is Mind Mapping (MM)? Description
MM is a popular brainstorming tool and learning technique of
visually arranging ideas and their interconnections. It can be used to graphically
arrange the linkages of some central concept or issue with other concepts
or issues into memorable treelike diagrams. It allows you to create, capture,
organize, and communicate readily understood and highly interactive visual
representations of complex ideas, information, and data.
A mind map always starts from some problem or issue which is positioned
in the center. Typically it contains words, short phrases and pictures, which
are connected to the central issue by lines.
Most people are visually oriented. Using structure, words, color, images,
and hyperlinks (and sounds) to bring concepts to life, MM links
a central concept or issue with related concepts or issues. Unlike linear
thinking modes (that you probably learned at school) it stimulates imagination
and creativity, by connecting
left and right brain thinking. Thus it is believed to harness the full
range of your analytical and creative skills.
Origin of MM. History
Radial drawings have already been used for centuries to analyze all kinds
of problems. An early example is the graphical representation of the categories
of Aristotle by Neoplatonist thinker Poephyry in the 3rd century. Tony
Buzan, a British psychologist and a business creativity guru, was seeking
a visual and faster way of outlining ideas on paper to support learning and
memorizing. He made the modern Mind Map popular in the 60s.
Usage of Mind Maps. Applications
Commonly, the following functions have been described for MM
- To visualize human information exchange (e.g. workshops, project or
staff meetings, brainstorm sessions and strategy sessions).
- To organize, reorganize and filter the thoughts and ideas that are collected.
analyze and structure the information, to identify relationships between
- To improve knowledge management systems. The Mind Map can be used as
a visual interface that contains information or external links. Latest software
allows automatic build-up of the Mind Map by search engines and renewal
of the content by refreshing.
- To produce and present information in a better way. Mind Maps can be
automatically converted to other forms of communication, such as: web sites,
MSPowerpoint presentations, Projectmanagement information, MSWord files
and MSOutlook tasks.
- To better manage the information for meetings, presentations, projects,
proposals, research, contacts, etc. Both in the preparation phase, the execution
phase and the follow-up phase.
Mind Maps can be used for a large range of activities, including:
- Note-taking and reporting. Recall.
- Brainstorm. Improve creativity. Capture ideas. Compare:
Cause and Effect Diagram
- Clarifying of thoughts. Summarizing. Gain an overview. See topics in
their context. Presentation.
- Analyze and solve complex problems.
- Team building.
- Collapse or expand topics to see more or to see less detail (through
- Support group communication processes (through software).
Software for MM. Programs
You can draw mind maps by hand, during a lecture or meeting, but the process
can also be supported by specialized MM software, resulting in additional
benefits and new and interesting application areas. MM software
can be used on several levels:
- Individual use. To increase personal effectiveness (elaborating
ideas and plans, control over complex information, time and project management).
- Use in teams. To increase creativity and team work (brainstorming,
staff meetings, project meetings, project management, knowledge management).
- Use at events. To increase interaction and stakeholder communication,
visualize discussions and enable easy reporting mechanisms in the follow-up
of the events such as conferences, workshops and seminars.
- Corporate use. To create an open and collaborative culture and
to standardize and support work processes (project management, procurement,
HRM, sales & marketing, research & development).
for MM. Process
Some generic hints to create a good mind map are:
- Position the main idea in the center. Preferably a picture of it.
- Use lots of space, so you can add things later.
- Use colors and capitals where useful. Personalize the map.
- Look for relationships.
- Create sub centers for sub themes.
Strengths of Mind Mapping. Benefits
- Simplicity. Ease of use.
- Associative. Any idea probably has many links.
- Visual. Easy to remember.
- Radial. Allows you to work in all directions.
- Overview. Helps to see the big picture and relationships between issues.
Strengths of MM software. Benefits
- On a technical level.
- A mind map can be collapsed or expanded to quickly increase or decrease
the level of detail.
- A mind map can be filtered (priorities, key words, colors) to produce
customized versions of the ‘mother’ Mind Map.
- Mind maps can be enriched by: texts, graphics, spreadsheet info, links
to files, websites and RSS-feeds.
- Mind maps can be linked to produce multi-maps.
- Various modes of collaboration can be supported (such as brainstorming,
presentation, building, customizing, project management,
- Mind Maps can be converted to almost all traditional forms of
communication (vice versa).
- On a functional level.
- Flexible idea capturing and filtering mechanisms.
- Various modes of presentation (Mind Map, website, PowerPoint, etc).
- Reporting (Mind Map, Word, Outlook, Visio, etc).
- Implementation – project management.
- On a knowledge and information management level.
- Software can connect people in a direct and effective way to information.
- Knowledge and Information processes are better
integrated in work of people.
- Information is better managed and needless duplication of information
is avoided as the information of the Mind Map can be transformed and synchronized
Book: Tony Buzan - The Mind Map Book: How
to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain's Untapped Potential -
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Compare with Mind Mapping: Brainstorming
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