Getting your head around mainstream mind mapping
Niche technology now ready for prime time?
RegCast If you haven't heard the term ‘mind mapping’ before, you could be forgiven for thinking it was something sinister from 1984, or perhaps some high tech secret service interrogation technique.
It is, in fact, a diagramming technique that's been used for many years for capturing, analyzing, and expressing thoughts and ideas in a very visual manner. When you see people sitting quietly in the corner of a meeting drawing ‘spider diagrams’ in their notebook, that's mind mapping, and it's based on the premise that the brain often processes and retains information and concepts more effectively through pictures rather than words.
Over the years, however, it's been a pretty niche skill practiced by certain types of people whose brain works in a certain type of way, but with the advent of mind mapping software, the whole area has become more accessible.
Aided by technology, mind mapping can be a pretty effective way for pretty much anyone to create order from the chaos of the world around them more effectively – in a model, at least, but that's not a bad starting point. As a result, mind mapping is starting to find its place in the mainstream in areas ranging from requirements capture and project management, through risk assessment and analysis, to even general team collaboration.
But let's not spoil the fun as a couple of guys from Freeform Dynamics and Mindjet who have experience of this whole area have made a video for you to watch, taking you through not just the theory and use of mind mapping as a personal productivity aid, but the application of mapping technology in a variety of commonly encountered IT and business scenarios.
So, if you want to explore the potential, and get some practical real world advice into the bargain, click through to our Regcast on the topic right here. ®
Works well-with fineliners..
Done this since I was 14-preferred nice coloured fineliners and interesting paper of all sizes though. Buzan's Mindmap book describes this process nicely-cheap enough second hand on Amazon. Disagree 100% with the "messy" notion. Just means you organise your brainstorming some.
Software has a place, I found it good for outlining essays/reports or any length of work beyond a short page.
For notetaking, it's nice to have mindmaps/quasi mind maps and old fashioned bullets to hand. More tools.
Still a ways to go
Freemind is still quite linear and clunky compared to iMindMap, (can't speak for MindManager), but even those fall short of the freedom of pencil & paper for creating mind maps.
Obviously software has the advantage in editing, but if you're editing as you go, you're probably not thinking freely enough. Better to get it all on paper, and then edit as a post-process. For that way of working, pencil & paper is fastest.
Scanning the result in would save some time. Using a tablet would be an intermediate step, but still tempting to self-edit as you go.
Free Your Mind
*cough* FreeMind *cough*