A few years ago, I introduced the term VIsual THinking ENvironment to describe applications that provide a number of visual thinking tools like mind maps, concept maps, flow charts, diagramming, statistical graphics, and visual representations of models, theories, and new knowledge in an integrated way within a single application.
As I used and experimented with new (or newly revised) mind mapping applications every year, I noticed how they were evolving from mind mapping to thinking environments by continuing to implement new and easier ways to process diagrams, figures, photography, sketches, doodles, and logic models together and build integration among tools that permit input visualization and visual output.
The best (and right now the only) evolving mind mapping application to include related new or adapted visual information processing methods is iMindMap 11. It is the only application that provides a well-conceived suite of techniques to form a Visual Thinking Environment (VITHEN). I believe that iMindMap should be rated A++ as a mind mapping program and A as an evolving VITHEN. I fully expect the entire iMindMap 11 suite to be as useful and developed as the mind mapping module within an iteration or three.
So, what is a VITHEN? The following mind map (created in iMindMap 11) incorporates my definition. A fully developed VITHEN not only will produce mind maps and other graphics but most importantly encourages intelligent use in model and theory building and optimizing creativity and effective knowledge development and presentation.
Click on the image to expand it.
The next posts include a “formal review” of iMindMap 11, examples of advanced mind maps (which I characterize as MIND MODELS), and an analysis of advantages of a VIsual THinking ENvironment over traditional mind mapping and other graphic thinking tools.