Dorai Thodla recently added a post to her blog about using Microsoft Outlook as an idealog – a repository for his ideas. That got me to thinking about how to develop a more visually oriented idea database, one that would be based upon a mind map. Here’s how it could work:
Adding and classifying ideas: You could easily add nodes to your map for new ideas at any time, and drag and drop them at will to different locations within your map. This would enable you to create primary topics to classify your ideas. These topics could be organized any number of ways, based on the type of idea (i.e., product, service, business model, etc.), its status, what department or operational area it could be used in, and so forth.
Tagging ideas with symbols: Ideas could be visually “tagged” using symbols. In fact, you could categorize and “tag” ideas as needed, with a high degree of flexibility.
Filtering ideas: You could leverage mind mapping software’s powerful filtering capabilities to show only those ideas that meet certain criteria, which contain certain keywords or which are tagged with certain symbols. The ability to show/hide branches would also help you to manage your ideas.
Linking related information to your ideas: Hyperlinking makes it easy to connect background information to the ideas in your map, either within a topic note or via a hyperlink. Most mind mapping programs enable you to attach links to documents, web pages (and, in the case of MindManager, even individual e-mail messages from Microsoft Outlook) to topics in your map. This means that, no matter where your idea originated, you can maintain connections to the thoughts that inspired it.
I think this idea has a lot of possibilities!