I recently had an opportunity to have a phone interview with Tony Buzan, widely regarded as the father of mind mapping. He believes we’re now living in the “Age of Intelligence,” in which power comes from being a creative, flexible thinker who can effectively gather, distill and communicate information. And mind mapping is the perfect tool for this era:
“The problem that the average worker faces today is overload. They have too many e-mails, too many phone messages – just too much to read and do. They don’t know how to manage either themselves, time or the information. And that is one of the advantages of the mind map. The mind map cuts out 90 percent plus of the rubbish that most people unnecessarily deal with. What the brain needs for thinking and creativity and memory and all its major thinking processes is the key ideas, the key elements, the key words, the key concepts.”
In Buzan’s mind, linear note taking and left-brained forms of communications are relics of the past, and don’t help us to effectively cope with the torrent of information we face today:
“The normal ways of making notes and transferring information drown key ideas and words in reams of useless grammar and syntax… The modern worker is fundamentally using the wrong tools. They’re using information age tools, industrial age tools in the age of intelligence, where you have to be far more flexible, adept, fast and essential. You can’t waste time with all of the unnecessary information that is thrown at you.”
Where does power come from today? According to Buzan, being a creative and flexible thinker and problem solver. And the tool that is ideally designed for this modern age is, naturally, the mind map:
“The modern worker is in a different position than any worker in the history of the human race. It’s the most exciting time, because suddenly all of the information is available on the web. (Access to) information used to be the way in which you became powerful. The rulers of the past had information that other people didn’t. Then came the knowledge age, which said that knowledge is power…
“Now we are in the age of intelligence, where intelligence is power. If you can think, solve problem and are fast on your mental feet, if you are original, if you are flexible, if you have control of the strategic and the analytical elements of any situation, then you are a leader. The mind map allows you to do all that in a way that the brain is naturally designed to do.”
My interview with Tony Buzan covers a lot more ground, including details on the new ThinkBuzan system that he is introducing during his trip to the States next week, and what’s next for his firm’s highly successful iMindMap software.