Examples of Mind Mapping in NYC with Biggerplate

biggerplateBPUNRecently 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.

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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!







BigPicture to attend Biggerplate Conference in NYC this week

What is Biggerplate, you ask?BiggerPlateAdClean

Biggerplate.com is THE community for mind mappers. They are the home of mind mapping content and learning resources regarding mind maps. They host a range of meetings, workshops and their annual Biggerplate Unplugged Conference which is TOMORROW at Civic Hall in New York City. This is the only conference in the world dedicated entirely to mind mapping! Tomorrow’s speakers include authors, tech leaders, professors, medical professionals and more. The primary focus for this year’s conference is how mind mapping software, such as BigPicture, is the missing link and the must have tool for knowledge workers in business and education.

Why are we so excited?

By attending this conference we will be able to network with mind mappers from around the globe for a full day of mind mapping ideology. Even though mind mapping is only ONE of the MANY features that BigPicture provides, it is one that can be an incredible addition to what you may already be doing with Palisade’s other DecisionTools Suite products. Mind mapping in BigPicture can help streamline your processes and improve efficiency in your daily projects.

Palisade Corporation is always looking to learn what our audience is doing and what their wishes are. These situations provide an insight for us to be forward thinking and to take a look at the Big Picture…and BigPicture to see where we can improve functionality in future releases, such as what we did with our most recent release of BigPicture that went live last month.

Two thirds of the population are visual thinkers. We are looking to learn how those two thirds of the population can benefit from using BigPicture!


BigPicture 2016 v1: Users Spoke – Developers Listened

BigPicture - Mind Mapping and Data Exploration for Excel

New Features in BigPicture — at Users’ Request

Palisade is pleased to announce that BigPicture has a new release! BigPicture 2016 v1 was released  this week with a plethora of new features. The new features were a direct result of  feedback throughout the past 6 months since BigPicture was first introduced to the public.

Here is a short list of some of the new features.

Additional Data Map Calculation Options
Our users requested that developers expand on the calculation types that were made available in Data Maps. In addition to the original calculations (Total, Average, Min, Max) BigPicture can now display and calculate rollup calculations including, Median, Mode, Standard Deviation, Average Deviation, Variance, Range and a variety of Percentiles.

Improved Data Map End Tables
To improve screen real estate and the ability to sort on multiple end tables, BigPicture now displays End Tables in an End Table Pane. Now you can stack and sort multiple tables by selecting the Display Multiple End Tables option.

Data Cleaning for Data Maps, Linked Maps and Organizational Charts
Have you ever had an extraneous “space” or capitalization difference in an entry of your data that wreaked havoc on getting the results that you were looking for? If so, you can now click on the Check Data button and BigPicture will scan your grouping variables to see if there are any extraneous, spaces, commas, etc.

Automatic Mapping of Conditional Formatting
BigPicture has improved support for coloring topics with conditional formatting from linked cells. Map topics can pick up both conditional format cell colors and conditional formatting icons from linked cells. In true BigPicture style, topic color and icons change when the format of linked cells change.

Are you looking to format your topics in your map based on set criteria? With BigPicture’s new Tags feature you can! Create custom Tags, or use the ones that are built-in, to color, shape and style your topics based on a tag name.

Outline to Map Capability
How much easier does it get? Import an outline and BigPicture will create the map for you!

For 32 years, Palisade software tools have been helping decision-makers gain powerful insights in their spreadsheets; now, BigPicture adds a new, visual diagramming platform to your decision-making toolbox.

We hope that by seeing and experiencing these improvements you will be encouraged to send your feedback our way!

Learn more about BigPicture and download a Free Trial here.


Introduction to BigPicture FREE Webinar on 2nd September 2015

BigPicture is Palisade’s new mind mapping, diagramming, and data visualization add-in for Microsoft Excel. In this webcast, we will show you how BigPicture works, and how it can aid in strategic planning, human resource analysis, data exploration, and more. We will walk through the basics of setting up a BigPicture diagram (or “map”), and illustrate several real-world examples of different applications. After seeing how simple and flexible BigPicture is, you should be able to start trying it out on your own problems.

To register, click here.


BigPicture Example Series: Using BigPicture for oil drilling decisions

BigPicture is a useful visual tool in illustrating drilling decisions if you are an oil company.  The purpose of this map is to help the decision maker understand the various aspects of a problem.

These include the inputs to the problem (monetary values and probability distributions), the decisions involved, any uncertainties, and important outputs. Each of these is represented by a topic (an object of some color and shape), and the topics are connected logically by arrows to show what affects what.

Normally, problems like this one are represented, and solved numerically, by decision trees, which can be created with the Palisade PrecisionTree add-in. However, a map like the one shown here is useful as a preliminary step to a formal decision tree. It lets decision makers see the important issues in the decision problem and how they are related.

By studying the map (and using the Topic Key at the top left), the elements of the problem should be fairly clear. However, if this isn’t enough, you can Play the slide show that accompanies the map. This shows how the decision process unfolds through time, and text boxes to the left of the map explain each slide in some detail.

Once you create the basic map with BigPicture’s tools, you can then use Excel’s Shape tools to reshape or recolor topics or connectors. For example, the Yes/No connectors in this map have been coloured dark red.

Screenshot 2015-08-19 11.33.08


For more information on BigPicture, or to download a copy visit our website.

Intro to BigPicture FREE Webinar August 21st

Get insights into Palisade’s powerful new mind mapping and data exploration tool on this free webinar.  In this webcast, you’ll see how BigPicture works, and how it can aid in strategic planning, human resource analysis, data exploration and more.  We will walk through the basis of setting up a BigPicture diagram (or map) and illustrate several real-world examples of different applications.

To register click here.

BigPicture Example Series: Capacity Decision

In the BigPicture Example Series, we’ll show you different ways you can make BigPicture work for you.  You can check out all these example files with your copy of the BigPicture software, which you can download here. Get BigPicture today and start playing with these fun and informative example models. The possibilities are limitless!

The Capacity Decision BigPicture map illustrates a capacity decision faced by a company. This type of map can help the decision maker understand the various aspects of the problem. These include the inputs to the problem (monetary values and other inputs), the decisions involved, any uncertainties, and important outputs. Each of these is represented by a topic (an object of some color and shape), and the topics are connected logically by arrows to show what affects what:

capacity decision 1


Normally, problems like this one are represented, and solved numerically, by Excel tools and possibly add-ins such as Palisade’s Evolver optimization add-in. However, a map like the one shown below is useful as a preliminary step to a formal analysis. It lets decision makers see the important issues in the decision problem and how they are related.


Check out the full example model in BigPicture’s ‘Example Spreadsheets’ section under the Help menu: