Thursday, 17 December 2009

Upgrade pricing ending soon!

A quick reminder that December 31st sees the end of Version 3 preferential upgrade pricing.

Until this date, MindGenius Business V2 customers can purchase an upgrade for £88 / €101 / $141 per single user licence, and MindGenius Education V2 customers for £29 / €33 / $46 per single user licence. Discounts are available for multiple user purchases, please contact for further details.

After this date, normal pricing will apply. For more details on pricing, please visit our online store.

Speed up your Christmas shopping

With the festive season approaching fast, some of us may have completed all of our gift shopping. For those of us who aren’t quite so organised, MindGenius can offer you a quick way to cut your planning time down and simplify those last minute shopping trips.

Start a new map and add branches for each person you need to buy presents for. You can then go on to work out a budget for each person (and export to Excel when you are finished if necessary). Once you have sorted out your budget, you can start to add presents to each name.

If you need to research where you are going to buy your presents from, you can add attachment links to sites that you need to visit, or have visited or any other relevant documents you would like to add such as a spreadsheet budget.

Once you know which gifts you wish to get for people, you can then start to simplify your buying experience. First of all, “Edit Categories” to add in the stores or websites you are planning to purchase your gifts from.

Next, apply the categories to each gift, if you are unsure of where the gift is coming from, don’t add a category to it.

Once you are satisfied your map is complete, click “Create Category Map.” This will create a separate map for you, broken down by each category. This allows you to see at a glance what you need to get from each store so you don’t need to make repeated journeys to the same place.

You can print your map and take it with you to the shops. Take a look at this month’s Hints and Tips article on printing large maps if you have a lot of presents to buy.

It might also be helpful to follow a similar process for your food and drinks plans for the holiday period and you could break it down by day eg Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day.

And if you create maps for this year, you can make them a starting point for next year, saving you more time and ensuring you don’t purchase the same present for people again.

Holiday shopping in half the time!

Have you used MindGenius in this way? How did you find it?

Hint and Tips - Printing Large Maps

In these days as more and more of us strive to have paperless offices, we try and print fewer documents but sometimes it is required if you are unable to access a PC, for example when attending a meeting.

That’s why there is a print option in MindGenius but when you are faced with a large map the text can be too small to read. However, this can be fixed by amending your Printing options.

To check what your print is going to look like, check the “print preview” option.

If the map is too large, the text will be too small to read, rendering your printed map unworkable.

Print Preview also has it's own Ribbon to help you configure your printed maps.

Select 'Page' from the Print Preview Ribbon to Access the Page Setup dialog.

The default here is to fit the map onto 1 page but there are options to print the map on multiple pages.

Start a new page at each level 1. Your map will now print on multiple pages. You can use the 'Pages' option to preview the content of multiple pages.

The first page shows only the level 1 branches and represents an index for the following pages and each page auto is orientated to suit the content.

If the content of any of the individual pages is still too large, you can use Page Breaks to break the map down further.

To do this, identify a section of the map that could sit on its own page. From the Insert Ribbon (or right click context menu) select 'Page Break’. This area of the map will now print on its own page.

Did you also know......

Using the Print Map dialog, you can print text outlines in addition to the map image by choosing to include branch notes or not, or only branches with notes. This is useful for generating presenter notes, or for colleagues happier reading info in this linear format.

Do we now live in a paperless business world, or is this too difficult to achieve? Do you print maps, or any other documents, if so, what are the main reasons you do this?

Enterprising teenager uses MindGenius to start her own business

Tammy Strickland, aged 15, has been a MindGenius user since the age of 9, using it to improve her study technique, and she has found it so helpful in achieving excellent results that she has recently set up a business, sharing her maps with other students sitting their Irish Junior Certificate exams.

Her father, Niall, is a long term user of MindGenius, going back to the early Ygnius days of the product and he introduced her to MindGenius. According to Niall, Tammy took to the method “like a duck takes to water” and since then she has actively used MindGenius to effectively study.

After using the tool for her Junior Certificate examination programme over the last 2 years, Niall commented to Tammy that the quality of her work was of such a high standard, and the results she achieved in the exams so good, that she should sell her notes to other students.

Tammy thought about her dad’s idea and agreed that her MindGenius study notes could help other students going through their exams and, with a little help from Niall to set up the web pages, Tammy soon had her site, up and running.

All of the maps and the work on the site are Tammy’s and now it seems she is on her way to having quite a successful business. The first purchasable product went live in November and despite the fact it has yet to be fully publicised, Tammy has sold over 100 maps to date and had several hundred downloads of her sample maps.

Tammy thinks that:
"Mindmaps created with MindGenius are a terrific aid to memory because they allow you to feed your brain in a way that allows you to effortlessly soak up knowledge. This can turn average students like me into high-achievers."

The first subject to go live on the site was Science, which incorporates 57 different mindmaps and the entire curriculum for that subject but this will be extended to several hundred mindmaps available for purchase in 10 different school subjects, with another 4 subjects due to go live over the next 4 weeks. Maps for French will go live this weekend.

Have you or your students/children used MindGenius for studying? What was the biggest benefit it brought to your efforts?

MindGenius customer in Financial Times article

MindGenius customer, Birch Worldwide, a UK based channel marketing company have today appeared in a Financial Times article discussing how they believe using MindGenius to capture ideas from their world-wide workforce has allowed them to add $1million dollars in additional revenues.

To read the full article, please visit:

IT buyers now only spend money to save money

MindGenius Commercial Director, Dustin Newport has been explaining to Computeractive why he feels that IT buyers now only spend money to save money.

Read full article here:

Improving meetings

The best time for a workplace meeting is 3pm on a Tuesday; according to a study because it is the time most attendees are likely to be free. Since meetings that don't make good use of time and don't achieve progress can be a big part of working life, what can we do to improve them?

Here at MindGenius, our top tips for improving meetings with MindGenius are:

  1. If you are the organiser create a framework in MindGenius, and outline the purpose of the meeting. You can then distribute it as an agenda so all attendees understand the reason the meeting is being held.

  2. If you are an attendee gather your thoughts in a map. This will only take a few minutes and make you look prepared when you arrive at your meeting.

  3. Consider how long the meeting needs to be and remember that the longer a meeting is, the more attendees’ attention may wander.

  4. Try out video conferencing or online meetings to ensure there is no time (or money) wasted with attendees travelling to meetings. There are lots of tools to facilitate this on the market now such as Webex or LiveMeeting and many of our customers use such tools along with MindGenius. Contact us if you would like some more information about this.

  5. Capture and fully document the discussion in real time with MindGenius. This also ensures there is no need to type up meeting notes afterwards. The map can also be exported to MS Word, if required, to distribute to all attendees.

  6. Use MindGenius to prioritise, agree and assign actions, resources and timelines, meaning actions can be started immediately and it’s immediately obvious what progress has been made.

  7. Pay attention to the meeting and wherever possible don’t fiddle with cell phones, PDA’s or laptops as it puts everyone off, not only that, it’s really difficult to give two things close attention!

  8. Use the map as a live working document and reference point to track developments over the course of a project. We do this internally at MindGenius, and it is especially helpful on larger projects and allows us to keep on track of where we are and where we need to be.

What are your tips for ensuring meetings are productive and effective?

Hints and Tips - Customise Ribbon UI

Last month we looked at the new MindGenius Version 3 Ribbon User Interface, which is the same style as Microsoft Office applications.

The rationale of grouping logical features and functionality together means for most tasks within MindGenius, it is easier to access key functionality. However, for existing users, who may have an established list of features that they regularly use, you can still get easy access to them by customising the Quick Access Toolbar.

To add any command from any Ribbon to the Quick Access Toolbar, simply right click over the feature and select “Add to Quick Access Toolbar.”

Fig 1. Add a feature to the customized toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar’s location can also be amended by selecting “Show Quick Access Toolbar below the Ribbon.” You can also minimize the Ribbon by selecting “Minimize the Ribbon” from the same menu. This allows you to clearly and quickly access your customized “Quick Access Toolbar.”
Fig 2. Quick Access ToolbarFig 3. Quick Access Toolbar with minimized Ribbon

Have you been using the new Ribbon User Interface? How are you finding it?

Twitter takes over

From Stephen Fry threatening to quit over unkind jibes, to Ashton and Demi's support of SUBO, Twitter has constantly made the news this year and has seen a phenomenal rise in its profile with a knock on rise in followers.

Twitter is a micro-blogging platform that allows anyone to set up an account and post 140 character updates, or “Tweets” as they are known whenever you want. You can both “Follow” other people (you see their Tweets) and they can “Follow” you (they see your Tweets).

At first glance, Twitter can be difficult to get your head around and according to a recent survey 40% of Tweets are “pointless babble.”* However, this means that 60% of Tweets have been classed as relevant and interesting.

The most followed Tweeter is Ashton Kutcher who has amassed over 3.8 million followers who wait eagerly on his tweets on anything from politics, what he’s had for dinner or hanging out with movie star friends. However, more and more businesses are also setting up Twitter pages to keep in touch with customers and, interestingly, most Twitter users are now over 35 with only 10.6% aged between 18-24, and those who are aged 35-44 spend an average of 20 minutes on the site compared to just 5 minutes for younger users.*

Many large organisations have realised the benefits of Twitter such as Ford, Starbucks and Dell. Ford have several accounts which Tweet about various things e.g. customer offers, company internal news and specific ones for different types of Ford vehicles. Starbucks post customer offers and talk about these offers with their customers. Dell also have a number of profiles, all offering specific information eg DellOutlet posts offers on recently refurbished machines.

So, Twitter can be used for offers, as a discussion forum, and another way of engaging with customers. However, more than this, it can also be used to listen to what your customers are saying about your business, Search tools such as or applications like TweetDeck allow you to keep track of what’s being said about your company, products and industry.

MindGenius also recently launched a Twitter page to keep all followers up to date with the latest news, product releases and hints and tips. You can follow us at Like everything MindGenius does, we like to let our customers have a say on what we offer. What kind of things would you like to see on the MindGenius Twitter page?

Have you set up a Twitter page for business? Do you have any other tips you would like to share?

* Analytics

MindGenius free Map Viewer now available

Do you work in an environment where some of your colleagues don’t have access to MindGenius, meaning you must export maps to other MS Office applications before you can share your thinking and ideas? If so, the release of the free MindGenius map viewer will allow you to distribute your ideas in their original format.

As well as allowing colleagues to view your maps, the Map Viewer also allows them to add Notes to branches, enabling them to review maps and add comments and feedback to your ideas before sending it back to you.

While currently a full trial version of MindGenius does turn into a viewer after 30 days, it does not offer the capability to add branch notes and the Map Viewer file is also far more compact which has seen it rolled out to several Enterprise customers' desktops.

The new Map Viewer may also be helpful in the Academic world as it allows tutors or teachers to issue revision maps or project outlines to students and then instruct them to download the Map Viewer file to access them at home. The download is a straightforward and simple process which only takes a couple of minutes.

The map viewer is free and available to download now from

Do you think your colleagues will make use of this new viewer?

How do I use MindGenius

Derek Jack is one of the Directors at MindGenius Ltd and set up the company along with fellow Director, Donald Maciver. They developed MindGenius initially back in 2001 to support the successful compliance management software Q-Pulse. They soon realised MindGenius could be used to solve multiple business challenges and Derek utilises MindGenius on a daily basis. Here he talks about the tasks he finds MindGenius brings the most value to.

If you look in my “Most Recently Used” list (MRU) you will always find the Project meeting map & Commercial meeting map. These maps help me to control the business and show me at a high level what projects we are working on as well as the overall status of projects. In addition, the map allows us to drill down and see, what we achieved last week, what are the priorities for this week, specific actions required, are there any red flags to achieving this, and what do we need to do to overcome the red flags. This is a simple and effective way to keep on top of all Projects throughout the company.

You'll also see maps associated with project stage 1 activity. Stage 1 is the inception stage of a project and involves domain analysis, brainstorming, gathering ideas, suggestions, user stories and enhancement requests.

Post Version 3 we are already looking at which projects we will be working on next. Already in the pipeline are; a map viewer (just released), our next maintenance release, a file converter which will allow users to convert maps from other mind mapping applications and many more.

Using MindGenius allows us to capture and truly understand, what is being asked for and why it is being asked for before we initiate a new project.

Fig 1 Project Initiation Instruction

This guarantees that we know why every single new feature and piece of functionality goes into the product and we don’t just add “bells and whistles” for the sake of it. Any new features added must match with customer requirements and enhance MindGenius's ability to deliver business processes.

We are always interested in customer product enhancement requests. What would you like to see in future versions?

MindGenius 3 compatible with Windows 7

MindGenius Ltd are pleased to announce that MindGenius 3 has been certified compatible with the recently launched Microsoft Windows 7.

MindGenius had to satisfy tough certification criteria to carry the Microsoft endorsement and official logo.

The certification process is made up of policies and technical requirements to help ensure that third-party applications carrying the Windows brand are both easy to install and reliable on PCs running Windows 7. These efforts include compatibility tests for ease-of-use, better performance, and enhanced security on PCs running Windows 7 software.

For more information on compatibility with Windows 7, please contact

Follow us on Twitter!

MindGenius is excited to announce they have joined Twitter. Follow us at and be the first to find out about special offers, webinars, customers stories and latest product releases.

Marketing Manager Kelly Robertson said, "Our MindGenius customer base is very loyal and Twitter offers us an alternative way to keep in touch with them. We look forward to using Twitter, along with our own blog,, to communicate all of the latest MindGenius news."

MindGenius maps out successful strategic planning for 20:20 Consulting

Strategic adviser Jayne Graham uses MindGenius mind mapping software to develop strategic business plans, gain clarity into high volumes of complex information and advise her consultancy customers, for whom she enables change, effectively.

Jayne’s business enables change through helping people and organisations to be clearer about where they’re going and how they’re going to get there. Jayne says: “Often my customers have lots of ideas but no clear path forward, and I use MindGenius to help me to pull all of their ideas and thoughts together in one place, to categorise opportunities, to find clarity.”

How 20:20 uses MindGenius

Jayne uses MindGenius to help with the development of strategies and to assimilate and analyse findings from research prior to reporting. For example through pulling together information from various sources from customers, through MindGenius, Jayne is able to develop clear plans for their future development, including goal setting (vision statements), clarifying their future purpose (mission statements) and developing strategic plans.

Jayne uses MindGenius continually in her consultancy work. She says she always has several mind maps on the go, and for example, has used MindGenius to help with reporting the results of a complex piece of research to support the development of regional policy. As part of her work on behalf of clients she enables change for business and has developed new concepts and models in complex areas of business-related policy; supported businesses to develop new markets; and helped people who had a desire to get into business themselves to get started and realise their dreams.

As well as mind maps, Jayne uses a range of Microsoft products including Groove (shared workspace), Project, and the usual office suite; as well as Skype for virtual meetings and SurveyMonkey to collect customer feedback.

How Jayne uses mind maps

Jayne pulls together her ideas and information first, then steps back to look for a route forward which starts to emerge from the muddle. Jayne then re-orders the information to ultimately come up with a clear picture. She sometimes runs through mind-maps with customers, as it can help to them to get clarity, however most of the time the customer sees the end product – a clear route forward.

I think the economic climate is a difficult time to be in business, but it’s also a really good opportunity for businesses to stand back and think about where they’re going and how they’re going to get there. Bringing in a new perspective and some real objectivity can really help. That’s what 20:20 Consulting Ltd’s about – we’re about to go into our 6th year in business and our customers tell us that we’re here to stay! I have recommended MindGenius to many of my customers and associates because I get good results.
Jayne Graham – founder 20:20 Consulting Limited

Hints and Tips – Ribbon User Interface

The Ribbon User Interface may be unfamiliar to some of our existing V2 customers who have upgraded to Version 3 of MindGenius. The Ribbon User Interface was introduced to give key features and functionality more logical groupings, and to make it easier for users to appreciate and make use of the functionality contained within MindGenius. This style of interface is becoming more common in software applications, including those in the MS Office suite.

The new Analyze Ribbon, for example, makes it easier for users to build on their understanding of a map and turn their collection of ideas into knowledge. First of all select a category group relevant to your exercise. Default groups exist for brainstorming, impact analysis, performance review, risk analysis, etc. If there are no suitable default groups, you can either rename the generic group or create your own category sets and add personalized icons.

After you have selected which group/s to use, you can then go on to “drop” the categories onto your map to visually link ideas. Select the Category Dropper tool and then your relevant category and “drop” them onto relevant branches. Categories can also be added by highlighting the branch you would like to categorise then clicking on the relevant category.

After you have categorised your map, you may want to look at the categorised ideas in a different way. Simply click “create category map” and a new affinity diagram map will be created with your ideas grouped logically by applied category.

You also have the option here to export your categorised ideas to MS Excel for further analysis within pivot tables.

If you would rather just get a different view on your data, without creating a separate map, use the new quick filters feature. This will “grey” out those ideas that aren’t relevant. If you want to look at the filtered ideas in isolation, select “Hide non matches.”

So, to Analyze your ideas, every piece of functionality you will need is contained on the Analyze Ribbon which makes it easier and speeds up the time required to undertake Analysis.

Similarly the Home Ribbon holds all required functionality around brainstorming your initial ideas, whether individually or as a group, and the Tasks Ribbon allows you to manage tasks, whether it’s managing to-do lists or full scale project management.

If you are using the new ribbon user interface and have any questions on this, please contact us at info@mindgenius.comand we will be happy to help.

MindGenius Version 3 for Education now available

MindGenius 3 for Education has now been released and is available for general download and purchase. With a host of new features to make working with your information and in class even more effective, MindGenius 3 significantly improves collaborative learning, brainstorming, class presentations, study, problem solving, and task management capabilities.

New Features include a Ribbon User Interface which allows for easier access to the most commonly used features and functionality. This logical grouping of key features and functionality makes it even simpler for students to use and complete tasks within MindGenius. MindGenius 3 also offers the ability to add and edit your own question sets in the Question Tool allowing you to create frameworks for lesson plans, or to set questions for students to answer when undertaking essays or presentations.

Other new functionality includes an updated image library and improved functionality around formatting a map to add colours and imagery, which can help aid the look of presentations and memory recall for study; improved Analysis capability to help you sort and filter your ideas for use in classroom problem solving, University projects and dissertations; and an MS Excel export for use with pivot table analysis, and task management, allowing you to work with numerical values as well as words.

MindGenius education is available to existing users for upgrade for just £29/€33/$46 (& VAT). Multiple user discounts, including those for site licenses are available, please contact for more information.

Download and try MindGenius 3 for yourself with a 30-day free trial, or find out more about new features and functionality at

MindGenius 3 has landed

MindGenius 3 was released 2 weeks ago and since then we have received some great feedback on new features and functionality within Version 3.

Giles Massingham, District Manager UK, Bang & Olufsen Retail said: "MindGenius has always given me the ability to capture my ideas or customer requirements, then organise, understand and prioritize them quickly. After this, I can go on and share the map with colleagues or customers, or undertake the resulting actions. MindGenius 3 makes this process even more streamlined and effective. My job is extremely demanding and MindGenius 3 makes it so easy to handle my ideas and plans that I genuinely don't know what I would do without it."

New features in Version 3 include an updated Ribbon User Interface which helps improve functionality around analysis, task management, brainstorming, exporting and presentations. It groups together key functionality for undertaking these activities, making undertaking them even more streamlined.

The new export to Excel functionality seems to have struck a chord with many users excited about the possibilities this functionality offers around task management and numerical analysis of data. A full list of new features and functionality is available at

For those of you who haven’t upgraded yet, MindGenius 3 is available at a special price of £88 /€ 101/$ 141 until December 31st 2009 to MindGenius Version 2 users. And remember, this special price still allows you to license the software on 2 Personal Computers, e.g. business PC & home PC or business PC & laptop PC. The software can only be run on one PC system at any time. This is not valid on the Academic version of MindGenius.

Why not download the 30-day trial now, you do not need to uninstall MindGenius V2 as both versions will run side by side.

If you are new to MindGenius, MindGenius 3 is available to purchase for just £147 /€ 169/$ 221, per single user licence (allows installation on 2 machines). All prices are exclusive of VAT.

Academic user? MindGenius Education 3 is now available. Please visit to find out more.

MindGenius Version 3 Now Released

In response to outstanding customer demand and feedback, MindGenius is delighted to release Version 3 of its popular business mapping application.

MindGenius 3 has been designed specifically to facilitate the journey from initial thought through to actions, output and results. MindGenius 3 offers improved functionality around analysis, task management, brainstorming, exporting and presentations. In particular, the new export to Excel functionality takes business mapping into a whole new dimension.

Company Director Derek Jack said:
"MindGenius 3 was produced to align it more closely with business processes and is one of the few tools on the market that was designed specifically around its ability to facilitate these processes. Version 3 makes it even easier for our users to work with their information and ideas and undertake the key business tasks we all have to face regularly such as planning, projects and presentations."

MindGenius 3 is available to purchase for just £147/ €169/ $235 per single user licence. Existing MindGenius Version 2 customers can also upgrade for just £88/ €104/ $141 per single user licence. This offer is valid until December 31st 2009. For multiple user licence pricing, please visit All prices are exclusive of VAT.

Find out more about new features and functionality or download a 30 day free trial at

Taking your business to the next level through sales 2.0

Compliance management systems organisation, Gael Ltd, has seen its business quadruple in the past four years, a success which sales director Andrew McGee attributes to the company’s dynamic approach to customer engagement. Here, Andrew explains how modern businesses can cut costs, shorten sales cycles and gain customers with sales 2.0.

Travelling, meeting prospects face-to-face with little prior contact, sitting through dull and drawn-out presentations, having one-way communication in meetings and, in the event of a sale, ticking off the ‘converted’ box and leaving the customer to languish in a silo of indifference all characterise the bad old ways of business. The traditional sales approach is hugely resource intensive and the typical salesperson can relate to the feeling of frustration and waste felt as all commitments are put on hold while they travel to meet a cold lead towards an outcome that is less than certain.

What we are seeing now is an evolution of the sales process, based on new technologies which have brought about a positive change in business relationships. In the same way social media have given individuals a voice and helped them to become more connected, businesses are reaping the rewards of becoming more connected with their customers.

But what do we mean when we are talking about sales 2.0; what are these tools and what do they do? Mainly, we mean applying the collaboration and interaction brought about by web 2.0, to creating a lean and fast moving sales environment.

In fact, from lead generation to final sale, sales 2.0 works as a cycle whereby more customer interaction, leads to increased customer satisfaction, which in turn generates sales leads. First, at the meeting stage – at Gael, 80 per cent of our sales generation business is now conducted through online meetings - tools such as WebEx, GoToMeeting, Glance, or the open source Dimdim which allow you to hold presentations and share a screen at a distance, are absolutely fundamental to the sales development process. Their contribution to the evolution, or soft(ware) revolution in sales, cannot be underestimated.

Once in an online meeting with a prospect, we use MindGenius for customer exploration and to help understand pain points in the customer’s business. MindGenius helps us take unstructured information from a variety of sources and organises it into a map formed of headings and sub-headings. This demonstrates how topics are linked, instantly providing a logical overview of any given situation and allowing easy navigation from one subject (or document) to another, as hyperlinks can be created to further sources of information.

Rather than have a static presentation, it’s much better to engage with the customer fully at the earliest stage possible, and with this type of software, all the information appears on a map that can be explored, rather than a list. The non-linear and interactive approach helps open up discussion and create an in-depth view of how our offering applies to the prospect’s specific needs. It can be updated on-the-fly and the interaction really helps the customers feel confident that we understand their requirements.

Effective problem diagnosis leads to effective buy-in from prospects. Sales 2.0 tools help make customer meetings more meaningful, and so overall, more effective - cutting the time it takes customers to sign on the dotted line and improving our win rate dramatically.

It may come as a surprise to companies that are still using the traditional routes of airport - hotel – meeting – proposal - follow-up - that many businesses nowadays have naturally progressed to online meetings and are regularly closing significant deals without ever meeting face-to-face. The best part about online communication tools is that they also help qualify leads in a much more effective manner if a meeting is to take place. Salespeople can now travel to a prospect’s premises with a verifiable knowledge of how interested the customer is likely to be. Going on site knowing that an opportunity is already significantly progressed and a lead truly qualified can help justify an investment that could otherwise be speculative and a costly risk.

The new engagement with clients doesn’t end there though. Once a deal is completed, sales 2.0 tools really come into their own by providing continued and high-quality relationship building tools. Businesses can use the communications they receive through forums and open commentary as a marketing tool, as well as a valuable source of feedback on products and processes. At Gael, once prospects become our customers, we ensure they become part of a ‘club’. We provide newsfeeds and knowledge bases, but also ongoing individual consultancy – for example with easy to set-up and run monthly status meetings and regular product briefings (all held online). Companies will find that with sales 2.0, time spent on account management is actually reduced, while effective client servicing is increased, business prospects are increased and costs are reduced. A situation that would have previously seemed paradoxical. And the regular client interaction of course also helps with customer retention.

The benefits derived from creating customer communities are enormous. Customers will generate opportunities amongst themselves, through coming into contact via your forums, they will influence your business for the better – we bought functionality to our own products based on customer feedback that we would never have received otherwise; enthusiastic mentions also help identify customers who are willing to participate in case studies or reference programmes. And best of all, the community will also serve as a lead generator. We have found that since the information on our online outlets is constantly updated, with topical discussions, through the community interaction, we have increased visibility in search engine results, which drives traffic and sales enquiries to our business.

All in all, the value a company will gain through adopting a collaborative, partnership type model with its approach to sales, will far exceed any time investment in adopting new sales 2.0 techniques.

Fresher’s Guide to Starting University or College

It's the time of year when some students will be thinking of starting University or College. While it's an exciting time, there is a lot to think about. If you are leaving home for the first time, it can be even more daunting. To make it a little less nerve wracking, planning for the big move and the start of the next chapter can make all the difference.

Type of things to think about

Budget! Never has there been a more important time to budget. While it can be tricky getting by on a student income, with careful planning it can be comfortably achieved. Have a think about your expenditure. How often does each expenditure happen? Is it weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, yearly? Your bank statements can help you here - take a look at the last three months and see where your money is going to. This means you won't be tempted to under-estimate or forget essential items you need to pay for.

MindGenius can help you plan. Creating a detailed map should ensure you remember everything you need to. Add a branch called "Budget" and think around this topic. What will be your outgoings? Add additional branches for things like the type of bills you can expect eg gas, electricity and phone. Think about the due date and try to work out a rough estimate of how much you might need to pay each bill.

Add a branch for “flat kitty money.” If you are sharing with other people, this is one way to try and avoid arguments. List the type of things you might need such as essentials like bread, milk, loo roll, washing up liquid etc.

Add another branch for “food”. It's hard to be exact but try and work out a weekly amount. Menu planning for the week can help you save money as you'll buy exactly what you need for each day. Maybe get a copy of a few of mum or dad’s favourite recipes. These could also be added to your map.

Add a branch for “other expenses” and try to list where else you might need to spend money. Remember to include things like magazines and coffees from coffee shops as these all add up very quickly.

Once you’ve had a think about your budget, it’s time to move onto more fun things, like what do you need to take with you to your accommodation? In terms of documents, personal items, clothing, decoration, kitchen, bedroom and any other items such as umbrellas, sewing kits and extra storage boxes. Or, what other type of things do you need to think about such as joining the doctor and dentist or signing up for student discounts through the NUS or Snapfax as well as any rail or bus passes you might need.

You also need to start thinking about the kind of things you will need to help you with your studies such as your reading lists, an academic diary, text books, dictionary, thesaurus and exam result certificates.

After you’ve done all the planning, it’s time to sit back, relax and enjoy your first term at University or College.

Remember those days? Do you have any other tips you can pass onto students starting university or college for the first time about the type of things they should plan for?

5 tips to reducing business costs in an Economic Downturn

Even though the economic downturn in the UK appears to be slowing, there may still be challenging times ahead and most businesses will continue to look at ways they can reduce their outgoings.

How can businesses save money?

1. Be green! Green measures like using email wherever appropriate rather than post, switching off lights and PC's when they are not in use and switching off heating overnight in empty buildings aren't going to bring massive cost savings but in these times, every little bit helps. Look at your utility bills for energy and water, raw materials and supplies and look for ways to make savings here too.

2. Market yourself in a more cost effective manner. Utilise e-marketing techniques for newsletters, email campaigns, customer discounts and referral schemes. This saves money on postage but also printing costs, envelopes and delivery of materials. Look at your costs for offline advertising. Can savings be made here?

3. What are you paying for products and services? Can you negotiate any discounts? Build relationships and suppliers may be happy to help, for example, use a regular printer and they may be willing to look at producing different quantities for a lower price, or adding you to an existing print run, which will reduce costs.

4. Look at new technology. Find out what technology options could save you money, MindGenius use VoIP for our telephone lines which means you can make calls over the internet instead of normal phone lines and is fairly straightforward to set up.

5. Eliminate unnecessary costs. One way to do this is to reduce business costs for unnecessary travel and accommodation. MindGenius, when used in conjunction with a service such as Webex or Net Viewer allows you to undertake online meetings with customers or colleagues in far-flung destinations without leaving your desk. While you do have to invest in the Net Viewer or Webex package, if you are a company that relies on international business, and undertakes several business trips a month, you should find the cost savings more than compensate for this initial investment.

All of these measures could add up to save your organisation money. Can you afford not to try them?

Or, have you utilised any other innovative ways to save your business money?

Death by PowerPoint

As the PowerPoint application turns 25, many of us will have memories of sitting through Presentations that are delivered this way. However, according to Presentations expert, Max Atkinson, PowerPoint Presentations are often boring, and many of us will have experienced this for ourselves.

But how do you avoid your audience’s eyes glazing over and ensure your presentation is informative and interesting?

Lack of understanding of the brief

A big problem with presentations can be an initial misunderstanding of the brief. You need to spend time reading and understanding your brief. What type of presentation is required of you? Who is your audience? If someone else is organising the meeting, what are they expecting from you? Is it a formal presentation? Is it an informal chat? Is anyone else presenting? If so, what are they presenting on? Afterall, you don't want to repeat the same information.

Style over Content

A key issue with presentations can be the fact that content can become secondary to the look of the presentation. It can be tempting when you are working within PowerPoint to play around with the background template or to add funky animation to your presentation but this can be at the expense of the message. Instead the look and feel of your presentation should come after you have fully planned the content of your presentation.

Too much or not enough information

Sometimes when you are putting together a presentation it can seem like a good idea to share every single pearl of wisdom you know on a topic. Instead you should first of all consider your audience and the level they are at, what may they already know about the topic, what will be over their heads? This should also ensure you you cover the type of information the audience will be expecting.

Remember if you first of all plan and prepare your presentation in MindGenius, there is a one click export to MS PowerPoint, or you can present directly from MindGenius.

Do you have any nightmare PowerPoint presentation memories? Have you used MindGenius to overcome any of these issues?

Hints and Tips


If you are using MindGenius to plan a project, it can be helpful to add Resources to your map so you can gain an understanding of who needs to do what.

To assign Resources:

You can import your contacts from MS Outlook.

Follow these steps:
  • File
  • Outlook Sharing
  • Import Resources from MS Outlook

You can also deselect certain resources if you don't wish them to be imported to your map by unchecking the tick mark at the side. If you find you have imported Resources that aren’t required, such as personal rather than work contacts, go to Edit/My Resources and you can select individuals to remove or remove in bulk.

To assign a Resource, either highlight the branch you wish to assign a Resource to and double-click, and the initials of the resource will be added, or, if you need to add the same Resource to multiple branches, select the Properties Dropper and click on each branch that requires the addition of the Resource. The initials of the selected Resource will now appear on the selected branch.

If you would like to see the workload of a Resource, select View/Create Resource Map and this will create a separate map that allows you to see at a glance who has been assigned tasks.

This is ideal for managing a small project, or if you are working on a large and complex project, you can click “export to Project” to create a fully formatted and editable MS Project plan.

Quick hint and tip

F2 - Short cut key to edit

In the same way as MS Office packages, MindGenius allows you to use F2 to edit, Just hit the F2 key and the "edit branch" dialogue will appear and allow you to quickly format the text on your branch.

Planning a last minute holiday

We started Summer with promises of sunshine and an all out heatwave, but with the MET office changing their predictions and most of the country being lashed with rain, many people, myself included, are taking the opportunity to book a last minute deal to somewhere that is experiencing great weather, with ABTA reporting a surge in such bookings.

While booking a last minute holiday should deliver on the sunshine stakes, preparing for it is stressful with 101 things to think about from what to take with you, to what to do when you arrive, and with less time to prepare tension can rise and tempers flare.

One way to reduce stress levels, is to use MindGenius to plan for your holiday. Doing this not only saves time but should ensure you cover all eventualities. Preparing a basic holiday preparation map takes just minutes. Your level 1 branches should cover things like what to do, what to take, what to purchase etc and these can be easily built up using Type and Return.

Then you can go on to outline the specifics of this. For example, under packing, you could outline the types of things you need to take, toiletries, accessories, clothes specific to certain times ie for day or for evening wear. This will ensure you only take what's required - no more squeezing your over-flowing suitcase closed!

And under things to do, you could outline available excursions, restaurants you would like to visit, bars that sell nice cocktails. Then you could go onto to outline what the cost of these excursions is, average cost for a meal etc. This can help you to plan and to budget for your holiday, all the more important in these credit crunch days.

Spending a few minutes preparing a map can help you to spend less time stressing before you get to your sun lounger and sangria! An example of how to breakdown complex issues using MindGenius

Everyone is worried about swine flu at the moment with the media full of conflicting stories about steps we should take to avoid it but with so much information available it can be difficult to understand what is correct. According to the Royal College of GPs, even doctors are receiving “poor and inconsistent communication, including lengthy documents that are unworkable."

In situations like this, where there is an abundance of information on complex issues, it is important to find a way to disseminate knowledge in a more logical, accessible, and memorable way.

One organisation who is using MindGenius to do precisely this is
. This site is a growing venture aimed at medical students and doctors, which offers a free library of mindmaps on various topics from depression to deep vein thrombosis. The site is a work in progress and it’s expanding by the day.

Its creator, Dr. Jorge Zimbron, believes that:

“MindGenius has proven to be a very useful tool for displaying complex medical topics in an original and attractive way. Having all the information in one page significantly increases the speed of revision and allows for connections to be made between different areas of one subject. The program allows you to create templates with ease, and this enables you to create mindmaps in a much more efficient way than if you had to do them by hand.”

Sarcoidosis Map

Take a moment to a look at this great website and its mindmaps for yourself!


However, it's not just in medicine that this technique can be useful. This can also be done to disseminate large amounts of complex information out to teams and entire organisations no matter which industry you work in. Do you use MindGenius in this way?

Using MindGenius for Management Strategy

We all agree that Mind Maps are great for summarizing information, but what may not be so obvious is the benefits mind mapping can bring when we are working with large amounts of information or building understanding. I am just back from an offsite strategy meeting with our management team, and it’s incredible what we managed to cover in a day – all with one map, which will form the basis of action plans in the short term and ultimately be the baseline for review at the next meeting.

To try and explain, once each quarter six of us spend the day reflecting on what we set out to achieve in the previous quarter, what has actually been achieved and address any shortfalls. From there we access the current situation and then look to plan for the future, always trying to ensure that we are aligning our activities, projects and actions to our short, medium and long term objectives.

We discuss in details financial performance this year to date, revenue streams, channel partners and strategies, the user base, HR needs, succession planning, leadership programs, scalability across all operations, recruitment needs - even social activities to bond our teams together.

We review our 5 year plan at high level, 3 year plans in a bit more detail, focusing on revenue streams that are emerging or diminishing, looking at product portfolio opportunities and put in place research plans to give us the intelligence to make the right decisions further down the road.

We then spend a significant amount of time and energy planning out the 18 months in front of us. We look closely at the development roadmap and the internal projects required to help us achieve our objectives. We look at what needs done in research, development, marketing, sales, professional services, customer care, IT infrastructure and facilities to support what we aim to achieve and prioritize what projects to focus on in the coming 3 months, 6 months, 12 months, etc.

We cover a lot. We capture the essence of what has been discussed as we go throughout the day using a MindGenius map. We also identify and assign what actions are required to progress each element to its next stage and agree those as we go along. It allows us to feed what we have discussed into our backlog of projects to do, or directly into our projects meeting if it needs to be addressed with a degree of urgency. In essence nothing is lost – every decision from that day is captured, worked upon and evaluated regularly and ultimately feeds back into the next strategy meeting where we assess whether the outcomes from the activities delivered what we set out to achieve.

MindGenius allows us to summarise the information as we go, and jump backwards and forwards between disparate information. The MindGenius Map Explorer allows us to focus in on any section of the map and discuss it in more detail. At the end of the day, we can look at a “Level 1” view of the map which allows us to reflect upon the key points we have discussed that day. And at the end of the meeting no one has the onerous task of writing up disjointed and difficult to decipher notes as we have produced the working document throughout the course of the day.

So by summarizing information as we go along and using the power of the MindGenius Map Explorer, we are able to focus on any specific topic in isolation and develop upon it, providing us with a single point of reference to make sure we are delivering what we set out to achieve and cross-checking that what we have done is delivering the results we desire.

I think that alone would be impractical if not impossible without MindGenius.

Donald Maciver, Director at Gael Ltd and MindGenius

Has anyone else undertaken a strategy session with MindGenius? Is there anything else you would like to know about undertaking such a day with MindGenius?

Hints and Tips

Map Explorer

Those of you who regularly use MindGenius may be aware of the “outline” view that appears on the left hand side of the screen, below the file menu but many of you may be unaware of the capabilities of this feature.

In-house at MindGenius, we couldn’t imagine using MindGenius without relying on it heavily. In short, Map Explorer allows you to focus in on any area in your map, either to revisit what you said earlier or to add more detail without getting lost in the detail.

Many other mind mapping applications do not contain this facility and instead, you need to “pan” around your map. While this is fine on a small and simple map, if your map grows any larger than your screen size, it can be difficult to navigate.

To use Map Explorer:

Just click on any word you wish to focus in on. In the main map pane, the view will change to display this word and any “child” branches you have associated with it.

If you see a “plus” sign within map explorer, this means there are further branches and ideas hidden. Simply click on the plus sign to reveal them and then click on any you wish to focus in on. Likewise, where there is a “minus” sign, and you wish to view only key ideas in the outline, you can click this to hide the ideas and leave only the Level 1 ideas on display. This won’t change anything in the main map view unless you click on a branch name.

This facility is also ideal if you wish to present directly from MindGenius rather than using the Export to PowerPoint capability. It allows you to display a succinct overview to your audience and then use Map Explorer to delve into each section of your presentation.

Back to School with MindGenius

Mind Mapping has been used in education for many years now although doing it electronically is a fairly new phenomenon of the last few years. However, sometimes this use can be limited to the “expected” subjects such as English or Social subjects such as History. However, one man has been trying to spread the word on how MindGenius and mind mapping can be used by any department in a school for almost any subject.

Former Deputy Head Teacher, and now educational consultant, Harry Hughes has been using MindGenius at St Andrew's High School in Coatbridge, Scotland. While he is still using it to great effect in English classes to create critical evaluations on texts and to facilitate class discussion in Geography classes, Harry has also used it across the curriculum in subjects from Science to Home Economics.

Another interesting use was in a behaviour support class set up for students who were experiencing problems in that area. In this case, four S3 pupils were reflecting on what happens when they get angry and with the teacher's help were listing the feelings of anger they experience, grouping feelings and trying to categorise the kinds of things which make them feel angry and from that trying to draw up “coping” strategies to allow them to better manage their behaviour. S5 pupils also used MindGenius to plan out their personal statements for UCAS forms.

Anger Management Map

Harry said:

MindGenius is an ideal tool for use by teachers and learners at all stages in education.

Having used MindGenius in collaborative learning sessions in classrooms across the curriculum I have seen countless examples of how teachers and pupils can use the software to capture and organise ideas and concepts in ways that keep pupils motivated and engaged.

Are any teachers out there using MindGenius in an unexpected way? How are your students reacting? Or, would you consider using MindGenius in any of these different subject areas?

Get more from MindGenius with our hints and tips

With many gadgets and software applications becoming more advanced, it can be time consuming to comprehend their full functionality. While the basics of MindGenius are relatively easy to pick up, some of you may not be aware of its full capabilities. These hints and tips aim to show you features you may not have discovered yet.

Firstly, we will be looking at Analysis and how MindGenius enables you to make sense of the ideas you have captured and create different views of your data. Then we will be looking at two quick tips that can be picked up in seconds and used on a regular basis.


This is a feature that allows you to work with the information and ideas you have captured, to make sense of it and build a clear understanding of the overall picture and what to do next.

Using “Categories,” which are accessed via the Properties pane by selecting the key icon, you can visually link ideas together and differentiate between different ideas/projects/tasks. You can also rename the categories to be more relevant to you, or your business.

If you then want to focus in on these ideas, or look at them in isolation, you simply need to go to the “View” menu and select the “Create Category Map.”

At the click of a button, this will create a separate MindGenius map file, containing all of your ideas, split neatly into categories. If you wish to ignore uncategorised ideas, simply check the "ignore these branches" option.

This allows you to look at specific ideas or projects in isolation in order to further develop them or to create project plans, making short work of collating your initial ideas and helping you to gain understanding on the overall picture.

Quick access to the Notes pane

If you are building a map to create a report or other type of document, it is likely you will have added content to the Notes field in the Properties pane. In order to easily and quickly access and re-read or add to them, just double click on the Pencil icon on any branch that contains Notes. This will allow you to view your Notes no matter what field you have currently selected in the Properties pane.

Changing branch cases

As your ideas flow and your map grows, you may be typing rapidly. If you find yourself typing a branch and realise you have typed it all in upper case when you didn't mean to, or you've forgotten to add capitals to the start of a word, there’s no need to delete and retype, or backspace back to the beginning.

Just select the branch, then press “shift and F3” until you see the case of text you would like.

Any features that you want to shout about and ensure other MindGenius users are using too? It doesn’t matter whether they are large features that are integral to the way you use MindGenius, or little, hidden gems that you have discovered, please post them below.

Customer Spotlight - Lumison

Lumison logo

Lumison use MindGenius to tackle complex business challenges for its clients

MindGenius has over 300,000 registered users of its business and educational mind mapping applications. These users come from a variety of industries. Each month, we will be focusing on how MindGenius is applied in a customer organisation.

This month we are looking at Lumison, the UK internet service provider who is using MindGenius to accurately capture the complex requirements of clients and then demonstrate its solutions for managed networks, hosting and applications.

The adoption of MindGenius enables Lumison to accurately capture, plan and demonstrate the complex requirements for managed networks, hosting and applications and help keep these projects on time and budget.

“The scale and complexity of client requirements at Lumison had escalated to the point where our teams were engaged with senior decision makers but finding it challenging to maintain momentum and clear direction because of the complexity of issues being discussed”, said Chris Shields, Client Director at Lumison. “MindGenius completely simplifies that process and allows us to visualise the clients project and address all the business challenges with a client then directly map them back to our solutions. MindGenius is the perfect tool for capturing client needs clearly to underpin a consultative sales process – more important than ever in today’s climate.”

The Lumison sales team and executives use MindGenius to capture every aspect of a project assignment presenting a visualisation of the project as a working-plan, taking advantage of the fast and intuitive interface and assigning actions through outlook on the completion of a visualisation. Continued Shields: “business-mapping is a hugely powerful technique yet so simple and using MindGenius in this way is a far more engaging experience and it enables us to save both our customers and our Client Managers time and effort in finding solutions to real business challenges.”

Lumison enables their clients business applications by bringing together three portfolio elements: managed networks, managed hosting, and managed applications. Founded in 1995, Lumison is one of a few business-class ISPs in the UK to own and manage its own datacentre facilities, providing high quality IP network.

MindGenius for all the family

Do you use MindGenius in the office to help with planning, presentations, or report writing? Are you a parent? If so, these techniques can also be applied to help your children structure their ideas, build on their organisational abilities and improve their studying efforts.

Over 500 schools use MindGenius in the classroom and around 350 Further Education establishments across the UK, and internationally, have installed site licences, giving access to all students across their campus. However, benefits can be enhanced when school students also use MindGenius when they are working individually on school projects at home.

We have heard evidence from those who work in education and those of us with children have witnessed at home how MindGenius can help children achieve more and grow in confidence.

One way it can help them to do this is to assist with their studying efforts.

A Standard Grade [GCSE Level] pupil at St Andrew's High School in Coatbridge said:

"Before we did a Cell map I sat the General Exam and got a Grade 7(mark too low to score). After seeing a map being developed in class and using it to study I sat the Credit Exam (more difficult level) and I got a Grade 1.

The teacher read one of my answers out to class saying this was someone who clearly knows about the topic. "

Mind Mapping is a technique that has been used as a study technique for many years, however, it's not just studying that can be improved with MindGenius. Amanda Burkett, Health and Social Care student at Salisbury College has found MindGenius has allowed her to improve her presentation efforts. She said:

"I have been using MindGenius to help with my Health and Social care college course work for a couple of years now, in particular for presentations. I enjoy using it and like the fact I can insert pictures and use it for presenting to my class. For one course I received a merit and I think MindGenius helped me to achieve this."

And when it comes to essay writing, Rita Carey, an English Teacher at St Andrews High School has commented:

"MindGenius helps develop pupils' skill in grouping related points together - a real advantage when it comes to writing critical essays like critical evaluations.”

Have you used MindGenius with your own children yet? Would you like to share their success stories with other people? Do you work in education and have seen MindGenius in action with school pupils? If so, please post your stories below.

How I use MindGenius

MindGenius is used by everyone in-house at MindGenius Ltd, no matter what their job role is, however, everyone uses it in a way that is personal to them. Different team members will explain how they use MindGenius in their role and hopefully give you some new ideas on how you can apply it too.

Dustin Newport, Commercial Director

I have been in the business of Mindmapping software for approaching 5 years now. I use MindGenius in front of clients. It’s less about showing them our software, and much more about having a medium for collecting information and understanding their business challenges. The maps enable us to gain clarity and alignment in each sales meeting. I also use MindGenius as a personal dashboard for starting each day and have a clear picture of my key goals and objectives.

My top 3 things to use MindGenius for

1. Personal dashboard of immediate things that need to be done, as well as my ‘radar’ of things I’m generally thinking about or need to keep an eye on. I have these synchronised with my Outlook task manager which in turn is in synch with my Blackberry.

2. Exploring a new set of ideas. Recently I needed to revamp our channel partner program. I conducted the entire process in MindGenius and then used the map as a vehicle for internally soliciting input from my colleagues. For me, no other piece of traditional office software allows me to think through my ideas so thoroughly and rapidly.

3. Presenting to new customers. Using MindGenius combined with an online meeting tool such as Webex or NetViewer, allows me to give an interactive presentation to customers wherever they are based in the world. While linear presentation tools such as MS PowerPoint still have their place, for me the interactive benefits such as the way it enables full participation and dialogue to be rapidly established across all parties sets it apart from such linear tools. I can also capture customer requirements as we speak, ensuring my understanding of their requirements is 100% accurate.

Do you use MindGenius in a commerical or sales capacity? Do you use it for the same things as Dustin?

Wanted: Ambitious Resellers or Affiliates to earn cash from MindGenius

MindGenius are currently looking for new resellers and affiliates. Would you like to earn generous commission rates from MindGenius? Whatever your expertise we will have a solution that allows you to get involved and get earning.

Whether you are an established software reseller who does business in the UK or internationally, a trainer or consultant who uses MindGenius in their working lives, or simply an individual with their own website and an interest in business or educational mind mapping, our Partner Programme will try to accommodate you.

Premier Partners

Our Premier Partners enter into a full working relationship with MindGenius and the benefits available here reflect this, including high rates of reseller commission and a listing on our high traffic website. Premier Partner organisations must have a dedicated business or division intent on accelerating the uptake of mind mapping applications. Recently Olympic, a leading business mind mapping reseller, Iansyst, reknowned for their expertise in the assisted learning field, and Douglas Stewart, a specialist international distributor in the educational market, have joined this programme.

Nigel Goult, managing director for Olympic said "Business-mapping is a hugely powerful technique yet so simple and MindGenius is a highly intuitive and uncluttered tool that will appeal to individuals new to the concept.  We are seeing a marked increase in the take up of this type of application in a broad spectrum of business roles and I think that almost any job role can benefit from information mapping.”

Authorised Partner

Are legitimate resellers who can fulfil MindGenius orders in the UK and internationally. In addition to good commission rates, the buying process is simplified with a straight forward web-based ordering service.


If you are a trainer or consultant who can use MindGenius with your clients, or have your own website which displays an interest in Mind Mapping, our Affiliate programme offers generous rates of commission and, in some cases, the opportunity to have a listing on our high traffic website.

We look forward to working with new partners to ensure the continued success of MindGenius. If you are interested in any of the programmes or have other skills you would like to tell us about, please contact us at and let us know how you can help and a little about yourself or business as appropriate.