social, health, political imagery through the lens of George J Huba PhD © 2012-2019

Posts tagged organic

Over 35 years I facilitated hundreds of professional groups from 6 to 200 in size.

Here’s a few things I learned. [I did not put “have a thick skin” in the formal presentation.]

Click diagram to expand.

facilitating professional groups (@Biggerplate) has started to post video recordings of the presentations at their recent mind mapping conference in London on their web site.

The first four presentations are now available online at this link.

All four presentations are excellent and are by experts willing to talk to their peers frankly and clearly thus resulting in a very large exchange of bottom-line information.

The 20 minute presentation by Chris Griffiths (@GriffithsThinks) is probably the best talk on modern mind mapping I have ever seen; watch this if you want a jump start into modern mind mapping. I agree with about 90% of what Mr Griffiths says, and he is extremely articulate about the big issues.

This appears to have been a great conference. Four more similar conferences are being scheduled around the world, with two coming up in the USA (San Francisco, Chicago).

Liam Hughes and his staff at Biggerplate facilitated an excellent conference and more importantly, started a valuable ongoing communication process.

Highly recommended. If you believe that visual thinking (and mind mapping) can be useful in your field, try to watch some of these short videos. Like them, I do.

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In Al Gore’s new and compelling book, he makes extensive use of mind maps. The following mind map is my review of Al’s mind mapping technique, NOT the content which I greatly admire.

Click on the image to zoom in.

Al Gore 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.



I spent years and years of my professional life being trained in, developing, and applying deductive reasoning. I was taught that the random assignment experiment is the gold standard for science. I’ve seen an entire important field in psychology (social psychology) trivialized and made irrelevant by forcing random assignments and rigid instrumentation into trying to explain synergistic and nonlinear social behaviors (after all what is psychology if not a field of the interactions among people as they progress in a nonlinear way, sometimes forward, sometimes back). The complexity of human cognition has been studied in a superficially simple way by random experiments (primarily with samples of college students).

I do, of course, realize that my position is neither the majority one, nor very popular at all among most academic psychologists, although a few will agree with me (especially those who study diagnostic categories and how programs work in situations where random assignment to service is idiotic and not possible anyway as staff will not withhold what they believe is the most effective interventions from clients).

Who is right and who is wrong? I dunno. We do know which camp writes the most in their beloved peer-reviewed (by their like-minded colleagues) journals.

Recently I have been thinking about which type of mind map might be most appropriate for the different types of scientific method. I have been influenced heavily in my thinking by Roy Grubb, an IT consultant in Hong Kong with an encyclopedic knowledge of methods of visualizing and using information with hundreds of programs that he has studied over 30 years; Hans Buskes, a management consultant  in the Netherlands who has extensive experience in mapping innovative ideas with what a I would term a “semi-organic” approach, and Chris Griffiths in the United Kingdom, whose company ThinkBuzan produces the program iMindMap incorporating what I would term the neo-Buzan organic mind map style.

I would categorize mind maps along a continuum from very linear to the extend that they can effectively be formatted outlines with text snippets and at the other pole, very organic with the extensive use of twists and turns, color, graphics (most cartoon-like), fonts, and other methods to motivate creative approaches and multi-channel memory encoding. The organic approach can be very nonlinear in content, as well as appearance.

Here is a mind map contrasting deductive with inductive reasoning methods in various fields of science, of which my own reference is to psychology and medicine-healthcare. While the left side of the map is about deductive reasoning and is drawn as such and the right side is about inductive reasoning, the overall style of the map is organic. Note that the inductive side gets the “full organic treatment” with font variations, size variations, and a number of cartoons designed to spark associations and multi-channel memory. The left (deductive) side has organic branches by none of the embellishments that are part of the style. This map was produced in Version 6.1 of the iMindMap program.

Figure 1: “Organic Style”

Figure 1a is the same as Figure 1 but printed in 3D style.

The second figure has the same content as Figure 1 but a linear style. I simply converted the model within iMindMap by changing the line style, getting ride of color and font variations, and removing the graphics. I consider this to be a “semi-linear” model; to be fully linear one would also rewrite the text to have longer labels along the branches and many more text boxes for citations, supplementary figures, and other information in a format similar to that of a peer-reviewed science journal.

Figure 2: “Semi-linear Style”

The third version takes the organic map, converts it into a format that can be read by the program XMind, and simply redraws it using the defaults. XMind is derived from some of the earliest open source code and has a very common linear format characteristic of a high percentage of mind map programs including the market leading Mindjet.

Figure 3: Linear Style Using XMind Program Derived from Open Source Code

I came into organic mind mapping a few years ago because I had concluded that maps that look like those of Figure 3 are really just reformatted outlines and the formatting adds little except white space to the presentation. Figures 1a and 1b are more than reformatted outlines; they encourage new associations, multi-channel information encoding, and more attention to the structure.

I’m not very attracted to factory grown/raised  vegetables or chickens either. I think I will start to label my mind maps with this …