social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2017

Posts tagged General

There are many problems that can plague a person with dementia. Some of these are easily detected but others may be “hidden” because of the nature of the major symptoms of the disease or “hidden” because the person with dementia (or caregiver or in some cases family members) is trying to hide some of the problems from outside observers.

For instance physical, psychological, or financial abuse will be hidden by the abuser and perhaps the person with dementia. Memory loss may make it difficult for the person with dementia to accurately report accidents.

It is important that healthcare providers, caregivers, and family members be trained to identify the hidden problems.

To some degree or another, it is likely that most persons with dementia have some of these hidden problems. For instance, I bump against things all day long, usually because I am rushing around or not paying attention because I am trying to multitask. When asked by a family member or friend where the bruise came from, I have to try to reconstruct where the accident must have happened by thinking through a lot of alternatives for a bruise half-way between my ankle and knee.

Click image to expand.


A mind model (aka mind map) on the way that ideas hit you when you have dementia.

In a group, the need to say something immediately before you forget it often takes a backseat to etiquette rules of waiting for your turn to say something and not interrupting. If you are talking to someone with dementia, consider cutting them slack and letting them jump in when they can. If the group won’t let the person with dementia break in it can lead to both a sense of frustration for all and quite frankly, the loss of some good ideas and interactions.

The current rules of etiquette do not take account of the fact that some of the participants in an interaction will have severe cognitive impairment or mental illness that pretty means that if a thought is not expressed immediately it will be forgotten.

Sometimes rules need to be stretched or curved (like a railway track) and patience exercised. This is one of those times.

f I am trying to blurt out an idea to you, believe me that if I don’t say it immediately it is going down the track far, far away from me. And it may not come back for another five minutes (if at all).

Click on the image to expand.





I have been a HUGE fan of the Olympics since I was a very little kid. In 1984 I got to go to the Olympic events in Los Angeles every day for two weeks, on many days with my father. That was the year that the Soviet Union boycotted the games because the USA had boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980. Heck, I thought it was great — the USA and East Germany (who came) won all of the gold medals! Months earlier when local pundits in Los Angeles said Los Angelenos were too apathetic to purchase expensive Olympic tickets especially with the Soviets and most of the Eastern Bloc boycotting as it would not be a real sporting event, I had bought as many tickets for the “finals” as I could get my hands on. Later I sold the extra tickets as Los Angeles fell in love with the games. I made so much money that the expensive tickets I had bought for the entire family of 7 that we used ended up were effectively free since the profits covered the cost of the tickets we used. Street enterprise at its best. My tickets became worth more because the Soviets didn’t come as all Americans became Olympic fans the year we won all the golds.

Winning the race to live well with dementia is like running the 10K race at the Olympics. Everybody has to pace themselves at the beginning so that they can learn about their opponents. In the final stages of the race they speed up and sprint their fasted the last 200 meters.

A mind model of the dementia race strategy is shown below. Click the image to expand it.

I think I am winning my race to live life to its fullest while having dementia. I’m getting ready to claim that gold medal. You can win your race too. Think about what you are doing and strategize like a 10K runner. Learn all you can in the beginning and then speed up later as your new knowledge kicks in.







I expect to be adding a lot of posts about (or using) sketchnotes in the next few months to Here is how to find the existing ones and the ones I will add. The information as a sketchnote. Click on the images to expand them.





HITMM 2016

Click here for an index of all HITMM 2016 posts.

I would categorize the pioneering efforts of Tony Buzan and many others to introduce and popularize the method of mind mapping as Mind Mapping 1.0. While mind map program vendors, sellers of consulting and training services, and others sometimes get quite loud in arguing who was the “inventor” of the method, I see claims of who invented what to be primarily marketing ones similar to those used in advertising colas, laundry detergents, and personal hygiene products. The identification of the organization or individual most responsible for making the method practical and useful is much more important than the term “inventor.” It is very clear to me that Tony Buzan was the one who took many ideas about visual thinking, the primitive neuroscience of the day (1970s), creativity, brainstorming, and management and formed it into a coherent and useful model of “mind mapping.” Had he not, the majority of the other players in the field would not be following his suggestions and rules (or arguing vociferously against them) or frequently copying his computer program.

The parameterizations and resulting computer programs by ThinkBuzan, Topicscape, Mindjet, and others comprise Mind Mapping 2.0. Buzan’s ideas and those of many others were incorporated into efficient and accessible computer programs that opened the mind mapping methods to a far larger audience of students, managers, and others.The iMindMap program by Griffiths and his colleagues at Open Genius is by far the best of the lot. Over time, the best programs have evolved into more general visual thinking environments I term these VITHENs) which feature mind maps as the core element but allow the author to show supporting data on the map or as annotations. Annotations can be links, graphs, comments, citations, and other forms of information that support the map or add expert justifications. Technical improvements in these programs are still frequently introduced. I consider Mind Mapping 2.0 to have been more important than Mind Mapping 1.0, and the contributions of Griffiths to how visual thinking should look and be implemented to be seminal.

Mind Mapping 4.0

[As I saw it in 2012 and continue to view it in 2015] Mind Mapping 3.0 is the integration of computer-assisted mind mapping methods, artistic sensibility to enhance visualization, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, substantive, creative, well-documented valid and reliable content of great importance.

Mind Mapping 3.0’s primary characteristic is that it emphasizes content within the mind map. Mind mapping has evolved from its start as a method which emphasized brainstorming, management observations, and business functions (calendars, timelines, responsibilities) into a much general form that permits the development of knowledge databases and models, communicates history and science, and can organize the rules of English for those learning the language.

Mind Mapping 4.0 goes far beyond Mind Mapping 3.0 as each map is created from the perspective of an expert both in the content area (such as dementia or memory or stress or the plays of Shakespeare or the development of the nuclear age) and the application of specific and unique styles of mind mapping to maximize the utility of the resulting mind maps.

The expert mind maps may then be turned into templates suitable for distribution to end users (such as healthcare providers, patients-clients, caregivers, managers, employees, educators, students, scholars, politicians, news reporters, engineers and hundreds of other end user groups. The key feature is that an expert is able to combine a high level of knowledge and expertise in the content area of the map with very advanced “formatting” methods (colors, fonts, organic or boxed styles, and others of format styles in the Buzan guidelines) using the very best combination of these for the subject matter, template users, objectives of the map, and for enhancing wanted outcomes and minimizing unwanted ones. Additionally, the expert needs to decide whether to use Buzan’s fairly standard and rigid rule of one word per branch in the mind map, Huba’s flexible, more valid judgment-based rule of one concept per branch, some combination of the two, or another innovative approach.Mind Mapping 4.0 is a highly accurate description of content (substantive) knowledge by an expert who also has the highest level of mind mapping expertise or collaborates in a team with an expert in mind mapping.

Does an “expert” in content matters need to have graduated from a specific degree program, taken a specific set of courses, had a certain number of hours of classroom or practicum hours, or obtained a specific professional license? I believe the answer to be ABSOLUTELY NOT. While formally educated professionals are typically content experts in some areas of specialization, this is not universally the case. Many people running around with doctoral-level training are not content experts in any area and many draw conclusions outside their areas of expertise. And certain topics (such as patient perceptions on disease or feelings or creative solutions to conflicts) are almost universally ignored by “advanced degree” content experts.In addition to the formally educated experts, there are many people who have become experts in various content areas through life experiences, self-teaching, on the job observations and inspirations, brainstorming, synthesizing the views of others, the experiences of disease and achievement, and personal research.

These are true experts. As was often said in earlier prehistoric times (the 1950s and 60s), they are graduates of the “School of Hard Knocks.” Among other famous graduates from this form of education is Bill Gates.In Mind Mapping 4.0, experts in some content area (a medical disease, mindfulness, best practices for management, the exploits of Henry the VIIIth, the history of caffeine addiction, the poor decisions of George W Bush, trends in high fashion, urban dictionaries, the characters of Star Wars, the jokes of Groucho Marx) use their knowledge, supporting data, research, synthesis, and creative insights to develop mind maps. With expertise in the possibilities of mind maps and their usage, in Mind Mapping 4.0, definitive content can be presented in mind maps that “bend” formal rules of mapping and present the best ways of formatting maps for the audience, type of information, intended actions, memory retention, creative insight, novelty, humor, and acceptance of new ideas, as well as unambiguous and easily understood communication.

In Mind Mapping 4.0, the presentation of new thinking and excellent information is enhanced and supported by the use of the “best” techniques of mind mapping tailored to the purposes for which the map was developed.Mind Mapping 4.0 should produce easily understood maps that can be translated into templates that can be widely used by others (as some examples consider such content as medical symptoms and disease screening, pharmaceuticals, recommended treatments, cautions, coming trends, and research findings in the areas of healthcare where I work).

Some characteristics and concepts of Mind Mapping 4.0.Click the mind map to expand it.


The following presentation presents one section of the mind map at a time. If you would like to go through the presentation at your own speed, click the stop button in the presentation and use the arrow keys to navigate

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


For researching, conceptualizing, evaluating, designing, and communicating I prefer to use a VIsual THinking ENvironment or #VITHEN.

There are three tools I use most on my Mac TOGETHER as a visual thinking environment. My preferred programs are iMindMap, Scapple, and Big Hairy Goal. I would rank them 1, 2.5, and 2.5 respectively.

Note that I do not use these three programs alone and on many project use iMindMap plus (Scapple or Big Hairy Goal). Combined these three programs provide an excellent VITHEN. If you only want to work with one program, use iMindMap, the premier and most comprehensive product in this space.

And, yes I coined the term VITHEN.

Click on image to expand.   VITHEN   #iMindMap, #Scapple, #BigHairyGoal, #VITHEN


Click on the images to zoom.

The fictional detectives would have been great program evaluators. All looked at all types of data. Miss Marple was a model of pleasantry who could work her way into an organization or group and see it as it was without changing anything by observing. Holmes and Watson — whether in the original books and movies, the Ironman version of the movies, their current BBC incarnation in 21st Century London, or their CBS incarnation in 21st Century Manhattan with Dr John Watson now Dr Joan Watson (for the better) — use Holmes’ razor sharp mind and Watson’s intuitiveness and questioning. Sam Spade, wise cracks, an iron fist, and underlying sensitivity.

Program evaluation is not about conducting research, randomly assigning participants to conditions, or using quasi-experimental designs. Program evaluation is about understanding why programs produce certain outcomes, intended or not, positive or not, unique or not. To truly understand a program quantitative and qualitative data needs to be collected with great attention to the sensibilities, needs, risks, and potential confidentiality breaches of data of program participants, program staff, program administration, funders, and other stakeholders.

I love program evaluation. Every program is unique and at the same time representative of certain classes of human service organizations.

Be a detective. Look carefully and understand the beauty of a well-running program and how to help staff improve a program that is not working as well as it could.

evaluation detective work

I was 10 years old when the Berlin Wall went up. 11 when JFK butchered the German language. 38 when the wall came down. 39 when they started selling the pieces. 62 when I finally saw some of the panels in person.

berlin wall time map

In person the panels proclaim desperation, depression, denial of freedom, hope, strength of the human spirit, persistence, creativity, and victory. Kind of puts most of my life in context. ACT UP.

The panels are part of the permanent collection at the Newseum in Washington, DC. Individual panels are 12 feet high and weigh several tons. The collection is the largest held by a public institution outside of Germany.

And, yes, the painted sides were on the western side. The backs are unpainted, blemished gray concrete.

Berlin Wall panels 355Berlin Wall panels 357Berlin Wall panels 358Berlin Wall panels 359Berlin Wall panels 361

When I was a child we used to have the drills you have seen in those odd videos where kids dove under their desks when the nuclear alarm sounded. The Berlin Wall made the fears of the time much worse. My elementary school also had a basement with a sign on the stairs that said fall-out shelter and had the big radioactive sign that led you to believe that the basement would protect you against direct radiation and fall-out. Good thing there were no nuclear attacks and the public at large never realized that a desk or basement was not going to protect you at all. [At the time, my own father was one of the first nuclear engineers in the USA and never told us or anyone else that it was a big government scam; it probably was a result of his high-level security clearance for reactor design.] And in case you wonder about profits from the fake bomb shelters, the US  government subsidized the peanut farmers and put hundreds of gallons of peanut butter in large cans inside of the bomb shelters. When they did tile ceiling tile repairs in my office at UCLA in the early 1980s, the maintenance crew used the peanut butter as glue, and apparently that was a common construction practice at the time! Who knows what else the owners of the buildings with the fake bomb shelters did with this stuff as it passed its expiration date. The 40-year “Cold” War was a pretty nasty one that scared me until the day the Wall came down. The end to the Cold War was a singular achievement of the Reagan Administration, the UK, and our European allies who proved to the Soviet Union that they could not keep up with the western coalition in sustained military spending without totally pissing off their citizens by making them accept sub-standard lifestyles.

And yes, later President Jimmy Carter benefited from both ends of the Cold War radiation industry serving in the navy as a very early nuclear officer [at the time my father was designing submarine reactors and training nuclear officers] on a submarine and later selling subsidized peanuts. Perhaps this has something to do with Carter’s ascendance as a peace advocate after his presidency.

Every day, the Newseum in Washington, DC, receives electronic copies of many of the world’s newspapers. They print them and post at least one from each US state/territory and many from throughout the world.

The next day they start all over again.

It is amazing to see all of these front pages for one day adjacent to one another. The common and the local; the political and the social-entertainment.

3.16.2013. A smattering of those available inside and outside the museum.

Click on images to zoom.

March 16 2013  350 March 16 2013  349 March 16 2013  348 March 16 2013  347 March 16 2013  346 March 16 2013  345 March 16 2013  344 March 16 2013  343 March 16 2013  342 March 16 2013  341 March 16 2013  338 March 16 2013  337 March 16 2013  336 March 16 2013  335 March 16 2013  334 March 16 2013  333 March 16 2013  332March 16 2013  351

If you have read this blog in the past few weeks, you know that I strongly support the notion of peer review of mind maps. However, I acknowledge it is not fair to to keep harping on this issue without providing some type of suggestions for implementing a system.

I selected BiggerPlate as my example because it is the largest and highest quality archive of mind maps I know of. I greatly support their work.

I believe that implementing such a system would increase the usefulness of mind map communication and advance this area of inquiry.

Click on the image to zoom in.

Plan Peer Review of Mind Maps

I have been writing (and mind mapping) a lot recently about the need to make sure that mind maps purported to contain “expert” information are valid, reliable, important, and data-driven. I have noted that I also think these mind maps are better communication devices if they are “organic” (in the sense of Tony Buzan) and “artistic” and creative. And I am fairly sure that valid and memorable organic mind maps can be much better for encoding information into memory.

The best example I have found of a profesional who consistently produces valid, reliable, important, data-driven, organic, artistic mind maps is Hans Buskes who posts his work frequently on his blog mastermindmaps and tweets as @hansbuskes. Dr Buskes’ maps have well-researched information that meets current standards of excellence, are easy to understand, and data-driven. Look at his two English-language e-books on mind mapping. The book available on iTunes is offered for free.

I view the work of Dr Buskes as the standard I hope to achieve.

The examples are partial screen clips of two of Hans Buskes’ maps. See the mastermindmaps blog site for the full maps and explanatory materials.



Content is Queen. The ultimate point of any mind map is to use and present information clearly in a way that communicates conclusions  that are valid, reliable, and important.

Some examples. Are all of those mind maps floating around showing psychological variables and purporting to illustrate major findings and theories actually using valid information? (Guessing what all people feel like or how they learn and thinking it must be valid since, after all, you are a human, is probably not an indication that you are using highly valid data.) What is the expertise of the individuals who generated the information portrayed in the mind map? Was the information based on empirical studies, well-established theory, the musings of a pop psychology writer, what your Mom taught you, what your best friend thinks, what you saw in a movie? Did you (as a student or casual reader) just read a popular psychology book and accept what that person wrote on how you can be more rich, famous, happy, socially connected, sexy,and thin?

Much attention in mind mapping goes into the “artistic presentation” aspects of the maps, the colors, the rules, the images. And yes, prettier, neater, more original, and more creative maps are probably better received than those that use none of the great tools of visual thinking. But the reality is that the clothing does not make the person nor does the artistry of the map make the content more valid or reliable or important.

The first mind map below shows some of my thoughts and suggestions about how mind maps should be reviewed by experts in the content areas being addressed if the map will be used for purposes other than personal learning or process documentation or as art. That is, if the point of the map is to present facts, then the purported facts really need to be checked by someone who is an expert in the content area. In most cases, I have no problem with authors being responsible for their own work so long as they clearly state their own expertise levels and where the data for the mind maps originated. I have a big problem with someone who is not a trained mental health professional telling the world how to diagnose depression or ADHD. If the author of the map is not an acknowledged expert presenting her or his own work, then the source and limits of the information in the mind map need to be stated, and in some cases, independently evaluated.

Evaluating Mind Maps with Expert Content

The second mind map is actually just the first one produced in iMindMap exported into the alternative computer program MindNode Pro. Is the first map prettier than the second? Sure seems so to me. Is the first map more valid? No. It contains identical information. Does the first map communicate better than the second? Sure seems so to me.

Keep in mind that the goal of most mind mapping is to present valid, reliable, and important information in way that is easily understood, easily remembered, and easily communicated. Using this criterion the first map is probably significantly better.

iMindMap5 Map

The third mind map is identical in content to the two maps just considered but was generated using default options in the program XMIND. The style of the mind map is similar to that of another program (Mindjet AKA MindManager), and is that many argue is the best for presenting information to those in business.

XM Evaluating Mind Maps with %22Expert Content%22

Hopefully by the time you read this, you will have looked carefully at the actual content of the mind map in one or more of the variations. Content is Queen; it is all about the ideas. In the process of mapping, we need to incorporate references to the source of the information displayed. Pretty is good and memorable, but is not more important than the information presented. Content is Queen, although she does look better in a nice dress or business suit.

Keyword Boardtopics and sub-topics: evaluating mind maps with “expert content” criteria information accurate source stated authoritative recognized cited by others opinion? state adult learning multi-channel non-hierarchical non-linear iterative approximations successive small steps link existing knowledge experience emotions cultural memory consensus neuroscience “catchy” style serious disease disaster war human toll horror funny often many topics “lighter” facts graphic usually images fonts colors this opinion mine g j huba phd @drhubaevaluator © 2012 all rights reserved based professional judgment experience 15 years healthcare professionals researchers physicians nurses psychologists social workers others administrators no science citations but read dr seuss really early lexical mind mapper organic style tony buzan thinking flexible suggestions discussion @biggerplate quick notes iteration 1 imindmap mac written on limited to content purportedly expert reproducible empirical “textbook” peer review? content content content content most important meaningful valid reliable educational goals objectives audience mind maps uniqueness used color fonts non-linearity “artistic” memorable by established experts content visual thinkers other concerns mission critical data good empirical public never present as perfect examples medical safety criminal justice financial mental health reproducibility mind map logic data logic education logic expert knowledge conclusions

There are lots of different applications of mind mapping methods to such areas as brainstorming, task management, scheduling, journaling, and sharing basic information (great day to play basketball!). Other mind maps may tell us about scientific experiments and theories, political arguments, historical events, anatomical features of the human body, the quality of hotels in Barcelona, or expert rankings of world football (soccer) teams projected to finish near the top in the World Cup tournament. How do you know a real expert has ranked your favorite football teams correctly? How do you know that the student who created the cute mind map of the human body as a subway map actually put in the correct names parts and names? What are the professional qualifications of the “expert” who says the world is flat? Do experts believe the purported expert who drew the mind map? Is the information in the mind map you found and downloaded from the Internet really going to tell you what you need to know for your organic chemistry test in two hours?

I sure hope my doctors studied from factually correct mind maps, not just pretty ones given away by a pharmaceutical company. And (since I have a doctorate in psychology), I am really sick of seeing mind maps that say they contain psychological principles that will make you happier, thinner, less anxious, more sexy, and help you self-diagnose whether you have bipolar disorder and which drug would be best to help you and should be ordered from an Asian or Mexican pharmacy over the Internet (URL at the bottom of the map).

Mission critical information in mind maps should be carefully reviewed by experts in the content of the maps to minimize the number of cases where misinformation hurta people . If such a review has not been done, or if the author of the mind map does not provide adequate credentials to assess professional competence, I recommend you do not use such information for making personal or business decisions. While I love artistic maps that are well-designed and “clean” in their appearance and spend a lot of time trying to emulate the best, adherence (or not) to the mind mapping rules of Tony Buzan and the use of a wonderfully artistic program, in no way does or does not make the information in the maps correct. Think about that carefully the next time you download a mind map from the Internet and try to study or make a business decision; that’s a fact, Jack.

It’s also a fact that these comments also apply to infographics, concept maps, and other information visualizations.

My next post is going to have a lot to say about the importance of content and how to assess whether that pretty map you just found contains valid, reliable, and important information.

Some more of my thoughts …

Should Mind Maps  Be Reviewed FINAL


Keyword Board

topics and subtopics: should mind maps and templates be reviewed? probably not audience you only internal work group intended use personal planning personal/group notes brainstorming journal diary task management scheduling type of information common knowledge 12 inches 1 foot green traffic light go usa flag red, white, blue shoes sold in pairs cover feet simple facts address size weight color presented as opinion no or minimal harm if misinterpreted inappropriately applied yes audience general internet textbook presentations heterogeneous broad background expertise experience general intended use present facts present theory learning tool group textbook as summary facts findings opinions consensus judgments type of information data-supported expert judgment best ice skater best baker best decision consensus presented as fact potential harm if misinterpreted inappropriately applied expert (peer) review best © 2013 g j huba phd some definitely yes opinion expert informed most probably not

Some developers of mind mapping programs or “expert” consultants will tell you that if you do not follow arcane rules, typically never tested empirically, the world will collapse because your map is incorrect in that it is not a map. Actually almost all developers and consultants will tell you this. From where they sit, selling expensive software or being hired to run expensive software is what pays for the next BMW.

Ugly maps work just fine most of the time. You know what this map is about.

visual maps

It doesn’t even really matter that I said “visual maps forces organization” instead of “visual maps force organization.” Not for this purpose.

It’s all about content and understanding that content and using that content to make real decisions. Artistic can be for formal publications or an unreasonable boss


Uh oh. Some one who defines himself as a content (psychology, social care, health care, public safety net programs) expert is going to go where the experts on mind mapping dare not tread.

My inspiration for this post comes from the application work of Philippe Packu and especially Hans Buskes as well as mathematical models, pragmatism, and the fact that I like to discuss the undiscussed.

Uh oh. Math and mind maps. Scary indeed. What is he thinking?

As I see it, mind mapping has evolved over the past 50 years in a predictable way.

Mind Mapping 1.0 was a discussion of those funny radial diagrams, why they might be important, which types of inquiry (brainstorming, summarizing, presenting, consensus building, information retrieval, memory) might be enhanced by these funny diagrams, feared by many because of the necessity at the time to have at least moderate artistic skills and the willingness to stand up in front of 50 people and display them. The giant in the era of Mind Mapping 1.0 was Tony Buzan who developed a series of core concepts about visual thinking and spread them widely in professional and public circles.

As part of his huge contribution, Buzan developed a series of “laws” of mind mapping. Much discussion of these suggested general principles has ensued. It would not be overstating to say that the degree to which one endorses these laws explains much of a split into different mind mapping “factions.” It is also important to remember that mind map use and training can anchor a very lucrative consulting practice and that factions will almost automatically arise as the consultants seek to differentiate themselves from one another. This is not bad, and the development of factions can drive theoretical development as it has in this case. A second faction of mind mappers – tending to be associated with the computer product family Mindjet – has also arisen. There are other variants lying along a continuum with Buzan and Mindjet defining the end points.

Mind Mapping 2.0 is a glorious era when the whole world can draw mind maps fairly easily using a large group of computer programs (expanding daily) to promote memory, creativity, brainstorming, collaboration, consensus, organization, information encoding, information retrieval, God, country, and Queen. We are right at the peak of that era when creativity has moved us into a period of great growth and enthusiasm. We have at least a dozen good products for expanding the empire, and an audience that is listening. So we need to get an effective, computer-era definition of mind mapping.

Mathematical (and other scientific) models usually go through a series of stages in which specific models are developed and rules of applicability are stated, a period of generalization in which the rules of applicability are stretched to fit more phenomena, and a later stage when the most general model is derived and tested in many different application areas.

The parallel in the mind mapping world was the development of Buzan’s “laws” for successful mind mapping, the “stretching” of Buzan’s model by making his laws more general or even ignoring some of them, and finally a model in which mind maps as we know them are but a subset of a more general model of information visualization (including dozens of similar techniques which go under different names in their parallel development universes). The best taxonomy of related information visualization methods is the Wiki developed by Roy Grubb. A general model can subsume most of the techniques discussed by Mr. Grubb.

My definition: Mind Mapping is a set of information visualization techniques that can be incorporated as a subset within the overall computational equations of a very general computer program iMindMap.

OMG. He’s defining mind mapping in terms of a specific “mind map” program developed by a company partially owned by Tony Buzan. Has he been drinking?

I doubt either Mr. Buzan or the ThinkBuzan company would agree with my definition at this time. They are wrong.

Developing a computer program to implement a information theory model requires a huge amount of effort in concretely defining a number of issues discussed loosely in words. Computers need SPECIFIC instructions. What often happens in (the best) computer program development is that in coding a variety of steps and subprocesses necessary to accomplish a general goal require  that a number of specific decisions be addressed (parameterized). Often rather than making an arbitrary yes/no, big/small, curvy-organic/straight decision, computer programmers implement a parameter whose value can be specified as an option (such as “how much curve do you want in the branch” or “which set of colors do you want to use in a map or “should you allow one-two-hundreds of words on a mind map branch”).

iMindMap is a program parameterized in such a way so that every other mind mapping procedure currently extant can be produced using the program. Hhhmmm. And, various information visualizations not necessarily currently called mind maps (concept maps, timelines, statistical graphics) can be produced in the program. We are seeing a very general information visualization model in the program that permits us to develop different parameterizations that have historically had different names attached.

Yes you can produce maps that look like those prepared from different mind map programs within iMindMap. Yes you can produce concept maps within iMindMap. Yes you can produce timelines within iMindMap. Yes you can produce path diagrams. Yes you can incorporate quantitative data. See the blogs of Hans Buskes and Philippe Pack and others including mine for many examples of generalizing the traditional Buzan model all within the iMindMap parameterization.

iMindMap will probably be rapidly superceded by more general models that relax further traditional assumptions and permit even more parameterizations. ThinkBuzan seems to produce such generalizations annually.

Again note that the general model incorporated in iMindMap can be reduced to specific models or the equivalent of different computer programs depending upon how the general model is parameterized.

I believed that the parameterization based general model should be attributed to Chris Griffiths although many others have undoubtedly also contributed to it as well.

Mind Mapping 3.0 is all about taking the promise of the general information visualization model and incorporating important, valid, reliable, actionable data into the application of the general model. Mind Mapping 3.0 is starting and will become a tsunami in the next five years. I promise.

Note: I often use mind maps in my blog posts. I intentionally did not include a map here because I did not want the style I usually incorporate in my own mind maps to confuse the issues above.

iMindMap is in the very highest tier of the mind map programs. There are no mind map programs that surpass it; some argue that a couple of others are in the same tier. Of the high tier programs this is my favorite and the one that best matches the mind maps I like to use for writing, expressing ideas, brainstorming, and now for making presentations.

iMindMap version 6.1 was released as a free upgrade from v6.0 on November 1, 2012. The update is great and any iMindMap user should be installing it now. Everything works a little better and a little faster and the user experience is improved as it always is with one of their upgrades. I like the fact that the developer of this program (ThinkBuzan) keeps releasing free updates every few months between the major versions (4.0, 5.0, 6.0, etc.).. I have found that each of the upgrades over the past two years has been one which introduces new features.

The “killer” feature in v6.1 is the fact that the iMindMap program now makes incredible presentations that can be prepared in the usual two dimensions or three dimensions just by clicking a button. It’s that easy. It works. Presentations look super-duper and the 3-D graphics can be very easily navigated through an on-screen “joy stick” mechanism. But wait, there’s more. The program now permits you to prepare self running kiosk presentations (video files) or to prepare and upload YouTube videos. The kiosk files can also be uploaded to your own web site although it should be noted that the files, even for small maps at lower resolutions, tend to be in excess of one gigabyte. Because of their size, in many cases it will be necessary to store the presentations on YouTube (as private or public files).

iMindMap v6.1 is a giant step forward. Here is one of my maps as a presentation from v6.1. The map is also a statement of how I think this technique needs to be used: content is the Queen.

I think the 3-D options in the new iMindMap are super-duper, although I do recommend you play with the program for an hour because there are little tricks you can find to make the 3-D mind maps (and their presentations) more artistic and more easily understood. The 3-D maps do benefit from a slightly different approach to map design than one would take for a 2-D map. Here are just a few 3-D pictures of the same mind map (with various branches condensed.

Ok, why not 4-D maps incorporating the passage of time?. Of course you can do this although it is not mentioned in the iMindMap materials. The fourth dimension can be added by using the 3-D or kiosk presentation modes AND adding color coding to show how branches get added, deleted, or re-organized over time. It does require the presentation mode to represent time.  I leave it to someone more gifted in geometry than I to figure out the 5-D mind map.

You heard it here first (just kidding): PowerPoint is dead. The linear structure of PowerPoint neither approximates reality very well nor keeps the audience awake. iMindMap presentations better represent the nonlinear structure of most things, events, and people, and can keep the audience on the edge of their seats by having them guess what is coming next. The addition of 4-D in this program is natural and fairly easy.

PowerPoint is dead. There IS a just god. Abe Lincoln was a great orator (see below).

To receive ongoing information about iMindMap, on Twitter follow @GriffithsThinks for theoretical and design issues and @iMindMap for practical issues and retweets of other mind mapping information.


In case you think I was a little late in proclaiming PowerPoint’s demise, you are correct. Abe Lincoln (with a little help from the acclaimed computer scientist Peter Norvig) said it (apologies to Honest Abe).

START HERE ==>> The Gettysburg PowerPoint (Abe Lincoln with Peter Norvig]

Ross Perot wanted to be POTUS. He had made zillions of $s as the President of a huge company (EDS) that did heavy data crunching for the US government on IBM 360 mainframes in the 1970s and 1980s. So what’s a smart data guy with an interesting personality and a great Texas drawl who looks like Frank Perdue gonna do? Yup, show his great expertise in processing data and making decisions from data by showing his great skills in making PowerPoint presentations.

A few classics.

CSPAN Archive (definitive)

He’s back.