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Dan Power

Greetings to all of my friends who work in the area of computerized decision support. This blog is a way for me to share stories from my encounters related to decision support, to comment on industry events, and to comment on other blogger's comments, especially those of my friends on the Business Intelligence Network. I'll try to state my opinions clearly and provide an old professor's perspective on how computers and information technology are changing the world. Decision making has always been my focus, and it will be in this blog as well. Your comments, feedback and questions are welcomed.

About the author >

Daniel J. "Dan" Power is a Professor of Information Systems and Management at the College of Business Administration at the University of Northern Iowa and the editor of DSSResources.com, the Web-based knowledge repository about computerized systems that support decision making; the editor of PlanningSkills.com; and the editor of DSS News, a bi-weekly e-newsletter. Dr. Power's research interests include the design and development of decision support systems and how these systems impact individual and organizational decision behavior.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Dan's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

According to Wikipedia, a mind map is "a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. It is used to generate, visualize, structure and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing."

Mind map technology can be used for special decision support studies and to build document and knowledge-driven DSS. In general, we have too many documents and too much knowledge and we need innovative ways of organizing what we have written and what we know if we want to use the documents and knowledge to support decision making. We have shorter lead time for retrieving documents and knowledge if it is to impact our decisions.

Today, I met with George Kurtz aka in SL Butch Dae to get a demonstration of his work with a 3-D mind map. George has assembled a great team with avatar Goedeke Messmer as lead programmer and avatar Llanna Lane as lead builder on the Virtual Information Technology World (VIT World) projects.

George is using mind map technology to organize a vast amount of information he has collected on virtual worlds, virtual humans and other emerging IT concepts. To make that knowledge more accessible in Second Life, Llanna Lane helped him bring his 2-D map into SL. She developed three representations of George's mind map including an interesting tubular display. The displays let avatars get the "big picture" and read node names in the static map. The 3-D tube browsing tool might be very powerful in the future, if it becomes interactive and easy to traverse. I tried flying in the knowledge tube and that didn't work too well. Probably a reflection of my poor SL flying skills.

Programmer Goedeke Messmer has been developing a 3-D interactive shell for accessing a database of content and links. The tool can display in Second Life nodes and provides for drill down into the knowledge or document data base. The tool needs refinement, but the feasibility has clearly been demonstrated. George and his team are also looking at other 3-D representations of documents and knowledge.

George is a strong believer that 1) you can do anything if you've got the right information and 2) knowledge is "king" and we need to create knowledge faster. I agree and George is quick to acknowledge Ray Kurzweil's influence on his thinking.

George Kurtz is semi-retired. His background is in Integrated Systems Management and IT Architectural design. He has made an extensive commitment to Virtual Worlds and Linden Labs' Second Life in particular.

You can find the SL VIT World mind map at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Quiricosta/224/148/109.

George notes "Developing a Mind Map helped me build the hierarchical structure of The Virtual Information Technologies Concept. Using the Mind Map, I can examine the relationship of all the components and by grouping the like components; I can identify the emerging patterns and sequences in today’s rapidly developing technologies."

Thanks George for the interesting demonstration. I look forward to our future interactions.


Wikipedia, Mind map, URL http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map .

Posted October 22, 2007 10:26 AM
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