used) and the actor (Bob Denver) who later played Gilligan in the famous sitcom “Gilligan’s Island” was Dobie Gillis’ foil (a model for Richie and the Fonz in Happy Days). The line was frequently uttered by the character Chamber Chatsworth Osbourne, Jr. From my childhood I think the phrase was used often by one of the Hanna-Barbera characters (probably Yogi Bear) but I can find no reference to that on the Internet. I do have a complete collection of Yogi Bear cartoons on my computer but I am not going to watch them just for the purpose of showing that I can still remember my childhood even if I have forgotten what I watched on television this morning.

“Surely you jest and don’t call me Shirley” is from the 1980 movie “Airplane.”

Are you out of your mind?

Perhaps you could use a mind map program on the iPhone or an Android phone if you have the eyesight of Superwoman or Superman or the suit of Ironman. Otherwise go out and buy a FULL-sized iPad or Android tablet. Or even better, use your Mac with a huge desk monitor attached.

Seriously, there are two programs which may work ok for you to draw very simple mind maps on the iPhone. I am quite sure that iMindMap is the best on the iPhone and that iThoughts is acceptable, although not as close to iMindMap in overall usefulness on this platform as on the iPad. Do note that if you choose to purchase either of these apps for an iPad, it is an universal app and will also work on your iPhone without extra cost.

I actually do use an iPhone at times to make mind maps, but in that I case I limit the development to the main ideas of maps. When I get within sniffing distance of a real computer (Mac or iPad), I can mail myself the draft map setup and open it in the corresponding mind map program on one of the big-screen machines in order to further develop and format the map.

iPhone Mind Map  App Ratings  July 2014  g j huba phd  ✮✮✮✮✮


“and don’t call me Shirley.”

These comments were made based on my experience with the iPhone 5. With either of the new iPhone 6 models, the usefulness of the two “best” programs is marginally better.