Mind Mapping Software Blog http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com The best mind mapping tools and strategies for business success Tue, 19 Jun 2018 21:12:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 MindGenius 2018 debuts brainstorming and project management innovations http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/mindgenius-2018-review/ http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/mindgenius-2018-review/#respond Sun, 27 May 2018 13:55:28 +0000 http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/?p=9689 s always exciting when I see a mind mapping software developer stretching the capabilities of its program to meet the emerging needs of its users. A case in point is the recently launched MindGenius 2018.

The post MindGenius 2018 debuts brainstorming and project management innovations appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
MindGenius 2018 review

It’s always exciting when I see a mind mapping software developer stretching the capabilities of its program to meet the emerging needs of its users. A case in point is the recently launched MindGenius 2018.

It includes a kanban view that makes it easy to look at your project data from a variety of perspectives, and a guided brainstorming mode that presents users with sets of questions that help them get into six different frames of mind to generate ideas and solutions. In addition, it uses “snapshots” to visually overlay the planned timetable of a project over the current status, so users can easily see where it is off track.

MindGenius 2018 contains numerous new and enhanced features that make it a top contender for business users of mind mapping software. In this review, we will focus on the most significant capabilities that you can use to gain deeper insights, make better decisions and be more productive in your work.

Here’s what’s new and notable in MindGenius 2018:

Dynamic views

This new set of views takes your map’s data and displays it as a set of columns, much like a kanban diagram. You can view your project tasks by category, resources, priority and status. In mind map view, you must edit a task’s properties to update them. If you have a large number of updates to make, this can become ponderous and time consuming. In dynamic views, you simply drag and drop the task into the column that corresponds to its new status. This automatically updates it in all the program’s other views (mind map and GANTT).

Dynamic viewsa - MindGenius 2018

In my role as a marketing consultant, I see a growing number of companies moving to kanban, especially those that have adopted LEAN manufacturing. It’s a great way to help team members see their tasks and responsibilities, and how they relate to the overall project. By displaying this data in a columnar format, it becomes more understandable to people who aren’t comfortable with the radial format of a mind map. Plus, the drag and drop functionality makes it easy to keep tasks up-to-date.

In a recent video, MindGenius general manager Ashley Marron and Donald MacIver explained that their goal in creating dynamic views was to present project data in ways that will yield insights that wouldn’t be readily apparent just looking at the mind map view. They also revealed that we can expect to see a product update toward the end of 2018 with additional enhancements to this terrific new feature.

Solution Finder

For years, mind mapping software programs have offered brainstorming views, where you can add multiple ideas very quickly – usually only using the keyboard. Wisely, the development team at MindGenius realized this is no longer enough. Most of us are so habitual in our thinking that we literally need a whack on the side of the head to get us thinking in new directions. Solution Finder is that whack.

MindGenius 2018 - solution finder

When you create a new challenge in MindGenius, you first give it a title. Next, the program displays a page that briefly explains each of the 6 types of thinking. It doesn’t say this exercise is inspired by Edward de Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats methodology. but it is. Once you understand these mental “frames,” you select a one of 9 question sets to help you brainstorm solutions to your challenge.

However, I was surprised and disappointed to see that when I selected each of the question lists, the questions displayed didn’t change much. They were all variations of statements like, ‘From a Yellow perspectives, let’s explore values and benefits.” I was confused, so I looked at the program’s help file. Apparently, the intent is not for the program to give brainstorming prompts, but to aid a facilitator in getting the team into a shared mindset, so they can then brainstorm ideas on their own.

I prefer to use creative questions as catalysts to get jump-start my thinking in new, fresh directions. Fortunately, I noticed that MindGenius 2018 allows you to add you own question lists, so you can customize this brainstorming tool to meet your needs – Nice!

So I loaded up the Phoenix Checklist, a problem solving and brainstorming technique designed to help FBI agents solve problems in the field. This process worked great, but I could only load one question at time. In future updates to the program, it would be great if you could populate a custom question list in a single copy-and-paste operation. Still, the idea that you can actually add custom lists is very cool!

To begin brainstorming, you select a question. It gets highlighted in the lower section of the panel on the left side of the workspace. I then started typing ideas, one at a time, into a form field above it, and they appeared as rectangular objects in horizontal rows in the workspace.

Optionally, you can assign them to categories, using a group of symbols in the toolbar. Adding them is an intuitive drag-and-drop operation. These symbols include groupings of potential idea value (high/medium/low), review status (agree/disagree/update required/not addressed) and more. You can also customize your own categories.

If you have a large number of ideas on screen, you can zero in on them by category, or design your own filters using the program’s powerful Filter Builder. Once you’re done brainstorming ideas, you can transform them into a mind map. MindGenius 2018 gives you three options:

  • An unstructured map
  • A category-centric map
  • A question-centric map

I tried this with a set of ideas I brainstormed, and was pleased to see that the program reformatted my categorized ideas into an org-chart (downward facing) type of map, with my categories as the first-level topics. I also noticed that it created this mind map view in a different map file. That enabled me to easily switch to the brainstorm view, modify my settings and “republish” until I got the kind of output I wanted.

I’m impressed that the MindGenius development team wants to add value to brainstorming. But I’d like to see more done with the question sets so they can truly support divergent thinking, not just team alignment. Also, arranging the ideas in tightly grouped rows discourages users from moving ideas around to reveal connections between them or “plussing” ideas – adding to ideas already added to the map. A radial map works very well for both of these brainstorming techniques – but isn’t as intuitive for non-mind mappers. So, Solution Finder appears to be a trade-off to make MindGenius more inviting to non-mind mappers and organizational teams.

Improved GANTT view

MindGenius 2018 includes a simple enhancement that adds a lot of value for non-project managers: At any time, you can tell the program to take a “snapshot” of the program’s GANTT chart. Later, you can overlay it on the current status of the project, which enables you to see exactly where your project has gone off-course. Brilliant!

GANTT snapshot - MindGenius 2018

Conclusion

It’s exciting to see the direction MindGenius is headed with the 2018 version. This is the biggest update to the program in some time. It’s also excellent to see that the developer’s executive team is focused on trying to attract non-mind mappers to use the program, rather than trying to convert users of another mind mapping program to use MindGenius.

Dynamic views are a great addition to the program; anyone who uses kanban boards in their work will appreciate their intuitive functionality. It will be interesting to see how it evolves! The new brainstorming view is also intriguing, but the question sets could definitely be improved.

Finally, I’m very impressed that the MindGenius development team figured out a way to bring simplicity and improved clarity to the program’s GANTT view with snapshot overlays. With a bright red overlay, the areas where your project has fallen behind really stand out, enabling you to quickly zero in on those parts of the project that need immediate attention.

With this new version, MindGenius has introduced a new pricing model: For US$232, you can purchase the subscription model, which gives you the program plus a yearly fee of US$56 to cover upgrades. For US$392, you can purchase the program for a one-time fee (which the developer calls the perpetual pricing model), but then you get no future upgrades.

Upgrade pricing is also available for owners of previous versions of MindGenius.

If you want to try MindGenius 2018’s new features before you buy, you can download a trial version here.

The post MindGenius 2018 debuts brainstorming and project management innovations appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/mindgenius-2018-review/feed/ 0
Deep impact: How artificial intelligence will transform mind mapping software http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/ai-mind-mapping-software/ http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/ai-mind-mapping-software/#respond Mon, 23 Apr 2018 21:31:53 +0000 http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/?p=9674 Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to make a huge impact in our work and lives during the next several years. Most types of software will be transformed by its far-reaching effects, and mind mapping software is no exception.  I have created a new report to help you understand what the intersection of these two technologies […]

The post Deep impact: How artificial intelligence will transform mind mapping software appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
AI and mind mapping software

Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to make a huge impact in our work and lives during the next several years. Most types of software will be transformed by its far-reaching effects, and mind mapping software is no exception.  I have created a new report to help you understand what the intersection of these two technologies may look like.

AI and mind mapping software reportBased on research I recently conducted about artificial intelligence, conversations I had with many of the world’s leading mind mapping software developers and some deep thinking about its potential, I’m convinced that AI has the potential to radically alter the ways in which we interact with mind mapping software. I have summarized my findings and predictions in a new report: AI & Mind Mapping Software: How Natural Language Processing, Deep Learning, Intelligent Agents & Image Recognition Will Revolutionize Visual Thinking.

This new report provides you with overviews of the major AI technologies, explains them in plain English and provides examples of how they’re used today. It then explores multiple perspectives on how they may be incorporated into mind mapping software in the years ahead – and the astounding new capabilities they may make possible.

How important is AI?

Here’s what a selection of experts and researchers have to say about its significance:

  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai says artificial intelligence is going to have a bigger impact on the world than some of the most ubiquitous innovations in history, such as electricity or fire.
  • “About 100 years ago, electricity transformed every major industry. AI has advanced to the point where it has the power to transform” every major sector in coming years.” – Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera and founder of the Google Brain Deep Learning Project
  • “We are entering a new world. The technologies of machine learning, speech recognition, and natural language understanding are reaching a nexus of capability. The end result is that we’ll soon have artificially intelligent assistants to help us in every aspect of our lives.” – Amy Stapleton, independent industry analyst, Opus Research
  • “There is an opportunity to fundamentally change how we work – a promise made more compelling by the fact that these cognitive based systems will be able to learn and adapt to our particular situation.” – James Haight, Analyst, Blue Hill Research

If you’re a current user of mind mapping software or are seriously considering investing in it, you’ll want to understand how it is likely to evolve in the next 5-10 years. The possibilities are truly mind-boggling.

Get your copy of the AI & Mind Mapping Software Report today

Give me the report now! (1.1 MB PDF)

If you think this report is valuable, please share it. Thank you!

The post Deep impact: How artificial intelligence will transform mind mapping software appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/ai-mind-mapping-software/feed/ 0
Make your ideas more understandable with a right-facing mind map http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/why-right-facing-mind-maps/ http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/why-right-facing-mind-maps/#respond Tue, 17 Apr 2018 18:11:38 +0000 http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/?p=9661 One of the biggest challenges of sharing mind maps with others is that many people don’t know how to read them. Michael Deutch from Corel has come up with a simple solution to this common challenge: use right-facing mind maps. Here’s his rationale: “Many people tend to create maps that make sense to them. That’s a […]

The post Make your ideas more understandable with a right-facing mind map appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
Why use a right-facing mind map?

One of the biggest challenges of sharing mind maps with others is that many people don’t know how to read them. Michael Deutch from Corel has come up with a simple solution to this common challenge: use right-facing mind maps. Here’s his rationale:

“Many people tend to create maps that make sense to them. That’s a great way to go about mapping but it doesn’t always yield the optimal content for consumption by other people. I want to reduce the cognitive overload and burden on the consumer of the content. A familiar list-like format provides a clearer starting point and path to review content than a radial diagram does,” he explains.

5 advantages of right-facing mind maps

Here are five scenarios where right facing mind maps are superior to radial mind maps:

  1. They’re much easier for people not familiar with mind maps to understand
  2. You can use them to display a timeline or a process, which can be read from top to bottom.
  3. If your mind map incorporates topic calculations, a right-facing mind map makes it easier to see how numbers roll up from lower to higher levels of the mind map.
  4. Their compact, rectangular layout makes very efficient use of screen real estate and printouts (in landscape mode)
  5. They make it easier to see connections between unrelated topics. If you add relationship lines between them, they have a neater appearance because they don’t have to snake from one side of the mind map to the other.

How to create a right-facing mind map

Each mind mapping program handles it a bit differently. But in general, you need to find where your program of choice places its map design commands. Within that menu tab, look for map direction commands and select the right-facing option. All of your topics will now be arrayed to the right of the central topic.

Here are some tips on where to find these controls in some of the most popular mind mapping programs:

MindManager 2018

MindManager 2018 right facing mind map

MindView

MindView 7 right facing mind map

XMind 2018

XMind 2018 right facing mind map

MindGenius

MindGenius right facing mind map

iMindQ

iMindQ right-facing mind map

iMindMap

Note: iMindMap doesn’t enable you to create a right-facing map, or reformat a radial map into one. However, you can drag and drop topics to the right side of the central topic manually to give the appearance of a right-facing mind map.

iMindMap right-facing mind map

MindMapper

MindMapper right-facing mind map

MindMeister

MindMeister right-facing mind map

When should you use a right-facing map format?

  1. When the people with whom you’re sharing your mind map MUST understand its meaning.
  2. When your goal is to show a timeline or a process.
  3. If you’re trying to show connections between seemingly unrelated topics
  4. If you’re including calculations in your map and “rolling them up” to higher-level topics
  5. If you’re trying to get your mind map to fit on a single printed page or screen of information

Good luck with creating your own right-facing mind maps.

If you have any questions about this map format, please post them in the comments below.

The post Make your ideas more understandable with a right-facing mind map appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/why-right-facing-mind-maps/feed/ 0
Dictate topics in mind mapping software: Here’s how http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/dictate-topics-mind-mapping-software/ http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/dictate-topics-mind-mapping-software/#respond Thu, 29 Mar 2018 18:13:37 +0000 http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/?p=9646 Did you know you can quickly and easily add topics to your mind maps using Dragon Naturally speaking dictation software? Here's how 10 popular mind mapping applications compare in their support of this functionality.

The post Dictate topics in mind mapping software: Here’s how appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
how to dictate topics in mind mapping software

Did you know you can quickly and easily dictate topic text and add it to your mind maps using Dragon Naturally Speaking dictation software?

This topic recently came up when a fellow content marketer and mind mapper contacted me to see if this is possible. She was having a bad case of carpal tunnel syndrome, but still wanted to be able to use mind mapping software to plan content strategies and projects for herself and her clients. Was there some way to dictate content into her mind mapping software?

So I opened MindManager 2018 and Dragon Naturally Speaking Home 10 and played around a bit. Here’s what I discovered:

Dragon dictation box

Dragon dictates text natively with Microsoft Office applications, such as Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. For any other applications, it opens a Dragon dictation window. It keeps track of the program that was the active window before you started to dictate. When you’re done, you simply tap the “Transfer” button and your text is automatically copied and pasted into it. To help you visualize this, I created this little video:

I also tried this technique with other mind mapping software programs, with these results:

Dictate single and multiple topics

  • MindManager 2018
  • Mind 8
  • iMindQ
  • MindView 7
  • MindGenius Business 6
  • ConceptDraw Mindmap 9.3

Dictate single and multiple topics – with one extra step

  • MindMeister – it dictates multiple items as one topic, but with a context-sensitive menu that asks if you want to split it into separate topics (see screen shot below)

Dictation in MindMeister

Dictate single topics only

  • MindMapper Arena 17

It didn’t work at all

  • iMindMap 10 Ultimate
    NovaMind 5

Other uses and advantages of mind map dictation

Admittedly, carpal tunnel syndrome isn’t a super common use case for using dictation software with mind mapping software. Here are several more practical applications of it:

  • Use it to brainstorm and capture a large number of ideas, quickly
  • Do project planning “brain dumps,” quickly and efficiently
  • Outline a book, report or other large document, capturing bits and pieces at the same velocity as your mind works

Why not give this productivity technique a try? Dragon Naturally Speaking Home is widely available for under $100. You don’t need one of the more expensive “professional” versions of this product. This one works just fine for everything I need to do, and I’m sure you’ll find it to be a great match with your needs, too!

The post Dictate topics in mind mapping software: Here’s how appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/dictate-topics-mind-mapping-software/feed/ 0
MindManager Mac users, rejoice: Corel releases version 11 in record time http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/mindmanager-11-for-mac/ http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/mindmanager-11-for-mac/#respond Tue, 27 Mar 2018 17:26:17 +0000 http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/?p=9639 Mac users of MindManager, rejoice! Corel has committed to closing the gap between new versions of MindManager for Windows and Mac. Last month, the company launched MindManager 11 for Mac - which brings it to parity with the Windows version in record time.

The post MindManager Mac users, rejoice: Corel releases version 11 in record time appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
MindManager 11 for Mac

Mac users of MindManager, rejoice! Corel is closing the gap between new versions of MindManager for Windows and Mac. Last month, the company launched MindManager 11 for Mac that nearly brings it to complete parity with the Windows version. This is much quicker than previous upgrades, which sometimes lagged up to a year.

Sometimes good things happen when you have a parent with deeper pockets!

In this review, we will focus on the most significant new features and improvements in MindManager 11 for Mac

MindManager 11 for Mac: What’s new and improved?

New diagram types: MindManager 11 for Mac gains the ability to create concept maps, workflows and timelines. As with the Windows version, you can use the program’s new drawing objects to create your own diagrams and then “lock” them so they’re not editable. In essence, they behave as if they are on the background layer. You can then populate your diagrams with floating topics and other elements. This is my favorite new functionality in the Windows version. I’m pleased to see it has now been added to the Mac version as well.

SWOT diagram - MindManager 11 for Mac

MindManager 11 for Mac includes a number of templates for each diagram type, both pre-filled with sample data and blank templates. Any of these can be modified and extended by unlocking their locked elements. This is very powerful. It will give business users a lot of control over customizing process diagrams and other visualizations to their needs.

Task management: MindManager 11 for Mac now offers a dedicated task panel on the right side of the workspace. In previous versions, this was handled by a floating inspector box. This means you can modify your tasks faster without having to mess with opening and closing an inspector. Like other side panel options, the task panel can be pinned open so it’s always visible. In addition, the new version of MindManager for Mac adds settings for efforts, milestones and four types of dependencies. It also accommodates roll-up summaries for task data.

task management - MindManager 11 for Mac

Conditional formatting: Another cool new feature of the Mac version of MindManager that I loved on the PC version is conditional formatting. Depending upon what conditions a task meets, it is automatically colored red, yellow or green. You can customize what these colors mean by adjusting their options. In other words, if a certain criteria is met, a topic may be colored green. If the value of a topic exceeds a certain threshold, the program will color it yellow. Why does this matter? When you’re working with large mind maps, you learn to appreciate anything that gives you at-a-glance meaning and context. This new feature enables you to quickly do a visual skim of your map’s contents, looking for tasks that are out of scope. That’s a real time saver!

More powerful hyperlinks: MindManager 11 for Mac now supports multiple hyperlinks per topic. It also enables you to rename link labels. This is especially useful if you use a collaboration tool like Jira that tends to generate long, ugly hyperlinks.

Map rollups: MindManager for Mac now supports map roll-ups, including summarizing data from sub-maps. This makes it even more powerful from a dashboard management point of view, because you can pull in data from multiple places and summarize it in a convenient visual format.

task rollups - MindManager 11 for Mac

Redesigned interface: Like the Windows version, MindManager’s programmers studied the most commonly-used program functions and regrouped them to make them easier to find. Also, more adjustments to topic and map properties have moved from inspector windows to the side panel. This makes it easier and faster for users to adjust their map’s properties.

New map sharing capabilities: Like MindManager 2018 for Windows, the Mac version now incorporates the program’s much-improved HTML 5 map export. It includes map and presentation views. Using the publishing settings, you can force the map viewer to open your mind map in presentation view. In addition, you can publish it with or without a password, allow download of the native .mmap file and you can brand map exports with your logo – nice! Finally, the program manages map updates intelligently. It doesn’t update the entire mind map to the viewer on the web – just the topics that have changed. This can come in quite useful if you have embedded a mind map in a blog post, you can easily publish updates to it.

Conclusion

Overall, I’m impressed with the progress that Corel has made in improving the MindManager product on both the Windows and Mac versions. With its unique take on diagramming, the software giant has transformed MindManager into a multi-functional tool for creating, publishing and sharing knowledge and information visualizations. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

MindManager 11 for Mac is priced at $179 for a perpetual license and $89 for an upgrade. This is almost half the price of the Windows version. I would guess this pricing is aimed at getting more disillusioned former MindManager Mac users back into the fold. What I’ve seen of this product is stable, fast and designed for excellent productivity. Why not give it a try using the free 30-day trial version?

The post MindManager Mac users, rejoice: Corel releases version 11 in record time appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/mindmanager-11-for-mac/feed/ 0
New: TheBrain 9 Pro looks smarter and faster than ever http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/new-thebrain-9-pro/ http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/new-thebrain-9-pro/#respond Fri, 16 Mar 2018 21:37:52 +0000 http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/?p=9621 Last month, TheBrain Technologies launched TheBrain 9, which has been re-created from the ground up for improved performance and stability. In addition, it features numerous usability enhancements that make it worth a fresh look.

The post New: TheBrain 9 Pro looks smarter and faster than ever appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>

Last month, TheBrain Technologies launched TheBrain 9, which has been re-created from the ground up for improved performance and stability. In addition, it features numerous usability enhancements that make it worth a fresh look.

For most of its 20-year life, TheBrain was powered by Java, Sun Microsystem’s powerful but sometimes wonky programming language. The engine behind TheBrain 9 is a new, proprietary brew of state-of-the-art software technologies, which make the new program significantly faster and more reliable than its predecessors. For the first time, TheBrain is a true native application on Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android, optimized for the OS-specific features of each platform.

TheBrain 9

Here’s what’s new, improved and notable in TheBrain 9 Pro:

New tabs speed access to multiple brains: The biggest and most visible user interface upgrade is a new tab interface at the top of the program’s workspace, which enables you to quickly move from one brain to another. You can even use it to drag nodes from one brain to another, or view different parts of the same brain simultaneously in two different tabs.

New import option: In TheBrain 9, you can now import visual maps from a variety of formats, including MindManager and Freemind. This enables knowledge workers with collections of mind maps to easily import them with a minimum of hassle. I tried it with a MindManager mind map that summarizes the top 10 TED Talks.

TheBrain 9

It loaded in normal view for TheBrain (sort of an org-chart like appearance, with the central topic on top and the 10 first-level topics branching out beneath it in two groups of five). I was easily able to use the View button on the program’s sparse toolbar to switch to mind map view; plus and minus icons on either side of this button enable you to open and close all branches – one layer per click – nice and intuitive!

Mind map view: One of the recent trends in business use of software is that more knowledge workers are utilizing large, high-resolution monitors. Accordingly, the developer has redesigned the program’s expanded view to provide a cleaner layout on large screens. In the past, switching to expanded view yielded a visual map where some topics overlapped each other. In version 9, this is no longer the case. Expanded view now looks very much like a mind map, which should make it appeal to current users of mind mapping software.

TheBrain 9 mind map view

New pin customization options: In previous versions of TheBrain, pins only had on and off states. In the new version, you can add multiple categories to pins without increasing visual clutter. You can also access more detailed settings for pins that control whether icons are turned on or off, or appear when hovering over the pin. Another set of controls gives you similar options over tag text.

In addition, you can customize icons to give you a greater level of control over their visual context. In other words, you can set up an icon scheme that is most meaningful and relevant to you.

TheBrain 9 Enhanced note formatting: The notes pane of TheBrain 9 has been upgraded to support numerous types of rich formatting. You can also embed images, videos, links and more in the integrated notes window. It now appears to the right of the workspace, and performs double duty as a browser/viewer for web pages and other linked or attached files.

 

Clicking the plus (+) icon to open a new tab opens a dialog box that lets you do numerous things:

  • Open a web page URL
  • Link to a file
  • Open folder
  • Create image
  • Capture image
  • Add event (Events can now be synced both to and from Google Calendar as part of TheBrain 9’s sync services)

TheBrain 9 This same tabbed toolbar at the top of the viewer pane contains a “Notes” tab as well. So no matter what you’re working on, you can add information and context to a node in your brain. Nicely integrated.

Embedded web browser: Web attachments appear right inside TheBrain 9, letting you access web information without even having to open it in a separate browser.

I’ve said it before with several mind mapping programs that have implemented this functionality – it’s actually more valuable than it appears to be at first glance. There’s something to be said for staying focused on one software application, instead of bouncing around from one to another. When you’re trying to maintain mental focus, this is critically important.

Conclusion

TheBrain 9 represents the biggest leap forward in performance and usability in quite a few years. If you work with large bodies of knowledge and information that has many deep connections, you’ll want to take a look at this latest iteration of TheBrain. My favorite updates and new features include the mind map import, clean interface with a minimum of distracting buttons and tabs and the multi-functional notes/browser/file viewer pane.

Upgrades to TheBrain 9 are free if you have an active services plan or if you purchased a new license of TheBrain after November 1, 2015. When you login using TheBrain 9, your existing license will be automatically recognized.

If you haven’t previously used TheBrain, a one-time license for version 9 is US$219. Perpetual and monthly license arrangements are also available, and are described in detail on TheBrain’s Store web page.

A 30-day trial version of TheBrain 9 Pro is available for download for Windows and Mac. After 30 days, it reverts to a free version with limited functionality.

The post New: TheBrain 9 Pro looks smarter and faster than ever appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/new-thebrain-9-pro/feed/ 0
Mind Map AR: The world’s first augmented reality visual mapping tool http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/mind-map-ar-augmented-reality/ http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/mind-map-ar-augmented-reality/#respond Mon, 12 Feb 2018 18:49:38 +0000 http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/?p=9602 Mind Map AR is a new augmented reality (AR) mind mapping application, available for Android smart phones and iPhones in the near future. It displays topics and their connections in 3D, displayed over the top of your camera's view. I recently interviewed the developer to learn more about this fascinating new smartphone application.

The post Mind Map AR: The world’s first augmented reality visual mapping tool appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
Mind Map AR

Mind Map AR is a new augmented reality (AR) mind mapping application, available for Android smart phones and iPhones in the near future. It displays topics and their connections in 3D, displayed over the top of your camera’s view. The controls are easy and intuitive.

While it’s not yet a full-featured business mapping tool, Mind Map AR does a tantalizing job of showcasing what’s possible. I recently had an opportunity to interview Dante Martin, the founder of ScapeHop – the developer of Mind Map AR – to learn about the thinking behind it, the promise and limitations of augmented reality and what the future looks like for 3D mind mapping.

Chuck Frey: What’s the backstory of Mind Map AR? What made you decide to create this application?

Mind Map ARDante Martin: I’ve always felt mind mapping is an incredibly effective strategy for learning and brain storming. When I first learned about Augmented Reality, I was intrigued by its implications for learning and productivity. Mashing up mind maps and AR felt like a natural next step.

I became obsessed with the vision of building seemingly physical idea structures that I could walk through and around. The decision to launch this app stems from my desire to have an app that can do 3D Augmented Reality mind maps. It’s more of a Field of Dreams approach: “If you build it, they will come.” I hope others are like me and will enjoy this experience too.

Frey: What needs is it designed to fill?

Martin: Everyone has eureka moments, and we’d all be better off with more. That’s the need Mind Map AR is designed to fill – more eureka moments. Mind Map AR is designed to do this by getting your blood flowing in your brain better as you move around your thoughts.

The AR experience also engages your brain by better tapping into your powerful hippocampus as you work with color, imagery, and 3D structures. The structure of the mind map directly corresponds to the way that our own brains link information together, store it and retrieve it. The colors and images act as mental triggers which help your brain link the items together.

Having voice input also makes for more conductive thinking since you can effortlessly grow your mind map on pace with the flow of your thoughts. You’ll be able to let your thoughts flow freely and come up with new ideas.

Frey: Is this a business tool or more of something to play around with on your smartphone?

Martin: Mind Map AR is a personal tool that helps you generate insight and build knowledge in any setting including a professional one. Most business tools have an inflexible format, and you must force your thinking to conform to it. A predefined format can be useful for organizational consistency, but it comes at the cost of personal creativity. You also risk losing non-conforming approaches that might actually be better.

Mind Map AR overcomes these shortcomings. Its flexibility helps you develop break-out thinking. So, in a professional setting, whether you are planning a big presentation, preparing for an interview, or generating bright new insight for an analysis, Mind Map AR can make you better at work.

However, Mind Map AR can also be used in many other settings, such as studying, planning travel, writing, problem solving and many other extracurricular projects. Anytime you want to brainstorm ideas or organize information, this app will allow you to look at things in a new way.

Frey: Who do you view as the primary audience or audiences for it?

Martin: Our primary users are knowledge workers and students spanning business and academia. Our initial users found Mind Map AR despite it still being in beta. They wanted a tool that helped them better tap into the creative power of their minds. Their success depends on building knowledge, insights, and ideas. So far our user base includes disproportionate segments of business leaders, consultants, instructors, corporate trainers, and students.

Frey: Are there some shortcomings to traditional 2D mind mapping that you were aiming to overcome with Mind Map AR?

Mind Map ARMartin: I’ve tried nearly all the mobile mind mapping apps. 2D Mind Mapping has worked in the past, but now that we have the technology to create 3D AR mind maps I believe that it’s time for the process of mind mapping to evolve.

Traditional 2D mind mapping works on a desktop or laptop with keyboard shortcuts, but it gets tedious on a smartphone or tablet. Mind Map AR overcomes this issue. It provides a new approach for mobile devices. Adding the third dimension eliminates the space constraint and Augmented Reality delivers an experience that’s bigger than your smartphone’s screen. We designed Mind Map AR to be an evolution of mind mapping, and I doubt users will go back to 2D after trying it. There’s nothing quite like the experience of being able to move around within your ideas and see them from all angles.

Frey: What specific advantages do users get from working in 3D with the mind map versus a traditional 2D mind map environment?

Martin: Mind Mapping in 3D feels natural and intuitive. 3D lends itself well to the branched structure of mind maps. But 3D mind maps get even better when you can actively experience them in augmented reality. Mind mapping in AR is more mentally engaging which amplifies the core value of what makes mind mapping great.

Our brains have evolved to excel in a 3D world. We have a knack for orientation and relative positioning. This inherent ability is both powerful and effortless. For example, once you’ve seen where the bathroom is in an unfamiliar building you don’t need help getting there again. You effortlessly capture the information. This natural aptitude is what you harness with Mind Map AR. You develop a relative sense of where information is and capture it in the process.

Frey: How much of a learning curve is required to adopt this software?

Martin: Mind Map AR is designed to be simple and intuitive. If you follow your instinct to tap on what you want to interact with you will have 80% of what you need to be productive. For example, if you want to edit a node or add to it you just tap on it.

You can get another 10% proficiency by following your instinct to move. For example, if you want a different view of your mind map you move to get that view just as you might move around an apple tree for a better look at an apple you want to pick. The last 10% of the learning curve is getting acquainted with advanced features like filtering the view of your mind map with node tags. Mind mappers will have no problem with our app and once they have figured out the basics they will be able to use it with ease.

Frey: How easy is it to add content to a 3D mind map in Mind Map AR?

Martin: Adding content is simple. You touch a node, and a menu appears with all the options you need to add or edit content. You can type or talk for text input, so you have the choice of whatever is most convenient for you at that moment. You also can change colors, add images, hyperlinks, cloud storage file link attachments, etc.

Frey: How easy is it to manipulate the nodes within the map once you’ve created them – to rearrange them, join them to each other, etc.?

Mind Map ARMartin: Connecting and manipulating nodes in Mind Map AR is straightforward and flexible. The basics actions like cut, copy, and paste are all there. Also, visual directional and bi-directional arrow links can be used to link nodes that are not parent/child related. You can also manually move nodes. However, by default, the nodes are auto-arranged for simplicity.

Lastly, there is a Node Jump feature which lets you define a related node to jump to which will enable you to make associations that may not justify a visual link. Overall, Mind Map AR provides a rich set of options to manipulate 3D mind maps. This tool is designed to be as intuitive as possible, so that it won’t take users long to figure it out.

Frey: Is there some way to turn off the camera? In the demo, I found the constantly moving background of the tables and chairs to be very distracting.

Martin: Yes, it can be disabled. However, when you are experiencing it in the first person, you’ll find the background to be a natural fit. That said, not all environments are suitable for AR so you can disable the Augmented Reality mode and enable the VR Canvas which is a simple 360-degree virtual background that replaces your environment as the background. You can also lock motion sensing if you are in a situation where it does not make sense to be moving around. In this case, you can use pinch to zoom and the rotation joystick to navigate.

Frey: Your website talks about the idea that Mind Map AR “harnesses your best ideas.” How, exactly does it do that?

Martin: Mind Map AR preserves the best of what traditional mind maps offer but enhances your engagement. So the benefits mind mapping brings to ideation remain, but you now have a more active and engaging experience that helps you tap into more of your potential. This ties back to the earlier point about how our brains evolved to excel in a 3D world. The ease of use and 3D perspective Mind Map AR provides allows you to capture and expand on fleeting thoughts and ideas.As you develop them, these ideas can lead to insights which might have otherwise gone unexplored.

Frey: It also talks about using Mind Map AR to “effortlessly explore inspired ideas with family, friends, and coworkers.” Is this a tool that enables multiple people to work on a mind map at the same time?

Martin: Sharing is possible a couple of different ways. You can do file sharing where other Mind Map AR users can experience the mind maps you’ve built. And there is outline text export where users can transfer the ideas from their mind maps into other deliverables like presentations, emails, notes, etc. We are also working on a live sharing mode for instructors, but I’ll hold the details on that until we are closer to launching it.

Frey: You say that “Mind Map AR helps you interact with innovative ideas without constraints.” What types of tools tend to constrain the thinking of business people and why? How does Mind Map AR solve these limitations?

Martin: Conventional business tools force conformity to linear formats. They work for communication since serial information is easily consumable by others, but they are deficient for what should come before communication; thinking, ideation, and creativity.

One of the reasons mind maps are great is because it’s OK to go down rabbit holes. You can develop and build on a stream of thought without worrying if you are straying off course. Those mental paths often lead to a place that enhances your original thinking. Even if you decide you missed something, there’s no harm done. You can always get back to a previous idea and build another branch without compromising your original thinking. This is powerful because you formalize your thoughts with the benefit of a broader perspective that produces better results.

All mind maps share this quality, but Mind Map AR delivers the third dimension which gives you a lot more flexibility. Once you have built your mind map out, you can see it all at once and look at it from many different angles. You can then harness that knowledge structure and leverage it anywhere. Your mind will be more free to let the ideas flow, rather than being constrained by any limitations.

Frey: In the FAQs, it says “Many starting points allow you to get even closer to the way your mind works.” So isn’t Mind Map AR more like a concept mapping tool than a mind mapping app?

Martin: It can be a powerful tool for concept mapping as well, but our approach is an evolution of mind mapping. In Mind Map AR many roots allow users to have related, but distinct mind maps in the same file. This allows users more flexibility. We’ve worked hard to eliminate any friction between a user’s ideas and the capabilities of the app. We’ve also added features to help users who want to work this way. For example, you can create arrow links and jump links between the mind maps. They are not limited to their own structures. The same applies to essential features like cut, copy, and paste.

Frey: Is any special equipment like VR glasses required (headset) in order to use Mind Map AR?

Martin: Mind Map AR runs on ARCore, Google’s Augmented Reality platform. It runs on any Android smartphone supporting ARCore. At the time of this interview, ARCore is still in developer preview, so it is not generally available yet. However, there are some high-end Android devices that can run it for users willing to install the ARCore developer preview app. The smartphone models Google currently supports ARCore on are the Samsung Galaxy S7s, S8s, Note 8, the Google Pixel models, and the Pixel 2 models. Google has announced they will expand support to more smartphone models in the future.

Frey: What kind of early feedback have you received from alpha or beta users?

Martin: The most common initial response is “Wow, this is cool!” We’ve received a lot of enthusiastic feedback from early users and testers. Everyone loves the magic of walking around and through their thoughts as if their ideas are physically present. Users also like adding images on the fly with pictures taken from their phone’s camera or any image in their gallery or on the web. The main message we have received from our feedback has been: ‘Mind Map AR makes thinking, brainstorming, and studying fun.’

Frey: What’s your timetable for releasing the full release of Mind Map AR?

Martin: The official release of Mind Map AR will be when Google announces the general availability of ARCore which is expected to happen before the spring. Mind Map AR will be among the first productivity apps on the Google ARCore platform. However, it is currently available as a pre-release beta app from the Google Play Store.

So users with a compatible smartphone willing to install the developer preview version of ARCore can download and use it today. We encourage Mind Mapping Software Blog readers to try it and send us your thoughts. You can reach us with the contact form at the Scapehop website. That form feeds straight into my inbox and I read every message.

Frey: Is the app available for iPhone yet?

Martin: Mind Map AR will be released on Android first. We started development last year before Apple’s augmented reality platform (ARKit) was announced, so it wasn’t an option then, there was only Google. That platform evolved into Google’s ARCore solution which is what Mind Map AR will be launching on. We will work on an Apple version as soon as we have the ARCore version launched.

Frey: Let’s say you’re talking to a business user of traditional mind mapping software. How do you convince him to make the move to 3-D? Why would he want to do so? What would the benefits be?

Martin: Mind Map AR is designed to help you creatively develop and grow your thinking, so you produce more impactful results. It helps you access your untapped genius to stand out from the crowd. You can take your mind mapping advantage to a new level with an app designed to deliver the core value of mind mapping better with an experience that utilizes our brain’s inherent knack for working in 3D.

Frey: What are your future plans for expanding Mind Map AR’s capabilities?

Martin: We are looking at new platforms to make the Mind Map AR experience accessible to as many users as possible. We also will keep fine-tuning Mind Map AR to ensure it is enabling users to achieve what they are setting out to with their mind mapping efforts. User feedback will guide many of our next steps, so we’d love to hear from anyone who tries it.

The post Mind Map AR: The world’s first augmented reality visual mapping tool appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/mind-map-ar-augmented-reality/feed/ 0
How to transform unstructured text data into gold – with MindManager 2018 http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/transform-unstructured-text-data/ http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/transform-unstructured-text-data/#respond Fri, 26 Jan 2018 21:51:39 +0000 http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/?p=9590 When you're faced with a significant volume of unstructured text data, how do you discern patterns within it? How do you make sense of it? Not surprisingly, mind mapping software can help you transform it into valuable insights that are worth their weight in gold.

The post How to transform unstructured text data into gold – with MindManager 2018 appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
How to transform unstructured text data into gold

When you’re faced with a significant volume of unstructured text data, how do you discern patterns within it? How do you make sense of it? Not surprisingly, mind mapping software can help you transform it into valuable insights that are worth their weight in gold.

I was recently faced with this challenge when I reviewed the verbatim responses from the 2017 Mind Mapping Software Trends Survey. Each time I conduct this survey, I download these comments to review them. But it’s hard to see patterns when you’re staring at a spreadsheet with over 100 entries. The bottom line is that I didn’t use this valuable reader input as much as I should have, because it was simply too hard to do.

This time around, I wanted to change that. I got to thinking about ways to move this data into a more flexible format so I could see patterns and group bits of feedback into meaningful collections. So I experimented:

Step 1: Copy all of the comments and paste them into MindManager

I opened the CSV file containing the survey comments, and copied all 108 rows. I then switched to MindManager. In the file menu, create a new flowchart. That will enable you to manipulate all of your responses as floating topics. If you try this in a new mind map, all of your topics will be connected to the central topic.

Step 2: Clean up the topics

As soon as I pasted all of the data into MindManager, I immediately discovered three challenges:

  • First, it pasted everything into a vertical column of topics, one per comment, down the middle of the workspace. In other words, instead of spreading them out across the workspace, all 100+ of them were piled on top of each other. Drag and drop them into approximate columns.
  • Some of the comments were very LONG. That created very lengthy map topics in MindManager. If you have any topics like this, edit and summarize them into a more concise format.
  • Other topics combined several suggestions into a single map object. I used MindManager’s copy and paste tool to remove text from one topic. When I selected the Windows paste command, MindManager automatically created a new topic containing that text. Nice!

In retrospect, I should have done some of the topic shortening and division in Excel. It would have saved me a lot of work. Yes, this step is time consuming, if you have a lot of data. But trust me – it will all be worth it later!

Step 3: Move related topics into proximity to each other

At this point, if you’re working with a lot of data, you may find that many topics are in your way. Create some open space and move related topics at least into proximity with each other. Take your time, and don’t be afraid to experiment with moving topics around. Not all of them will be a good fit with each other. That’s OK. That’s the beauty of this software – you can arrange and rearrange topics at will.

One nice feature of MindManager 2018’s diagram view is the way in which you can place topics immediately next to each other, with a few pixels between them. Simply drag one topic until its edge slightly overlaps the one you want to position it next to. The program won’t let them overlap. It will reposition the topic you moved just a few pixels away from the other one. Perfect!

Step 4: Use MindManager’s Power Filter to find related topics

At one point in this grouping process, I realized I had seen several topics that referred to mind mapping “use cases.” But scrolling around my massive cloud of topics, I couldn’t find them. So I turned to MindManager’s Power Filter to do a keyword search on the word “use.” This made all the other topics disappear; only ones that contained the word or text string of “use” appeared. This made it very easy to find those elusive topics and group them together. I highly recommend it as a tool to reduce the amount of visual clutter you’re seeing. It really does help you focus!

To show all of the topics, use the “remove filter” command in the toolbar. If you’re not sure if you’re looking at a filtered view, look in the lower left corner of the workspace. You’ll see a message within a pink rectangular box that states “map is filtered.” You can also right-click on this status box and select “remove filter” from the context-sensitive menu that pops up.

Step 5: Create borders to group topics

Ideally, you should be able to do this with map boundaries. When I tried to use a boundary to group four topics together, it created boundaries around each individual topic – not what I was going for. Fortunately, MindManager 2018 now enables you to place a variety of shapes onto the workspace, useful for creating business canvases and for other creative map backgrounds.

So I drew a rectangle around four related topics to enclose them; shapes are located in the Insert tab of the ribbon toolbar. Once I did that, I was able to give it a style. Switch to the Design tab and look for line styles and fill colors.

Step 6: Embellish your groups

If you’re so inclined, you can use the Insert/Text Box command to add titles to your topic groups. I experimented to see if I could get a bit more creative. For example, I wanted to create a text box next to one of my topic groups and then use a relationship line to point to it. Unfortunately, that’s not supported.

You can also add icons to individual topics (but not to your topic groupings).

How to assess your topic groupings

The number of topics in each group is an excellent measure of the level of interest in it. For example, I can see from this visual analysis that mind mapping use cases and examples are a major area of interest for my readers. I can add this to my content goals for 2018, to make sure I address it.

You can make decisions based on the verbatim responses. But don’t forget you can also use them to make additional inferences about the data you’ve collected and organized. Add those inferences to your groups – just make sure to format those topics differently so you can tell them apart from the survey responses.

Finally, you can use this type of exercise to precisely zero in the needs of people you’re trying to influence – ideal if you’re writing a blog or other types of content. Here’s how it works:

  1. Ask an open-ended question to collect verbatim responses
  2. Analyze and group them
  3. Launch a separate one-question survey that lists these meta-topics and asks respondents to rate them on a scale of 1-5.

The result is an ordered list of the topics that are most important to them.

This is an awesome way to get people engaged with your blog or website. You’ve given them a blank slate to tell you what they want or need. You’ve then parroted that back to them, within a survey tool that enables them to tell you what THEY think is most important. Finally, simply address these topics in your blog or website in the order your readers ranked them. I did this for a new e-magazine I was launching for my InnovationTools.com website, and the results were phenomenal!

Turns out people LOVE it when you listen to them, and then deliver what they told you they wanted!

The value of this visual sense-making exercise

Why is this data now so valuable? Because I was able to move it from a linear format where it was difficult to discern patterns into a flexible visual format where I could manipulate and group it in ways that made sense to me. Now I’m in a better position to take action on the reader needs that emerged from it.

Why use MindManager for this project? Because it was able to handle a large number of topics without slowing down. Also, it didn’t force me to connect these topics; I was able to arrange and rearrange 100+ floating topics any way I wanted. If I tried this in a dedicated diagramming software program, I’m sure it would have really slowed it down.

Was this sense-making exercise a success? Absolutely!

I will definitely use this data mapping technique after my next mind mapping user survey. I will also be looking for other ways to use it. It’s quite valuable!

The post How to transform unstructured text data into gold – with MindManager 2018 appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/transform-unstructured-text-data/feed/ 0
How to revolutionize project planning with mind maps and facilitated discussions http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/project-planning-mind-maps/ http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/project-planning-mind-maps/#respond Fri, 26 Jan 2018 20:14:40 +0000 http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/?p=9576 Conventional approaches to project planning are usually time-consuming and inefficient in the use of the limited resources. Here's how facilitated discussions with mind mapping software can help.

The post How to revolutionize project planning with mind maps and facilitated discussions appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
Facilitated Project Planning with Mind Maps

Conventional approaches to project planning are usually time-consuming and inefficient in the use of the limited resources. Here’s how mind mapping software can help.

Project leaders are provided direct resources and access to business subject matter experts (SMEs) with the expectations of timely results being delivered to the client. With these resources, the leader has the collective knowledge, understandings, skills, and abilities often referred to as capabilities. The challenge is effectively tapping into those capabilities to effectively deliver the project objectives and timelines.

The conventional approach: Project planning is managed by a business analyst

The typical approach is to use a cycle of an interview, analyze, question, re-interview, elaborate, document, review, refine, approve, and then start development or re-engineering. Under this approach, the test is how quickly the business analyst can connect with, understand, document and confirm the business SME’s insights and prepare a conceptual business solution.

Once the solution is approved, each individual involved in the project must read the plan and try to establish a shared understanding of the concepts. Typically, clarity and accuracy is lost in translation.

A more effective project planning model: The engagement approach

Project leaders can utilize collaboration techniques to access these capabilities and ensure that they are shared amongst the team and SMEs. With the use of visual tools and facilitated discussions, it is quite possible to shorten the development cycles, reduce administrative overhead, and improve results by having group sessions where understandings of context, capturing of needs, identification of wants, and discovery of possible options can be realized in weeks not months.

When we use this collaborative approach, we develop a clearer understanding of what is the actual challenge or opportunity as well as viable solutions. This can be achieved more quickly than a single business analyst conducting weeks of interviews, analysis, and review work of report assets.

Visual facilitation enables the teams to capture and refine project requirements in real time for all attendees. All participants hear the topic and/or question to be addressed, hear the same emerging answers, have the opportunity to question perspectives, clarify expectations, and refine the language of the plan. This approach promotes shared understanding, as well as a clearer picture of each person’s role in the project.

All of this project data is captured in a visual one-page model that elegantly and concisely captures this shared understanding and can and be used to communicate with stakeholders. This puts the project team in an excellent position to focus all their efforts on the same challenge and its targeted solution.

Unpacking what must be done

During a series of articles I will present approaches that can be used to unpack the needs, project plan and the outcomes required, and will demonstrate how visual tools cane help power these facilitated planning sessions:

  1. Initiative Definition Workshop – define the need, strategy, resourcing, expectations, and objectives to address the need,
  2. Context and Value Proposition Workshop – clarify the parameters to be applied to the operational solution and the value proposition,
  3. Solution Definition Workshop – discover the solution that will meet the need, and
  4. Initiative Progress Meeting – monitor and report the project activities towards realizing the project goals.

Each of these sessions can be addressed using structured visual tools that produce a single-page summary of the findings, which can be efficiently verified and shared with others. This approach ultimately speeds up the timeframe from information discovery through project implementation..

Facilitating the conversation

To kick off this series of articles, let’s outline a common approach for the facilitated sessions which applies the following steps:

Facilitation Workshop Process

To define the facilitation we use the “Workshop Canvas” which articulates the considerations for the workshop and is used by the team to prepare and conduct the session. The model outlines the activities, key considerations, and approximate timings for the steps listed above. During this article series we will be utilizing a fictional project with the following characteristics:

Workshop Canvas

To see an example of the Workshop Canvas, please use this link. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Rogers produced this canvas in MindManager. Watch for a blog post that explains, step-by-step, how to do it!)

The next installment of this series will outline the Initiative Definition Workshop and what is needed to prepare an Initiative Overview Canvas.

This article is presented by John Rogers Results Coach, Facilitator, Project Manager and business architect with Map For Results. John has over 45 years of project experience and has lead many large-scale business process re-engineering projects. Visual Engagement has been a focus as a method to improve the effectiveness of team operations and improving project results. He has taught project management practices at both the college and university level and has been using mind mapping over 15 years actively in his project management and consulting practice.

The post How to revolutionize project planning with mind maps and facilitated discussions appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/project-planning-mind-maps/feed/ 0
New XMind ZEN debuts vector-based graphics engine http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/xmind-zen/ http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/xmind-zen/#respond Mon, 04 Dec 2017 18:31:37 +0000 http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/?p=9526 One of the big challenges nearly every developer of mind mapping software has faced during the last decade is selecting a unified platform that enable it to create one set of code that can be deployed across all computing platforms – desktop, mobile and web. Most recently, XMind has reached this plateau. Its answer to […]

The post New XMind ZEN debuts vector-based graphics engine appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
XMind Zen mind mapping software

Stephen Zhu - XMindOne of the big challenges nearly every developer of mind mapping software has faced during the last decade is selecting a unified platform that enable it to create one set of code that can be deployed across all computing platforms – desktop, mobile and web. Most recently, XMind has reached this plateau. Its answer to the challenge is XMIND Zen, a new mind mapping platform that’s based on SVG, a scalable vector graphics format.

I recently talked with XMind cofounder and senior vice president Stephen Zhu to learn more about XMIND ZEN and the future of this popular mind mapping program.

Chuck Frey: Where did the idea for XMind ZEN come from?

Stephen Zhu: In the past few years, the framework of XMind has been based on Eclipse, which in turn is based on Java. Java has some inherent limitations in terms of memory management. Also, it’s not designed to support mobile computing platforms. This framework did help us to build XMind into the successful program it is today. But we were starting to run into its limitations. We also discovered that some users encountered instability with Java. So we decided to replace it with something more stable and scalable.

We’ve invested the last 3 years rewriting the XMind engine in SVG technic, a vector-based graphics rendering technology that enables you to enlarge the mind map freely without any loss in quality. We call this new mind mapping engine “Snowbrush.”

Compared with other programming languages used to build mind mapping software, this platform has fewer limitations and gives us more flexibility to expand from here. Our team believes it’s a superior foundation for the future of XMind.

We believe XMind ZEN has many other shining points as well: The map themes have a fresh look. The program includes 89 new stickers and a user-friendly design. Even a first-time user can operate it easily.

ZEN refers to your ability to deeply concentrate. Our XMind team has focused only on mind mapping software for 12 years now. We want to bring users a more concentrated or focused feeling when they’re creating mind maps.

Frey: Your XMind ZEN web page talks about focusing on “future ‘black’ technologies.” What do you mean by this? Can you give me an example of a black technology that is incorporated into XMind ZEN?

snowbrush - XMind ZENZhu: Snowbrush is an all-new graphics engine that gives XMind Zen a lot of power and flexibility. Its graphics performance is outstanding. Also, it is compatible with all devices, whether in iOS or web, all SVG. That’s what we intended when we created it.

By rendering mind maps using SVG, all the elements in a mind map display perfectly at every resolution, including lines, themes, diagrams and other visual elements. SVG opens up many more possibilities in graphics and animations, which we haven’t even begun to explore.

We believe SVG is one of the “black” technologies the will drive mind mapping into some exciting new areas in the future. It’s an exciting time for XMind.

Frey: Will you offer XMind in both the regular and ZEN versions? In other words, two mind mapping programs? Or will it eventually replace XMind 8 PRO?

Zhu: So far, we believe XMind 8 won’t be replaced by XMind ZEN. The users of XMind 8 and XMind ZEN have different use habits and different needs in their mind mapping software. XMind 8 is designed for heavy use by business people. They demand more professional features, like project management.

We believe XMind ZEN users’ needs are more basic. But they are still business people who need to be able to gather, organize, distill and share their ideas.

Comparing to XMind 8, XMind ZEN does not contain some professional features like audio notes, GANTT chart, slide-based presentation and brainstorming. However, these features will eventually be added to XMind Zen, built using the Snowbrush engine.

Frey: The pictures you’re showing in the blog post to announce that XMind ZEN is now in private beta testing show some unusual and beautiful diagram designs? What are they, and how are they to be used?

Zhu: Xmind ZEN contains not only the structures (fishbone, matrix, logic charts, etc.) we originally provided in Xmind, but also its free drawing capability enables you to create some unique and beautiful diagrams. You can also use floating topics and relationship lines to create some unique effects.

XMind ZEN example map

Actually, these maps came from users of Xmind ZEN. They have fully unleashed their imagination and productivity to create these beautiful mind maps using floating topics and relationship lines in some unique ways. Our users use their talent and practice to prove XMind not just for mind mapping.

In addition to the beautiful new map views in XMind ZEN, what else is new in this new program?

XMind ZEN has:

  • 30 all-new themes, which are designed to help users with many different types of scenarios no matter you are a student or a businessman,
  • 89 original stickers
  • Export to .md (markdown) format, which is a powerful plain text formatting syntax, and
  • ZEN mode.

This last new feature is perfect for organizing your ideas. When you’re operating in ZEN mode, all the extras panels surround the workspace will automatically hide. That can help you to concentrate on your mind map.

XMind ZEN example map

Frey: Let’s say I’m a business user of XMind PRO. Why should I invest in XMind ZEN?

Zhu: Comparing to XMind 8, XMind ZEN does not contain some professional features like audio notes, Gantt Chart, slide-based presentation and brainstorming. If you are a heavy user of these features, then XMind 8 is all you need.

If not, and you have a passion to make beautiful mind maps, then we strongly recommend XMind ZEN. With a more powerful graphics engine, the program’s performance is greatly enhanced. Also, with the same powerful engine, you can enjoy the same mind map experience on your iPhone/iPad.

Frey: What’s the timetable for the launch of XMind ZEN?

Zhu: We launched the public beta in the middle of November, and final release the official version will be coming soon. Watch our Facebook or Twitter feeds for details!

Frey: What else should readers of the Mind Mapping Software Blog know about XMind ZEN?

Zhu: Both XMind 8 and XMind ZEN formats are completely compatible. All the graphical features in XMind 8 are perfectly consummated in XMind ZEN. Furthermore, XMind ZEN also supports to export files from Mindmanager, Novamind, Freemind and Lighten.

XMind for iOS is coming soon as well. The iOS version uses the same Snowbrush engine as XMind ZEN. It provides a seamless experience on all your devices.

XMind ZEN can export your mind maps to PDF and Evernote formats. Saving your mind maps as vector PDF files enables you to enlarge them as needed and print them clearly. Evernote fans will be delighted to find that XMind ZEN supports sharing their mind maps to Evernote directly with just a few clicks.

Finally, if you have any questions about Xmind ZEN, please contact us!

To download XMind ZEN Beta for Windows 7 64-bit and newer, please click here.

The post New XMind ZEN debuts vector-based graphics engine appeared first on Mind Mapping Software Blog.

]]>
http://mindmappingsoftwareblog.com/xmind-zen/feed/ 0