A recent article on IT-Director.com describes the evolution of mind mapping in four phases. I think this model makes a lot of sense. Here’s a summary of it:
The first generation of mind mapping consists of hand-drawn visual maps, which serve as an excellent way to organize information and improve memory.
The second generation of mind mapping is represented by the first PC-based visual mapping programs, which made it possible to rearrange map topics as needed, thereby solving the problem of large hand-drawn maps becoming messy and hard to read. Because these files could be sent electronically, they provided a practical way to share visual maps with others.
The third generation of mind mapping builds upon the foundation of electronic visual maps, which could now be enhanced by attaching files, links and other data. These capabilities made it possible to effectively use computer-generated visual maps for project management and other advanced business applications. At this stage, mind mapping software was no sufficiently evolved that people could organize their work around it. It also gained the ability to integrate with other programs, further extending its usefulness as an information management tool.
The fourth generation of mind mapping – where we are today – transforms it from an organizational tool into a collaboration tool. This generation is represented by Mindjet’s recently introduced Mindjet Connect workspace, Visual Mind’s client/server mapping tool and the whole genre of web-based visual mapping tools. At this current stage of evolution, it is now possible for teams to interactively discuss and modify a map in real time. In addition, there is now seamless integration between desktop- and web-based software. This means that workers who are using desktop mapping software can collaborate with others who only have the web-based version. Browser-based visual mapping tools make it possible to invite ad-hoc users to collaborate on visual maps.
What you think about this model as a description of the evolution of mind mapping? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.