Recently I had the pleasure of sharing an entire day with a tight-knit group of mind mappers from around the globe. They are a friendly group, willing to share ideas of how mind mapping has improved productivity in their personal and professional lives. The Biggerplate Unplugged Conference that I attended was held at Civic Hall in New York City on an unusually warm day in March. The diversity of applications that centered around mind mapping was a beautiful site to see. From entrepreneurs and consultants, to writers and educators, to medical professionals and tech leaders, there was something to be learned no matter the field.
The mind mapping software packages used to create such mind maps were also quite diverse. BigPicture, of course, is a perfect tool for creating mind maps directly in your Microsoft Excel workbook. However, truth be told, it does not matter the means by which you create your mind map – it is the principal behind it that is basis of this post.
For instance, have you ever created a “to do” list? Or had to gather information for a presentation? Or break down a larger project into smaller projects? Or chart your progress? All of these applications, and many more, would be perfect scenarios of how a mind map could reduce the amount of time that people spend trying to organize and reorganize their thoughts.
Here are a few other ways that were covered at the conference:
Dr. Pablo Buitron de la Vega shared how he used mind mapping for medical education and for patient interaction. Via mind maps, Dr. Buitron de la Vega and Dr. Wazir Kudrath have created a specialized and integrated study companion that helps future doctors prepare for the USMLE examinations. In addition, Dr. Buitron de la Vega has had some of his patients create mind maps to map out their disease, symptoms, triggers and solutions to help keep them on track when things are in their control. By having the patient go through the exercise of creating a map, they are triggering a variety of neurons in their brain that will help them to remember why and what is causing them discomfort.
Madeleine Philippe from the Universite Saint-Louis Bruxelles and Toni Krasnic of Concise Learning, and author of How to Study with Mind Maps, took the stage to demonstrate how mind mapping can help develop essential thinking and learning skills. Mr. Krasnic said it best when he said that he teaches students and educators to use mind maps to move away from simply collecting information and instead connecting information.
Writers Roger Parker and Stephanie Diamond demonstrated how they use mind mapping to map out their projects, whether it is a simple blog post such as this one, or an entire book. A mind map can help you focus on your target audience, what you want to cover, and how to engage your audience more effectively.
Brian Sodl of Navigator Management Partners and Larry Wolfe of Boeing each presented on how mind maps can be useful in larger organizations such as Boeing, Deloitte, and Bearing Point. They discussed how there are occasionally challenges that may arise when trying to convince upper management that mind maps are a viable tool. Mr. Wolfe touched on the benefits of self-organized mind map user groups to help overcome the hurdle and to prove that mind maps improve efficiency in the workplace.
David Hill was also in attendance. For those that may not be familiar with David’s work, he had an integral part in helping to keep all of the details organized for the rebuilding lower Manhattan after the 9/11 attacks. His tool? A mind map.
To drive home how imagery can help people retain information, Nora Herting and an artist from her company, ImageThink, delved into the science behind how the human brain works. While Nora presented, her artist stood on the sideline drawing a summary image of her talk. (See summary images for all of the talks below.) As described on ImageThink’s website, these masterpieces drive discussions, create lasting records of free-flowing ideas and provide actionable documents to continue the conversation long after the event.
In summary, it was great to share this day with Liam Hughes, founder of Biggerplate, his staff, and fellow mind mappers. And now I am sharing with you, so you can see that there are endless applications for using mind maps!
Now, if only I could spend a day or two with a few tight-knit strategic mapping, organizational chart creating, flow chart diagramming, data mapping evangelists – I might be able to cover all of BigPicture’s features!