|Title of Invention||
A METHOD OF AN APPARATUS FOR CREATING, PROCESSING, TRANSMITTING AND DISPLAY OF COGNANT DATA ON TECHNICAL PLANNING UPON A VIRTUAL BOARD ON A COMPUTER SYSTEM
|Abstract||The invention relates to a method of creating, processing, transmitting and display of cognant data on technical planning upon a virtual board within a computer system, comprising defining a two dimension space as the virtual board; defining a linearly aligned header space as a first portion of the virtual board; defining a perpendicularly associated subject space to the header space as a second portion of the virtual board; and displaying a plurality of electronic cards having cognant data selectively in the header space and subject space, each electronic card configured to be modifiable to capture nonlinear note taking.|
|Full Text||Field of the Invention
The present invention relates, in general, to devices that facilitate and
graphically creative and cognitive activities associated with planning and
brainstorming, and more particularly to a computer-assisted approach to
storyboard card generation, annotation, and association.
Background of the Invention
With advancements in many areas of endeavor, increasingly teams having
individuals with diverse skill sets are brought together to identify and solve
problems in collaboration. Companies and consulting firms have proliferated tools
to enhance the effectiveness of such efforts, which may be as simple as linear note
taking and outlining to at least memorializing the verbally expressed suggestions
from the team. As another example, tools specific to analyzing a problem include
a fishbone diagram, "mind mapping".
One particularly successful technique to enhance the generation and
refinement of ideas in these sessions is category note taking, wherein a number of
heading and subject cards are placed, annotated and associated with one another
upon a two-dimensional space. Card Story Boards supposedly originated with
laying out animated cartoon production, but has been significantly modified as an
'idea' organizing method using tree logic, and is hereinafter referred to as
Displayed Thinking. This approach differs in presentation to other graphical tree
logic approaches, such as "Mind-Mapping", Venn diagrams, etc. With Displayed
Thinking, a team facilitator is better able to concentrate on idea-generation of
particular topics and sub-topics than is usually possible in other open-ended
In manually performing Displayed Thinking, adhesive notes or index cards
are laid out in a tabular format with a simple row of header cards, or possibly
header and sub-header cards, each with a column of idea cards below it, perhaps
with added action or comment notes attached. Using different shaped or colored
header cards to make them more striking is helpful. Preferably, the cards are
easily detached from the display surface for repositioning elsewhere on the
The team facilitator or group leader describes a problem to the
participants, who in turn suggest possible categories of solutions. These are
written on cards and displayed as a row of headers. The group leader selects a
particular header card and encourages participants to write ideas relating to that
header on idea cards. These idea cards are displayed under the relevant header,
followed by the leader posing provocative questions to prompt further idea cards
under that header. This process is repeated with other headers, until there is an
adequate supply of ideas. If necessary, the group leader returns to generating
further headers, and/or adding sub-header cards under a particular header card.
Typically, the idea cards are then ranked via a suitable voting method and
arranged in priority order under each header (or sub-header). The best several in
each category are discussed further, and ranked amongst them. Annotations, such
as a string between idea cards, flags, etc., may be used to give further insight into
the relation of each idea card.
While this manual technique is effective for innovating new and improved
products and services, manual Displayed Thinking has significant limitations. For
instance, participants should be together to view the large wall that holds the
cards. Videoconferencing provides insufficient graphical resolution to read
individual cards or to view their entirety.
Furthermore, making a permanent record of the manual Displayed
Thinking is difficult, requiring a significant amount of time and effort to
reproduce the information on a smaller scale or to render the information into
Another form, such as linear text outlines. Generally known card storyboard
software is also too limited. At one extreme, general graphical software may be
used to generate cards with desired shape, color, text and annotations.
However, not being optimized for this type of card generation and editing makes
this software unsuitable for use during the session. Waiting would unduly slow
the process. At the other extreme, simple software optimized for producing
virtual 'index cards' and placing then in a two-dimensional pattern are also
known. While quick and simple enough for facilitating a Displayed Thinking
session, these known index card software programs do not facilitate the full
power of what is currently presented during a manual Displayed Thinking
session. Annotations and moving around groups of cards is generally not
Consequently, a significant need exists for an automated approach to generating
and editing objects during a Displayed Thinking session.
Brief summary of the invention
The invention overcomes the above - noted and other deficiencies of the prior
art by providing an automated approach to representing displayed thinking, a
category note taking built upon card story boarding. Efficient card creation,
placement, annotation, and presentation upon a virtual board assists a facilitator
in a displayed thinking session, as well as enabling participation by remote
participants and capturing session results for later reference or revision. Thereby,
a useful creative thinking technique is realized for individual or collaborative
problem solving and innovation.
The invention discloses and claims a system for creating, processing,
transmitting and displaying cognant data relating to a technical planning, which
represents displayed thinking upon a virtual board, wherein a card for a virtual
board is created. In response to a user indication of a header card creation, the
created card is placed into a header space. Further, in response to a user
indication, the created card is designated as a subject card associated with the
header card. Thereby, storyboarding of a displayed thinking session is rapidly
facilitated to capture the suggestions from participants.
These and other objects and advantages of the present invention shall be
made apparent from the accompanying drawings and the description thereof.
Brief Description of the Accompanying Figures
The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute a
part of this specification, illustrate embodiments of the invention, and, together
with the general description of the invention given above, and the detailed
description of the embodiments given below, serve to explain the principles of the
FIGURE 1 is a diagram of a displayed thinking application hosted on an
enterprise network system.
FIGURE 2 is a depiction of a graphical user interface of the displayed
thinking application of FIG. 1.
FIGURE 3 is a flow diagram of a sequence of operations or procedure for
representation of displayed thinking, which is performed by the displayed thinking
application of FIG. 1.
FIGURE 4 is a flow diagram of a sequence of operations or procedure
referenced in FIG. 3 for card dragging and dropping onto the virtual board.
FIGURE 5 is a flow diagram of a sequence of operations or procedure for
a multi-column placement of a subject card as an additional feature for the
procedure of FIG. 3.
FIGURE 6 is a flow diagram of a sequence of operations or procedure for
auto grid parameter selection as an additional feature for the procedure of FIG. 3.
Detailed Description of the Invention
Turning to the Drawings, wherein like numerals denote like components
throughout the several views, in FIG. 1, a displayed thinking application 10
facilitates creative thinking via a graphical user interface (GUI) 12 hosted on a
facilitator computer 14 (e.g., personal computer, workstation, network computer,
terminal, personal digital assistant, etc.) and/or a distributed platform, depicted as
a server 16. Other participants connected to an enterprise network 18 may
collaborate with the displayed thinking application 10, such as via a
videoconferencing system 20 or a remote computer 22 that may be in
communication via a public or private network, depicted as Internet 24. Verbal
and human gestures may enhance the interaction between participants that are not
co-located, as suggested by an audio/video device 26 proximate to the facilitator
computer 14 that sends images and audio to the remote computer 22.
It should be appreciated that the term remote need not require geographical
remoteness in that multiple computers may be in close proximity to one another.
For instance, a group of participants may be working from closely situated
workstations at their respective desks or in an integrated conference room
environment. Further, remote may well indicate participants who are in electronic
communication at a distance.
The facilitator may interact with the GUI 12 via various controls, such as
voice recognition software, keyboard 28, pointing device (e.g., mouse, trackball,
touch pad) 30 or other interfaces. In addition to facilitating creative thinking in an
efficient manner, either individually or collaboratively, the displayed thinking
application 10 may produce a graphical recording of the work product, depicted as
a hardcopy print 32 on a printer 34. In addition, a data file 36 that encodes the
essential data for another displayed thinking application 10 to open and revise
may be transferred or stored as would be generally understood.
In FIG. 2, the GUI 12 of the displayed thinking application 10 is shown in
greater detail, illustrating a range of features to graphically enhance knowledge
capture and to provide intuitive use. The GUI 12 leverages familiarity with
standard Windows-style pull-down menus 50 and toolbar icons 52 as well as a
permanently displayed card annotation toolbar 54 and a header (or top) display
box 56 above a splitter line 58. Below the splitter line 58, a sub-header/subject
card (or bottom) display box 60 is presented. Both display boxes 56, 60 are open
ended to the right with content placed to the right being accessible by rightward
scrolling, such as by interacting with a horizontal scrollbar 62. The bottom box 60
is also open ended at its bottom to allow continuations of columns as desired, with
the portion hidden from view being accessible by downward scrolling, such as by
interacting with a vertical scrollbar 64. The display boxes 56, 60 have a grid 66,
either displayed or invisible, that is used for leftwardly aligning a header card 68
or a column of cards that also includes subject cards 70.
Often, user information (e.g., name) is available to the displayed thinking
application 10, either from the facilitator computer or other means such as by user
input, that may be captured for graphically presenting, as at 72, and/or for
embedding in a recorded data file for tracking the creation/revision history of a
Individual header cards 68 and subject cards 70 may be inserted or
imported in various manner, such as by double clicking a pointing device on a
blank position of one of the display boxes 56, 60 or by a hot key combination and
positioning a free floating card, such as at 74. A header card 68 or subject card 70
may be resized at user direction or automatically to accept a larger text input, such
as depicted respectively at 76 and 78. The bottom box 60 may further accept other
objects that are dragged and dropped, pasted or inserted, for instance a graphical
document or chart 80 and a text document 82.
In addition to associating cards 68, 70 in columns, association lines 84
may be drawn between cards 70 to show additional relationships. Additional
categorization may be introduced through selecting a card color via card color
selection radio buttons 86 of the card annotation toolbar 54 and/or one or more
colored flags 88 selected from flag color selection radio buttons 90 of the card
annotation toolbar 54. The importance or role of an individual subject card 70 may
be further denoted by added attributes such as a bolded contour 92 denoting a role
of a "black hole". Other examples of annotations include little fish, big fish, whale
intuitive symbols 94 that convey a level of importance, speculation, utility, or
other characteristic. In order to visually consolidate more information into the
presentation, some information may be hidden. For instance, a comment 96 may
be entered for a subject card 70 with the comment 96 becoming selectively
visible, for example by moving a cursor over the respective subject card 70.
It should be appreciated that placing subject cards 70 into columns with a
respective header card 68 may advantageously expedite revisions by automatic
column grouping. For instance, dragging and dropping a selected header card 68
to a new horizontal position on the top box 56 may automatically expand the
required space in both the top and bottom boxes 56, 80 for the header card 68 and
will cause its column of subject cards 70 to move as a group to the new position.
Similarly, moving a header card 68 down into the bottom box 60 may cause a
repositioning of the cards 68, 70 as required to position this new sub-heading (not
It should be appreciated that a virtual board may be formed wherein the
header box is not separated from the bottom box, allowing the header cards to
disappear when scrolling downward.
In FIG. 3, a sequence of operations or procedure 200 is depicted for
presentation of displayed thinking. A new session is opened (block 202), which
entails preparing an empty database and a virtual board of default size.
Alternatively, the new session may entail loading a previously recorded or
transmitted session for further interaction and revision. Once initialized with
existing data or a default virtual board, session activity information may be
automatically captured (e.g., date, time, location, business unit, session leader)
(block 206), such as by accessing database information associated with an
interactively logged in facilitator and participants. Alternatively or in addition,
manual input session information may be received and stored, such as a list of in-
person participants (block 208).
To expedite a displayed thinking representation, various defaults
parameters are used so that the facilitator need not design and place each card,
such as would be the case if attempting to use a general purpose graphics
program. In response to a determination that the user wishes to change the system
defaults (block 210), the system may display current settings and accept
modifications (e.g., print format, shadows, background colors, autosave on/off,
etc.) (block 212).
Various utility features may also be incorporated. If various session
administrative activities are requested or enabled to be performed automatically
(block 214), then such utilities are accessed (block 216), such as performing spell
check on the virtual board or checking/auto correcting text as typed, finding a text
string, searching for a text string through a database of stored session datafiles,
exporting a session into a standard format (e.g., spreadsheet, two-dimensional
picture format, wordprocessing document), auto arranging the virtual board,
changing view (e.g., zoom), etc.
With the session configured, the user may then choose to add a card. If so
determined in block 218, reference is made to whether autosave is set to ON
(block 220), and if so, each creation or modification to the virtual board is saved
(block 220), thereby preventing loss of data. If not, men a reminder may be
displayed to the user to provide an opportunity to enable autosave and/or to warn
against inadvertently losing content if manual save is not periodically requested
With reference to the default card creation settings, a new card is
tentatively to be placed where manually indicated by the user (block 226). A
determination is made as to whether snap is inappropriate, such as if the new card
is specified to be a media card (block 228). If so, its placement is not
automatically positioned as a header or subject card. Instead, the media is
associated with the media card by linking or embedding (block 230).
If at block 228 the card was not a media card, then a further determination
is made as to whether the placement indicates a header card or subject card. This
may be made in reference to a user menu selection, such as placing an empty
header card to the right of existing columns or placing a subject card under a
currently selected column. In the illustrative flow diagram, this determination is
made with reference to whether the new card was dropped below the splitter line,
or selected with a popup menu with the pointer initially below the splitter line
(block 232). If below, the new card is designated as a subject card and column
snap is performed as described below (block 234). Else, the new card is
designated as a header card and header snap is performed as described below
With an empty card placed in block 236, 234 or if no new card is requested
for creation in block 218, a determination is made as to whether modification of a
card is requested (block 238). These modifications may be performed in various
manners as is common with GUIs, to include redesignating default card size/font,
adding text, annotating the card, adding a graphical item (e.g., flag, big fish, little
fish, black hole), adjusting card parameters for card(s) designated (e.g., color, size,
position, font, word wrap, autosize box, autosize text) (block 240). These
modifications of one or more cards continues until the user indicates that the
session is finished (block 240). If no request to end the session is received in block
240, processing returns to block 210 to continue accepting any desired changes to
session defaults (block 210), session administrative tasks (block 214), creation of
new cards (block 218) and/or modification of cards (block 238).
It should be appreciated that, as part of positioning a card, the system may
determine that overlaying subject cards is requested, which may be depicted as a
perspective view of a stack of cards, thereby allowing visual consolidation.
"Mousing over" the stack may cause the stacked cards to momentary explode for
viewing. Another type of card modification includes adding hidden text to the
card in order to further consolidate the depiction of the virtual board without
losing the content. For instance, a footnote or hidden comment may be generally
not displayed but depicted when moused over or printed in some fashion, such as
end notes, when a hardcopy is prepared.
In FIG. 4, the positioning of a card that is dragged and dropped onto the
virtual board is further described (block 300). If the card type is determined to be
a media card (block 302), then the card stays as placed (block 304) and placement
is complete. If determined not to be a media card in block 302, then a further
determination is made as to whether grid snap is on (block 306). If not, then the
card stays as placed (block 304). However, if grid snap is on in block 306, then
the location of the drop is determined (block 308). If above the virtual board
splitter line, then a header snap procedure is performed by referencing the location
coordinates of the drop (block 310) and verifying whether the Control (CTRL)
key was depressed (block 312). If so, then header snap is overridden for this
particular card (block 314), which is then kept in place with other header cards,
shifted as necessary to the right to create sufficient room (block 316). Placement
of the card in this instance is then done.
If at block 312 the Control (CTRL) key was not pressed, then a
determination is made as to whether a preexisting header card was already placed
to the right of the current card (block 318). If so, then any preexisting header cards
to the right are shifted to the right of the current (target) card, obeying grid snap
rules. With any other header cards to the right handled, then the target card is left
aligned (snapped) with reference to the right side of the preexisting header card to
the left of the target card at a predefined spacing (block 322).
If back at block 308 the drop location was below the splitter line of the
virtual board, then the procedure presumes that this is indicative of a column snap
procedure being applicable. The created card is to be associated with an existing
header card if substantially aligned thereto. Thus, the card being created is not a
header card but rather another type of card (e.g., subject cards, sub-header cards).
The drag/drop event (block 324) prompts reference to the spatial coordinates of
the drop location (block 326). If no headers are present above the dropped card,
then the card stays as placed ("free floating" or orphan) (block 328). However, if
the created card has been dropped at least partially below one or more header
cards, then the header card most nearly vertically aligned with the dropped card is
determined (block 330). A parental association is then made between this header
card and the dropped card (block 332) and the child dropped card is left aligned
with the parent header card (block 334). Positioning is then done.
In FIG. 5, a further feature may be incorporated into column snap wherein
a default setting or user initiated limit on the vertical depth of a column simplifies
viewing of the virtual board. Scrolling to see hidden cards would then require only
scrolling horizontally. A multi-column header feature (block 350) is initiated upon
a subject card being dropped under a header card (block 352). If column snap is
determined to have been disabled (block 354), then the subject card remains in the
place where it was dropped (block 356) and placement is done. If column snap is
enabled, then a further determination is made as to whether multi-column snap is
enabled (block 358). If not, then normal column snap rules are applied as
previously described (block 360) and placement is done.
It should be appreciated that multi-columns may be multi-rows in
instances where header cards are vertically aligned. Moreover, a multi-stack of
subject cards/subheader cards adopted by the header card may be graphically
arrayed in other than a vertical column.
If multi-column snap is enabled in block 358, then a determination is made
as to the horizontal position of the dropped subject card (block 362). The number
of columns controlled by the header card is also determined (block 364). The
width of the header card is divided by the number of columns (n) (block 366).
Zones are established for aligning the subject card into one of the number of
columns (block 368). Then the subject card is snap dropped left to the nearest
available zone (block 370), with other subject cards shifted as necessary to
provide the necessary spacing.
In FIG. 6, another procedure for an autogrid feature 400 is depicted that
may be selected by the user (block 402). In response thereto, a determination is
made as to whether any cards exist upon the virtual board (block 404), and if so,
an error message is displayed (block 406). Else, a dialog box is presented for grid
parameters (e.g., metric or English units, specified spacing in the selected unit,
grid snap on or off, visible or invisible grid, etc.) (block 408). Afterward, the user
may place cards (block 410) that are than positioned according to the auto grid
Thus, it should be appreciated that brainstorming / planning sessions are
facilitated by being able to rapidly column snap child cards under parents cards.
Uniform vertical spacing between cards in a column is another arrangement
feature. Multicolumn header cards allow more related ideas to be grouped within
the display constraints. Rapid copy (e.g., control down arrow/shift) rapidly
duplicates blank cards of the default size (e.g., parent card for the selected
position). These adoptive behaviors keep the tool from dictating the pace of the
session by efficiently building and placing cards.
As a graphical user interface, these features adapt a potentially large two-
dimensional space to the constraints of a viewing screen. For instance, freeform
work is allowed with orphan cards, which may further include other forms of
graphic content (e.g., Object Linking and Embedding (OLE)) to capture the
knowledge building process. The user may apply multiple annotations (e.g.,
labels, flags, graphical elements such as black holes and big fish) to each card or
OLE object. Interoperability and cooperation is enhanced in a number of ways,
such as allowing the format of the data to be exported / imported in a standard
office application format (e.g., MICROSOFT WORD, EXCEL). A search query
may bridge a number of sessions to find content of interest. Autosave option
prevents a session from being inadvertently lost. The multi-column header is
another example, as mentioned. Other GUI features include header snap/header
snap override; header/subject differentiation; hide/show cards; auto capture of
session title and session leader and capture of participants; capture of session data
(first saved, last revised, session leader, session title, number of cards); text
dependent sizing and/or card autosizing based on amount of text; and
creation/importation of templates.
While the present invention has been illustrated by description of several
embodiments and while the illustrative embodiments have been described in
considerable detail, it is not the intention of the applicant to restrict or in any way
limit the scope of the appended claims to such detail. Additional advantages and
modifications may readily appear to those skilled in the art.
For instance, in situations where participants are remotely situated, more
than one facilitator may be able to modify the virtual board simultaneously or
sequentially. Each viewer may thus see the changes being made as they occur.
Alternatively, the process may batch accept a number of inputs from various users
and perform an auto arrange of the various new cards into a master virtual board.
The tracking of session information may include tracking of a participant who
submitted each card creation or modification. In order to minimize clutter of the
virtual board, this tracking of individual contributions may be made in an
associated log file that captures various changes, including those that are later
deleted or modified, thus allowing the process of the virtual board displayed
thinking to be recreated.
It should be further appreciated that instead of a two dimensional virtual
board, some aspects of the virtual board may be depicted as a three dimensional
space. For instance, stacked subject cards may be displayed in such a fashion that
viewing the virtual board from a perspective view allows seeing each card. In
addition, instead of header cards being horizontally positioned, header cards may
be vertically distributed with subject cards associated by being in a row.
Although rectangular cards and certain forms of annotations and graphics
are illustrated herein, it should be appreciated that cards of various geometric
shapes and attributes may be used to further convey information. For instance, the
outer shape of the card may be a black hole swirl, a whale, a fish, etc. Importance
of a card may be designated by the line weight or overall size given to a certain
It should further be appreciated that in some instances, a card may initially
be created as a subject card and later be repositioned as a header card, and vice
versa. Tools within the application may facilitate such regrouping. For instance,
dragging a header card down to the subject space may in some instances cause a
subheader card to be created, bringing along any previously associated subject
1. A system for creating, processing, transmitting and displaying of cognant
data relating to a technical planning, the system comprising :
(a) a memory;
(b) a virtual board resident in the memory, the virtual board defined as a
header space and a perpendicularly aligned subject space; and
(c) a program resident in the memory, the program configured to add a
plurality of electronic cards selectively in the header space and subject
space of the virtual board and to modify each card to capture note -
taking cognant data.
2. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the plurality of electronic cards
comprise cognant data.
3. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the created electronic cars are
placed into the header space, in response to a user indication, and
assigned as header cards, and wherein the created electronic card placed
in the subject space, are assigned as subject cards.
4. The system as claimed in claim 1, comprising :
a positioned card placed in the subject space beyond a threshold for
substantial perpendicular alignment with existing header cards, and
wherein the positioned electronic card is configured as an orphan subject
card unassociated with the existing header cards.
5. The system as claimed in claim 4, wherein the placement position of the
second card in the subject space associated with the header card
comprises adapting a column snap.
6. The system as claimed in claim 5, wherein the column snap is adapted so
as to compare the vertical alignment of the header card and a second
card against a threshold, wherein the column snap is implemented in
response to the second card being within the threshold, and wherein the
second card is configured as an orphan card unassociated with the header
card when the second card is beyond the threshold.
7. The system as claimed in claim 4, comprising:
a header card for controlling a plurality of perpendicularly associated lines
of subject card slots which enable associating all adopted subject cards by
placing them in the plurality of perpendicularly associated lines of subject
8. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the virtual board comprises a
column of cards, which allows a configured card to move in response to a
user indication including moving associated cards with the designed card.
9. The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the virtual board is enabled to
allow insertion of a media object.
10.The system as claimed in claim 9, wherein the media object is associated
with external content by linking the media object networked content and
embedding a media content file.
11.The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein a graphical element is added to
a selected card.
12.The system as claimed in claim 11, wherein the graphical element
comprise a displayed thinking depiction.
13.The system as claimed in claim 13, wherein the displayed thinking
depiction comprises one of a label, a flag, a black hole, and a big fish.
14.The system as claimed in claim 11, wherein the graphical element
comprises a line linking to the elected cards.
15,The system as claimed in claim 1, wherein the:header card is disposed at
a horizontal spacing from a previously positioned header card.
16.The system as claimed in claim 1, comprising means for stacking a
plurality of subject cards, and depicting a stack of electronic cards in
response to a user indication.
17.The system as claimed in claim 16, comprising means for detecting the
user unstuck indication of a mousing over of the stacked electronic cards.
18.The system as claimed in claim 1, comprises means for displaying the
virtual board at a remote location.
19.The system as claimed in claim 1, comprising means for adding text to the
created card, and selectively displaying the added text.
20.The system as claimed in claim 1, comprising means for automatic saving
the created card.
21.The system as claimed in claim 1, comprising means for performing a
created card resizing operation when the amount of text exceeding a
|Indian Patent Application Number||835/KOL/2004|
|PG Journal Number||21/2011|
|Date of Filing||20-Dec-2004|
|Name of Patentee||ETHICON ENDO-SURGERY, INC.|
|Applicant Address||4545 CREEK ROAD, CINCINNATI, OH|
|PCT International Classification Number||G06F 3/033|
|PCT International Application Number||N/A|
|PCT International Filing date|