Several weeks ago, I asked you to share your thoughts on the value proposition of mind mapping. In other words: What is the essential value, the key benefit it provides to you, and how would you describe that to someone else in just a few sentences? Here’s a distillation of what you had to say:
Comprehensive idea management: Mind mapping software enables you to not only generate and organize ideas, thoughts and actions, but also implement them. Many tools excel at one part of a business process, but few have excellent utility from the birth to the of a project like mind mapping software does.
Managing information and knowledge from multiple sources: Several of you talked about how your job requires you to capture, process and track requests and activities from multiple sources, making decisions on what bits of information are important and which ones are not. Mind mapping software excels at this!
Clarity out of confusion: When you’re dealing with a complex challenge, mind mapping software can help you to see connections between bits and pieces of it, and ultimately help you to simplify your understanding of it. In this day and age, that’s powerful!
Distribution of information: Mind mapping software not only allows you to collect, distill and make decisions on information for a wide variety of sources, it also helps you to redistribute tasks and other information to your team members and promote a shared understanding of the overall project as well as the details for which they are responsible.
More effective problem solving: Mind mapping software, because of its visual nature, enables you to build a more accurate of the underlying structure of a complex problem. This, in turn, enables you to respond to the actual problem, not just the symptoms. As the old saying goes, “a problem well-defined is half solved.”
An iterative approach: One reader talked about how mind mapping software allows him to develop an accurate “picture” of a complex situation or problem in an iterative process. That is, rather than build an entire map in one sitting, you can partially complete it one day, then return to it the following day with additional information and insights. At this point, you may be able to see gaps in your information, which you must request from others. That information, in turn, can be added to the map in successive days. Thus, a complex problem or challenge can be broken down, analyzed and understood over a period of time.
The forest and the trees: Several people commented on how mind mapping software enables them to get a high-level overview of all of their projects and tasks, yet in a few mouse clicks they can dive down into very specific detail. That’s hard to do with most other types of business tools!
Thanks to everyone who contributed. Even though I have immersed myself in the tools and best practices of visual mapping, your comments illuminated several areas that I haven’t really given much thought to lately – but will definitely do so in the days and weeks ahead!