Mind Mapping on paper is a well-known technique for helping improve creativity. I’ve always thought Mindmapping was a useful tool and that Tony Buzan’s underpinning principles for using them to help improve communication and learning were highly relevant to the business world. It’s just that I could never really see how it could be used in a live workshop environment, or as a daily tool to help managers and staff. I’d really only ever used them “solo”, on paper, for exam revision and for planning articles, training materials etc..
What’s perhaps less well-known than the creativity uses of Mindmapping is its use for improving business productivity and as a knowledge capture/sharing tool.
I’ve become something of a Mindmapping enthusiast since having easy-to-use software (iThoughtsHD) available on my iPad. I’ve also been using desktop and cloud-based Mindmapping products. So, here are some of the things I’ve been able to do with the software that I think has helped with both creativity and productivity:
- Capture a SWOT Analysis “live” in a business planning workshop
- Create a Fishbone Diagram as part of a problem solving exercise
- Create and organise a Work Breakdown Structure for an IT project, with the involvement of key stakeholders at a workshop
- Record a speaker’s notes and content of presentations at conferences and seminars and shared them electronically within 24 hours of the event
- Collaborate online to design some workshops, from logistics to content
- Record all the good work that a team is doing, give it some structure and help them use this to focus their next year’s Improvement Plan
- Capture an Action Plan with names and dates, at the end of a meeting, which can be e-mailed to participants within minutes of the end of the meeting
One of the really powerful aspects of using this sort of software is that it makes “Visual Management” so much more of a possibility. Mindmaps can be created on-screen, in real-time, so that everyone contributes and agrees the content and actions.
You’ll find links to my favourite Mindmapping tools on my Project Management Resources Trello Board.