Friday, October 06, 2006

Mind Maps

If you goggle "mind map" you get about 134 million results, yet I don't think many people know what mind mapping is. A guy named Dr. Allen Collins invented the concept in the 60's to help his students, but I noticed in the book, "How to Think like Leonardo" that Leonardo used this method and may have actually invented it. I became aware of it several years ago and now I use it quite a bit. It is especially useful in making complex decisions, and especially useful for decisions encountered in business - litigation, planning, strategy, etc.... I would best describe it as stream of conciseness thinking, but without forgetting all of the variables you may have identified while thinking - now they are laid out in front of you. You can move them, delete them, add to them, etc... Every idea is attached to every other idea with numerous links which reduces the complex to one dimension and thus a better decision. It is a semantic representation of the thought process. The best way to describe it is to actually do it and it is quite easy.

Freeware is a topic I should write about sometime, but anyway - there is an excellent program which is free (hence freeware or open source) and works intuitively called Freemind. It is easy to find a download location. I highly recommend it - you'll look (and feel) like a genius.Above is a more complex example of what it can do I use to make decisions concerning Requests For Proposals. Here are some examples I pulled off the internet. Even in German you get the idea. Here is another done by hand. I should mention that doing them by hand is a viable method, but I find the drop and drag function in a program very useful. (Also, because I am such a bad speller I rely on spell check - to me, spell check is crack) I often start with a hand drawn copy to ferret out the main ideas and then take it to the computer for revision and expansion. There is wow factor when you actually sit down and make one of these. I would almost call it an epiphany. If you give it a try and you are consistent I guarantee a very satisfying result.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous10:52 PM

    Hi there, I noticed your blog on mind mapping. If you like Free Mind, you may want to check out other mapping applications that have more capabilities. There is a cool open forum on this you might like:

    Here is a mind mapping survey taken by mapping software users that you might also like in this 9/25 blog entry:


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