Mind Mapping to Improve Productivity, Foster Creativity and Encourage Collaboration

SimpleProductivityBlog has a guest post up from the folks behind MindMaple, a software tool for creating mind maps. Unfortunately, the software is Windows-only, so I won’t be using it any time soon.

Regardless, the blog post gives a great overview of some of the benefits of using mind maps. My kids, as part of the International Baccalaureate program at their school, are taught to use a variety of mind maps beginning as early as second grade. At a recent parent-teacher conference, we saw examples of before and after using mind maps for writing assignments – and the difference was astonishing.

The ability to organize one’s thoughts is highly undervalued in comparison to the ability to retain information. The latter is helpful for winning Jeapordy. The former is essential to successful execution.

Mind mapping software is used by many large corporations and businesses to improve creativity, collaboration, and productivity, and you can use it in your own life to reach the same results. Mind mapping is a way of visually organizing information and ideas on a map in a way that allows you to easily see complex relationships and patterns; mind mapping can be used for organizing schedules and projects, drafting plans and outlines, managing and sharing information, collaborating with friends and colleagues, recording notes, brainstorming and meetings, and many more purposes.

A mind map begins with a central topic, usually enclosed in a circle or box, which can be a general category or a problem you are trying to solve. You can surround this central topic with smaller, related supporting topics and ideas that are connected to the central topic by a line indicating a relationship. Each of these supporting topics can be developed by adding attached topics and ideas. A developed mind map often looks like a “web” or “tree” of ideas, all connected to one another in various ways.

Image via Terry Madeley