Mindmapping* is one of the simplest, most powerful tools you can have in your thinking toolbox. If you haven’t tried this powerful technique, go immediately to the Mindmapping in 8 Easy Steps 5-minute workshop. The mindmap below is explained in that brief workshop.
Mindmapping is a non-linear way of organizing information and a technique that allows you to capture the natural flow of your ideas. Just as important, it is a visual way of thinking that keeps the entire scope of what you’re thinking about in front of you. It also gives you a concise, effective way to communicate an entire concept to others.
Uses for Mindmapping:
The following are just a few of the uses of this important tool:
Organizing information and ideas -- for reports, memos, letters, novels, poems or other writings
"To do" maps – lets you quickly scan all of your projects for priority items
Presentations – helps your audience understand and remember your content
Meetings – provide concise overviews of complex issues, create agendas & minutes easily
Brainstorming sessions – engages the idea generation part of the brain and quickly captures ideas
Managing projects – maintain a bird’s eye view of the entire project and a visual record of tasks done and to be done.
Grocery lists – make shopping a snap
Vacation planning – get everyone in the family involved with planning
Journaling – explore deeper thoughts as you engage your emotions and inner thoughts
Note taking – deepen your understanding and memory as you connect ideas, facts and concepts together in one place.
In other words, for anything that deals with people, information or problems!
If you want to know more about mindmapping, Chuck Frey has created an incredible Mindmapping Resource Center. Check it out!
Mindmapping software makes this tool even more useful. The two pieces of software we use most are Mindmanager and Inspiration. Both are terrific tools but in this post, we will be discussing Mindmanager, which is simple, intuitive and continues to get better as its developers find new ways to add value. We recently created even a section of our website using Mindmanager!
The Mindmanager website has some very interesting case studies that are worth reading … here are a few comments to whet your appetite:
Consolidated Edison, Process Improvement -- $600,000 in annual savings identified after examining less than 15% of Con Edison processes, with millions more in savings anticipated. Business maps increase employee productivity, morale, and motivation. "The mapping approach increased participation and excitement around process improvement, and made these meetings highly productive." Al Homyk, General Manager of Operations Services. Short case study.
DFS Group: a Division of Louis Vuitton, Meeting Efficiency -- Global retailer finishes sixteen-month project in four months. Reduces IT department meeting times by 40 to 60 percent. "The biggest benefit we get from mapping is the way it creates a very participatory meeting environment, enabling our teams to quickly capture best thinking and make those ideas immediately actionable. And it does it in a way that drives commitment and buy-in. It represents a whole new way of thinking about collaboration." Rick Hamilton, Vice President, DFS IT. Short case study.
NPR (National Public Radio), IT Project Management -- An IT Manager uses MindManager to plan projects and justify capital spending. "The biggest ROI I get from MindManager is time-savings. I can… plan projects very quickly in a map view, export all the information right into Microsoft Project, and I'm ready to go." Robert Holt, Manager of Technical Operations. Short case study.
*Kudos to Tony Buzan who articulated the process of non-linear, visual thinking and coining the term “mind map.” Tony’s books Use Both Sides of Your Brain and the Mind Map Book are wonderful resources. More about Tony and his work here.