Mindjet, the developer of MindManager, recently kicked its collaboration game into high gear by announcing a new online workspace product called Connect and with the acquisition of social task management provider CoHuman. These two developments give Mindjet a complete end-to-end team communication and collaboration solution – from project design through project management and document sharing to completion.
Mindjet Connect, announced earlier this week and available for the end of September, bears some resemblance to the developers existing Catalyst online document sharing and workspace application, including a web-based version of MindManager.
The biggest change with Connect, however, is expanded sharing: You can now invite an unlimited number of guests to collaborate on a mind map on an ad hoc basis, regardless of whether or not they have a Connect account. This will be a fully-functioning version of Connect and MindManager Web, not a “crippled” version for free users. In addition, a basic Connect account will be free. A business version will also be offered with more online storage space.
Also new is that new versions of the company’s mobile mapping solutions – its apps for iPad and iPhone – will be Connect enabled, so that users of these apps will be able to check out mind maps, edit them and then check them back in. In addition, these apps are now free, to encourage greater use. In the first 2 days after Mindjet’s mobile apps were changed to free apps, they were downloaded over 150,000 times.
Mindjet’s goal with this new direction is to open up mind mapping to an expanded universe of potential users, and to remove any potential barriers to adoption of its visual thinking solutions. “We want to focus on enabling communication and sharing, rather than ‘buy now,'” explains Mindjet CEO Scott Raskin.
MindManager Web will soon be enhanced with a rich web API, which will enable it to integrate with Google, Bing, Twitter, Linkedin and Evernote, which will enhance the value of this web-based mind mapping tool for information gathering and research. Users will be able to search these web services from within MindManager Web, and then pull data from them into their mind maps.
A basic Mindjet Connect account will be free; a business account will run you only US$15 per month and provides additional online storage. For existing customers of Mindjet Catalyst, the software developer has already announced on its blog that it will offer a migration plan to Connect later this year.
CoHuman is a provider of social task management. it’s a web-based application that enables teams to share information about projects and tasks and to share task assignments and status updates, in a familiar Twitter-like “stream.” You can assign people to tasks, follow people and tasks, obtain task status, and streamline project communication. Streams can be filtered and viewed in a number of flexible ways. The acquisition of CoHuman addresses the need to have a holistic view of all of your projects, without having to open multiple mind maps.
Initially, CoHuman will be run as a companion to Connect, but later this year, it will be fully integrated with Connect. Mindjet’s plan is to enable its mind mapping clients and CoHuman with two-way live communication, so that you can “push” task updates from MindManager to your CoHuman account and vice versa.
In this blog, we’ve talked from time to time about the Great Divide of mind mapping: Those people who are more left-brained and creative instinctively “get” it and love thinking in a non-linear fashion. But there’s another large group of pragmatic, linear, right-brained thinkers who view mind mapping is frivolous, not as a serious business tool. I asked the Mindjet team if the integration between MindManager, Connect and CoHuman will help to bridge this gap? The response was “definitely.”
What does this mean? Managers who prefer to view project and task information in a more tabular, linear format will feel right at home in CoHuman, and will still be able to manage project communication, without touching a mind map. Those who do feel comfortable with mind maps will work within MindManager. The project and task data will flow seamlessly between the two formerly disparate worlds.
Mindjet Connect and CoHuman will be available starting on September 22nd. The new versions of the Mindjet iPad and iPhone apps have already been released and are available via the Apple AppStore.
I applaud Mindjet’s change in direction – that is, offering Connect accounts, its mobile apps and access to collaborative map editing for free. This should open up the opportunity for many more people to experience and learn about the benefits of visual mapping and collaboration. The CoHuman acquisition is also very significant, because it bridges some important gaps in small team project communications, and lets people view data in a format that works best for them.
I can’t wait to see how this all comes together and evolves over the next few years. It will definitely be very interesting!