Douglas Woods reports in his Ecademy blog that a collaborative mind mapping application – one that enables multiple users to simultaneously contribute to a single map – is now available. But there is a catch: it’s only available for the educational market for now. The program is called 2Connect and was developed by the educational software firm 2Simple. Based on the screen shots on the 2Simple website, it’s obvious that this is a rudimentary mind mapping application. But considering that its users are primary age school children, the need for simplicity is obvious.
This leads Douglas to the question: When will the major developers of business mind mapping software provide similar collaborative functionality? No one seems to know for sure, although he reports that Mindjet recently conducted a survey where it asked some questions about adding collaborative capabilities to MindManager.
I think the developers of business mind mapping software will only implement such a feature when they can see a proven need for it. Obviously, it makes sense for school children to work on a visual map simultaneously while in the classroom. But how often would this kind of functionality be required in a business setting? I could see it being used in group brainstorming sessions, for one thing. Other than this application, my gut feeling is that much corporate work is "asynchronous" – that is, team members may need to work on or contribute to a common visual map or repository of information, but not necessarily simultaneously (sort of like a visual wiki?). If the mind mapping software developers could enable this kind of non-simultaneous collaboration, now that would be valuable!
Do you feel differently? How do you think businesspeople would use or benefit from simultaneous (or non-simultaneous) collaboration within a mind map? Please post your thoughts in the comments section!