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

Posts tagged ThinkBuzan

Biggerplate.com (@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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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.

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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]