Friday, 27 November 2009

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:

www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b41038de-d95b-11de-b2d5-00144feabdc0.html

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:
http://www.computeractive.co.uk/crn/comment/2253065/buyers-spend-money-save-money



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 search.twitter.com 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 www.twitter.com/MindGenius. 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?

*Source.com/Score/Pear 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 http://www.mindgenius.com/support/version-3-downloads.aspx

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?