Friday, 17 December 2010

Customer Spotlight - University of Derby

The University of Derby is a multi-site University with campuses in Derby and Buxton. Emma Butler is a Subject Librarian for the Buxton Campus, and has been running learning sessions with her students using MindGenius and mind mapping.
She captured a recent session she ran for her students for YouTube, so that students doing the module via distance or e-learning could also experience the session.  

Here she tells us the purpose of the session and how it helped her students.
“I was introduced to mind mapping by some of my colleagues who teach on the Further Education courses run by the University and I do use MindGenius myself for my own work purposes. It's really useful for brainstorming ideas at the start of a project or piece of work. I use it with students to help them to make their planning as effective as possible.
“The particular session we filmed for YouTube was a repeat of one that we did last year for students on the same module and the impetus for it came from the module leader for Marketing and Promotion, Sheila Mclaughlin, who believes that working with mind mapping and MindGenius helps recognize different people’s learning styles and encourages students to work with skeletal frameworks. Working with skeletal frameworks helps the students to think through their work more logically, coherently and creatively compared to just start writing a document.
“The purpose of the session was primarily to give the students an opportunity to start planning their module assignment, but also to use the tools and resources available via MindGenius to make this planning as effective as possible.
“We do want the students to develop creative thinking skills and MindGenius can certainly help with this but I think, more than that, the software actually enables the students to almost visualize their essay. They can see where the longer paragraphs are going to be, perhaps where they need more information, and which sections they have quotations, evidence and articles for etc. One of the key benefits of using MindGenius is that it allows the students to get all their ideas written down quickly and easily, and they can then rearrange and move sections as necessary.
“In this particular session, we demonstrated MindGenius while class members sat at a computer and worked along with us to build their own map.  We talked through their assignment on the “Analysis and Evaluation of Communication and the Promotional Mix at the University of Derby”, the requirements of their essay, and the elements they needed to include: for example Services Communication, to cover the characteristics of a service, a focus on marketing to students, an analysis section using the Pieters model, and their recommendations.  

Fig. 1 Mind Map - Marketing Promo, Map created in session
Please click on image for full screen view

Building a map in this way, allowed students to get to grips with using MindGenius too, including some of the functionality they might find particularly useful such as adding attachments to work out their search strategy and exports to MS Word, to be used when they were happy they had produced their essay framework.  We also covered the Gantt view. In this instance, I suggested they create a separate map for their recommendations and then turn this into a Gantt chart. This allowed them to visualize the amount of time required to implement their recommendations.
The students are generally very positive about MindGenius and what it can do, and several in particular commented on the facility to convert the map to a Gantt chart. This will be particularly useful when planning their dissertations in their final year.”
Emma believes: “MindGenius is very easy to use for both staff and students alike, but the analytical tools and other functions mean that it is very effective and useful for so many different work activities.”
The video is around 40 minutes long as it covers a teaching session.

The BIG year end milestone

Why does everything need to be completed by the year-end? The end of the year is often used as an immoveable milestone – often self-imposed and it’s not just at this time of year that you can find yourself feeling overloaded with too much to do and needing to bring a bit of clarity to proceedings.

Try this process to get clarity on what needs to be done to achieve your year-end milestone and improve your general productivity. Start by bringing together everything that’s on your mind. Brain dump and capture in a map; the tasks you need to close out, people you need to connect with, loose ends to tie up and the Xmas shopping to do!

Add structure to your map by grouping the ideas to get more clarity; Projects, Phone calls, emails, Shopping etc.

Brain dumping and visualizing your ideas and information in this way is the fundamental reason you are able to quickly achieve clarity on any situation. Your tasks are concisely captured, connections & relationships are easier to see and the graphical view on you tasks encourages and helps you identify and remember other associated tasks. Feedback tells us that this is one of the most effective uses of the application and the starting point for many projects.

Now identify what you want to achieve, it can't be everything but at least identify the most important ones and what you'd be happy with.

It now depends on what task management methodology you would normally adopt. Try prioritizing everything and start working on the high priorities, moving onto the lower priorities only when the high ones are completed or simply remove the lower priority tasks to another map (or section of current map) to deal with later. Either way you should be left with a clear view of what you are trying to achieve.

All you have to do now is complete those tasks!

Task Management and Time Management are huge topics in their own right to be covered in the coming months.

See this Month’s Hints & Tips on the most effective way to Christmas Shop

Hints and Tips - Christmas Shopping

At this time of year everyone has too many things to do, and Christmas shopping can be another time consuming activity. Maybe you are organized and have everything done by now, but if you’re getting stressed about how you will fit everything in, using MindGenius can speed up and simplify the process for your holiday shopping. 

Here are the steps to follow:


Step 1


Brainstorm your ideas for presents; who do you need to buy for, is there anything you know you need to get such as sweets or drinks.


Step 2


You can now quickly re-order your map, you can add structure by breaking your map down by person to buy for or stores you need to go to. The way I’ve done this is to drag and drop present ideas underneath the people I am buying for. This way I can then focus in on each individual using Map Explorer and brainstorm specific present ideas.


Fig. 1 Christmas Shopping List
Please click on image for full screen view
Step 3

Next, consider your budget and whittle down your initial ideas into those you want to go ahead and purchase.


Step 4


Now, edit your categories and rename as the common stores you need to visit for different presents (depending on where you are) eg M&S, Target, Gap, iTunes, different department stores you need to visit, book stores, online stores etc



Fig. 2 Rename Categories
Please click on image for full screen view
Step 5

Apply the categories to your presents, presents can also have multiple categories if you're not sure which stores you will get the gift in.



Fig. 3 Categorized Map
Please click on image for full screen view


Step 6

Create a category map of your gifts - this will show which gifts you need to get in each store and speed up your Christmas shopping, make the process easier and help you not to forget anything vital.



Fig. 4 Category Centric View
Please click on image for full screen view


















Additional tip - I know from personal experience when you order multiple items online, it can be difficult to remember what you've ordered and whether or not you've received it. You could create and add separate categories for "ordered" and "received" to keep track of your items.

Step 7

Your map could be expanded out to cover your holiday food and drink shopping, or when you have guests visiting and the tasks you need to complete before they arrive so you end up a map with an entire holiday plan.

Step 8

You can then print your map out, if it’s small enough, as one page, or by breaking it down into readable sections using print preview, and take it to the shops with you

That's it - holiday shopping completed.

If you would like some inspiration on what to buy people, download my Christmas shopping map.

Web Community Champion Tips on Managing Projects

Daniel Rae, Web Community Champion
Gael Ltd
Daniel Rae has been Web Community Champion for Gael Ltd 3 years and is responsible for Gael’s online community, supporting Gael’s online strategy, and is involved in IT web projects to improve online presence. This has included the creation of new websites in addition to a complete restructure of the current website. This involved splitting the Gael corporate site from the current product specific Q-Pulse site, as well as migrating sites that use different content management systems (CMS) to a single CMS.


In his time at Gael, Daniel has developed the Gael community from scratch. The community is an interactive online community for users of Gael's software and services and currently has over 3000 users. It encompasses multiple active discussion forums, a variety of blogs, and is the first stop for Gael's customers' support needs with its in-depth product knowledgebase and support case management. He also has responsibility for prioritising and actioning changes and improvements to the main company website.  


Daniel’s job title is not project manager but he recognizes that that's exactly what he has had to do to ensure delivery of his projects to management both on time and to budget.


Here Daniel shares his tips for managing multiple projects:


“I work across multiple projects both small and medium sized, and with varied durations of 1 week to 3 months with no real room for error due to tight delivery timeframes and the impact an undelivered project has on other projects I need to manage. The key thing I have discovered is that I must plan for success each time, which means that I must know exactly what needs to be done and how it will come together. I am confident we have the skills and experience to deliver our projects but I know from experience that the unexpected can cause problems. Here’s my process for managing projects:


Firstly, I will get the team together to brainstorm requirements and identify everything that needs to be done. This allows us to benefit from team experience and knowledge, and ensure there are no surprises later. If the group stalls or hit a wall, we can apply different methodologies and questioning techniques to ensure we elaborate on key points to achieve a rounded view which helps us to minimize risk.

Fig. 1 Brainstorming example graphic
Please click on image for full screen view
Here is an example of tasks identified as we discussed finding and implementing a new content management system (CMS).

The next step is understanding how the project will come together and after the brainstorming stage is finished, I can develop understanding on the key points by adding structure to the ideas. This allows me to visualize the phases of the project and the tasks associated with each stage.



Fig. 2 Design Phase
Please click on image for full screen view
Here's what the design phase looked like

We continue to use team experience for working out who's best to do what, and an estimation of timings. We used the Gantt view during this process to get a visual representation of phases and tasks which gave us a clear picture of the tasks involved and how they impacted on others.



Fig. 3 Design Phase as a Gantt view
Please click on image for full screen view


Here's what the design phase looked like as a Gantt view

I then presented the overall plan back to the team so that everyone is clear on what is required. I also produced specific resource centric views of each person’s tasks.


Fig. 4 Resource Centric View
Please click on image for full screen view
We’ve taken the project to the stage where we are ready to deliver it but we’ve minimized risk via following this process and concentrating on our planning. This leaves us confident we can deliver on time and to budget.

Before being introduced to MindGenius, I used MS Excel for project management but I think that using a tool like MindGenius allows us to spend more time planning and be more agile in delivery. MindGenius has played a pivotal role throughout the brainstorming of ideas for the projects and the Gantt view gave a clearer view of all tasks involved in the project, and how these impacted on each other, along with how the project team needed to work together on the assignment."

Download Daniel's Go Live Checklist

Take a look at the Gael Community: http://www.gaelcommunity.com/  

Enhancements in Version 3 Maintenance Releases

Since version 3 of MindGenius was released in October 2009, there have been several maintenance releases, the latest being 3.7, which was available to download on the 1st December 2010. Here are the details of the new features and functionality in versions 3.0, 3.5, 3.6 and 3.7

Enhancements included in 3.7

Windows desktop search integration for 32 and 64 bit systems

  • The contents of the maps are now indexed by windows, allowing users to search for branch titles, attachment names, resources and notes within map files.
Map preview integration for Windows Explorer
  • Users are able to preview a map without the need to open the file in Explorer. Note, the preview pane must be turned on.
Map preview integration for Outlook
  • Users are able to preview map attachments without the need to open the file in MS Outlook
Save as OPML
  • Users now have the ability to save, as well as open, the OPML format.
Gantt chart printing improvements
  • Users can now control page setup and print options.
Enhancements included in 3.6
  • Export MindGenius calendar (and working exceptions) to Microsoft Project.
  • Allow users to alter the Gantt view timeline.
  • Import OPML files (e.g. iThoughts).
  • Import MindManager files.
Enhancements included in 3.5
  • Gantt View
MindGenius 3.5 allows you to view your map and its associated task information in a Gantt chart.

The Gantt chart is generated based on the branches, their task information and their relationship in your map.

The Gantt view is seamlessly integrated within MindGenius, allowing you to switch between map view and Gantt view with the click of a button.

Enhancements included in 3.0
  • Ribbon User Interface
  • Improved Analysis capabilities to help you sort your information and add quick filters to get a different view on your data e.g. by category, actions due/over due, cost or task properties
  • MS Excel export for use with pivot table analysis, parts lists, costs, task management and FMEA Analysis, allowing you to work with numerical values as well as words.
  • Numerical fields added that allow you to record actual work hours, costs and quantities and undertake cost and quantity calculations.
  • Updated image library with a suite of pictures that can be used royalty free by all MindGenius users.
  • Ability to add and edit your own question sets in the Question Tool allowing you to undertake improved planning and brainstorming sessions and create frameworks for meetings and customer facing sessions.
  • Timer to allow you to keep on schedule in brainstorming, meetings and presentations.
  • Ability to import Mind Manager files.
If you are a MindGenius Business V2 customer, you can still upgrade to MindGenius 3 (latest release version 3.7) for just £117 / €135 / $188 (+ VAT where applicable).

If you are a MindGenius Education V2 customer, you can still upgrade to MindGenius 3 (latest release version 3.7) for just £45 / €52 / $72 (+ VAT where applicable).

You simply need to;
  1. Download and install the appropriate MindGenius 3 Trial version (you do not need to uninstall MindGenius V2)
  2. Purchase a Version 3 Upgrade license from our Online Store.

Version 3.7 now available to download

MindGenius Version 3.7 is now available to download. This maintenance release is free to all Version 3 customers.
Version 3.7 can be downloaded from http://www.mindgenius.com/download.aspx  

***Important note***If you are an Enterprise customer, please contact your IT Administrator for details on how to update your version. Do not download from the link above.

For details on new functionality in this release, click here.

If you have any questions on this, please contact us at info@mindgenius.com.  

Using MindGenius to write a book

Wayne Stelk
Wayne Stelk, Ph.D, President, Innovation Management Solutions, LLC has been using MindGenius to write a book. Here he talks about the process he has followed:

In what may be an act of folly, I’ve decided to write a book. It will be a non-technical book for managers who work in the knowledge economy. The topic of the book is how humans think compared to how computers think. As Web 2.0 evolves into Web 3.0 (the “Semantic Web”), successful managers will need to know the difference between i-think and e-think.

The primary problems I’ve encountered in writing this book include organizing my research and having the source information at my finger tips as I write. The source material includes scientific studies, newspaper articles, government reports, interviews, and so on. The number of discrete information items numbers in the thousands. In many respects, my problem is similar to any organization that wants to organize its “intellectual capital” into a readily accessible knowledge-base. And ultimately, this is the challenge of the Semantic Web: creating knowledge representation schemes so that individual pieces of information can be organized into a conceptual framework that allows the end-user to access meaningful categories of information, not just scattered pieces of information. When viewed in this context, my little problem of organizing information for my book is a nano-microcosm of a far larger problem of organizing all of the information available globally through the Web.

MindGenius (MG) has become a mission-critical solution to the problem of organizing my research – a true folly-buster. I have used other tools to gather information, such as EndNote, Evernote, and OneNote. But the search and retrieval across tools has proven impossible and I was losing track of what information was in which bucket. Because I had long been interested in mind-mapping software, I decided it was time to explore this option. I went online to look at the various products and quickly settled on the many cool features offered by MG. Having purchased MG a few months ago, I am more than pleased with the product and I keep finding new solutions for old problems.

My first use of MG was to organize my book chapters and chapter sections. Because MG is so visual, it was easy to put my thoughts on the screen, move them around, and re-formulate ideas. Having discovered the joy of outlining, I began to explore more advanced MG features, such as: categories; category maps; project management; resource management; cost allocations; and indexing. I did this through a variety of “test” applications (see Image 1). 

  • For example, I would create four Level 1 branches (A, B, C, D),  then added Level 2 branches (A1, A2, A3; B1, B2, B3; C1, C2, C3; etc.), and then added additional levels.
  • With this simple structure, I could play with building categories, assigning them to different items at different branch levels, and generate linked maps.
  • I could then create category maps to see how the items grouped, and export these items to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Project Manager.
  • Another important lesson I learned was that I could copy a branch and its sub-branches in one application and paste it (with all of its notes, categories and attachments) into another application. In other words, I could build new applications from earlier applications.
Fig. 1 Sample Test App
Please click for full screen view
Since the test structures were simple to construct, I could explore all of these advanced features in a few brief sessions of less than 15 minutes each. In other words, by playing with test applications, I quickly came up the learning curve for using MG to the max.

Having developed fluency with MG, I returned to my book project and began transforming my book outline into a one-stop-shopping information repository. For each section within each chapter, I wrote the topic sentences as sub-branches. I also created sub-branches for each reference used in the section. I then attached the source document to the reference branch, or I could paste source text into the “notes” feature of the branch. The symbol of the pencil in the branch lets me know that I have populated the notes field (see image 2).
Fig. 2 Sample Topic Outline
Please click for full screen view


By converting my simple outline into a comprehensive information repository, I made a giant leap forward in organizing the information for book writing. Now, I could write text and quickly attach reference material. And because MG is a visual product, I could easily move (or copy) text and reference material to some other section of the document as I edited the flow of the topics. While my MG application worked well as a project organizer and information repository, I decided that I needed to go one step further by creating a knowledge-base (KB) that would function as a higher-level information source not only for my book project at hand, but also for all future writing projects.

The difference between a project –specific information repository and a KB is that the organization of reference material for a project is specific to that project. Also, a particular information source might be used in more than one location, thereby creating a redundancy that is useful within the project, but less useful in “one-stop-shopping” for information. Plus, the logical structure of a MG project application is necessarily specific to the project. Because a KB has a more universal logic-structure, it can be used for many projects related to the KB domains.  When properly constructed, a KB is a universal representation for some aspect of your world – personal or organizational. In technical terms, a KB becomes an “ontology,” a knowledge representation scheme that can be shared (or mutually constructed) with others who might be family members (family and household information), friends (book clubs, competitive sports leagues), or organizational managers (value chain, products, policies and procedures). The development of globally-useful ontologies is a core challenge for the creation of the Semantic Web. However, personal or organizational KBs are far smaller and scope and easier to build.

I found MG to be an ideal environment to build a universal KB for my writing and consulting projects. The key to robust KB construction is creating levels of branches that identify domains and sub-domains. Specific points of information (documents, notes, Web-links, etc) can then be created in branches that are attached to a domain-chain. Here is one example of a domain-chain that goes from general to specific: Technology, Computers, Hardware, Smart Computers. In this example, I have added instances of source material to the “Smart Computer” branch (see Image 3). Besides the Technology domain, other high level domain branches in my KB include: Systems Theory, Network Theory, Information Management (see Image 4 showing the Info Management chain), to name a few.
Fig. 3 Segment for Technology
Please click for full screen view

Fig. 4 Segment on Information Management
Please click for full screen view


Besides the creation of domain branches, another important feature in constructing a KB is the use of “categories.” You can create your own selection of categories using the Analyze tab and selecting “Edit Categories.” There, I created “tags” that assign category attributes to the points of information. For example, in Image 3, I have two articles on DNA computers, to which I have assigned a “biology” category. By creating a Category Map, I can find the articles on DNA computing under the Technology domain and the Biology domain (see Image 5). By using categories to assign attribute tags, my knowledge-base is a multi-dimensional representation of my research that can be searched using domain chains, category assignments, or key words.

Fig. 5 Sample Category Map
Please click for full screen view
MindGenius has allowed me to organize my thoughts and research in a way that is intuitive, visual, and retrievable. Besides being useful, it has been fun to see my “mind product” taking shape on the screen. My KB application and my book application will grow together through a dynamic process of adding information and moving information as my own knowledge increases and as my book takes shape.

You, too, can create applications like these by developing your own test playgrounds and by inserting your own creative juices – all with no programming skills. Enjoy!

Maintenance release 3.7 release date announced

MindGenius Ltd are pleased to announce the forthcoming maintenance release of MindGenius 3. Version 3.7 will be available to download from our website on the 1st December and is free to all existing Version 3 users.

As well as routine maintenance work, Version 3.7 includes integration with Windows Desktop Search, Map Preview Support and a Save as OPML option.


Integration with Windows Desktop Search
Windows Desktop Search will now index the contents of MindGenius maps.  This allows you to search for specific terms in your map from the Windows start menu or Windows explorer search bar.

Fig. 1 Integration with Windows Desktop Search
Branch titles, notes, resources, attachment names and descriptions, action details and categories are all indexed.
New maps created and updated maps will index straight away.  Existing maps may take a little longer to index as Windows does this in the background when your PC is idle. (a reboot can help get this moving).

Map preview support
Fig. 2 Map Preview Support
You can now preview maps in Windows Explorer (Vista, Windows 7) and Microsoft Outlook (2007, 2010) without opening them.  The preview supports zooming and copy to clipboard functionality.

Save map as OPML
We introduced the ability to import OPML files in Version 3.6, this allows maps created in certain iPhone/iPad applications to be opened directly with MindGenius. The Save as OPML capability added in Version 3.7 allows these maps to be edited in MindGenius and sent back to the iPhone/iPad applications.

Look out for your reminder message on the 1st December which will contain details on how to update to 3.7.

Creating and Sharing Maps with Attached Files

Whether attaching timesheets to project maps or web links to research documents utilising branch attachments can add great value to your project management activities.
Fig.1 Section of a map with examples of attachments

It is possible to attach any file type or URL to a branch and launch that file or web page directly from MindGenius. MindGenius can become a file library for your project!

Attached files are visually indicated on the map, examples of an attached PDF file and an Excel spreadsheet are shown in the image above. An example of a branch with multiple attachments is also shown (Paperclip icon).
To attach a file:
  • Ensure the Insert tab is selected
  • Select the branch to which you wish to attach a file
  • From the Attachments group, select the 'Attachment' command
  • In the Add Attachments dialog, browse for the file or type the URL you want to attach to the branch
  • Add a description for the file
  • Click 'OK'
Hovering the mouse over the symbol will display the list of attachments - click on one to launch it. Double-clicking on the attachment symbol will also launch the attachment(s).
Sharing maps with attachments
Make sure when sharing maps with attachments that every user has access to the locations of the linked files. If this is not possible then the MindGenius Distribute feature can be used to send the map and all attachments.
To distribute a map:
  • From the Export tab, select 'As Compressed Package'
  • In Package options, select ‘Include attachments’
  • An e-mail will automatically be created (in compatible e-mail packages)
  • The compressed package containing the map and all attachments will be attached to the e-mail
The package can then be sent to colleagues who can open the package and extract the map and attachments allowing them all to be viewed.
Attachments are also ideal for Research and allow you to build a map that contains links to all relevant files for a research project, or for an essay or report.

Using MindGenius throughout a school

Hamilton College is a co-educational Christian independent school for pupils aged 3 to 18. Currently the school community has around 650 children and young people in the Nursery, Junior and Senior Schools and around 100 teaching and support staff.

Hamilton College has been using MindGenius for more than 3 years and it is available to all staff and pupils.

Here Lynn Dobbie, Pupil Support (Learning) Teacher, talks about how MindGenius is typically used in the school:

Lynn believes MindGenius helps support personalised learning to complement all learning styles.
   By its very nature, MindGenius software benefits and enriches learners’ experiences in the following ways:
  • Visual learners can quickly build up a bank of information independently and format mindmaps appropriate to individual preferences.
  • Auditory learners can use the software as a note-taking tool, convert mindmaps into Word documents then use additional text to speech software to extend their understanding and learning.
  • Kinaesthetic learners benefit as they are actively engaged in their learning.  The whole process of “doing” is paramount.
The example below is a map that was gathered in a class brainstorming on “Edinburgh.” The teacher used MindGenius on a whiteboard and passed around a wireless keyboard to the class and everyone added their own ideas. This allows learners to feel involved in class as they can see their ideas on screen. The added bonus is, of course, that there is a mindmap available to store for future recall either as a class handout or as a study guide. In addition to this, the mindmap can be exported into Word or Powerpoint, this feature of the software is very popular with both learners and teachers alike.

Fig, 1 Class Brainstorming map
Please click for full screen view
In the example above, the teacher added graphics that correlated with some of the branches on the map, this made the map more memorable and more visually engaging for the learners, who can themselves easily add graphics and colour if they are working on a personal map. The ability to personalise the map helps promote creativity.

When ideas are first captured in class, it is often with a flat structure but as more ideas are added, common themes can become apparent and the teacher (or learners) can either drag and drop them into more appropriate locations, or categories can be assigned, like on the agenda below for a Prefect’s meeting. On the example below, categories have been added to visually signify the day of the week decisions have been made, progress on a task as well as the chosen decision for the new duty structure.
Fig. 2 Prefect's Meeting Minutes
Please click for full screen view
At Hamilton College, there is a balance between whole class use of MindGenius and learners working independently. Pupils use MindGenius for developing mindmapping skills, extended writing planning, topic/project/oral talk planning, homework, revision, and meeting minutes.

In addition, MindGenius is regularly used for strategic school planning, the School Improvement Plan (SIP) for example, has been presented to the Board of Governors, staff and parents and has been posted on the school’s website using MindGenius (see below). More generally, MindGenius is used in school by staff for lesson planning, meeting management, topic revision, planning/structuring PowerPoint presentations, giving feedback to pupils, collaborative working, and strategic planning.
Fig. 3 School Improvement Plan
Please click for full screen view
Introducing a new piece of software to a school can be a big decision to make, at Hamilton College the pupils were introduced to MindGenius through a rolling “awareness raising” programme involving pupils from J4 to S6, run by the Pupil Support (Learning) team in conjunction with class teachers in Junior School and Pupil Support (Guidance) team in Senior School.

It’s not only the pupils at Hamilton College who use MindGenius, all teaching staff have had in-service training on using MindGenius and around 50-60% of staff regularly use the software. 


Finally,
Lynn also believes that MindGenius has enabled increased access to learning in Hamilton College as many learners store their MindGenius mindmaps on the Hamilton College Visual Learning Environment (VLE) – Moodle. This is inclusive and can be used for a variety of purposes including revision, for other learners who would like to extend their knowledge and for others who have missed a lesson in class.

Do you use MindGenius across your school? Is it similar to this use or how does it differ?

To download two of the maps from this article, please click below on the relevant link:


Edinburgh Sample Map

Mind Mapping Training Workshop

Interested in how mind mapping can help your Financial Services organization? Protinus are hosting a workshop in Glenview, Illinois Nov 16th which will cover the benefits of applying mind mapping in your organization, and using it with your clients, and attendees will leave with a plan to implement mind mapping in their organization.

The one day workshop teaches the “Mind Map Illustrator™”process by which greater value is delivered to clients through clearer communication and enhanced capabilities.

Attendees will be given a road map to assist them with implementing the plan to reinvent their firm and will receive hands on practical experience which will help them implement the Mind Map Illustrator™ process as soon as they return to the office.

In one workshop, using mind maps as a review of a client case, Protinus discovered a major error on a client’s beneficiary designation that otherwise would have been missed.

The workshop will run from 8:00AM -4:00 PM at 2700 Patriot Blvd, Suite 440, Glenview, Illinois 60026.  To book, or to find out more information, either email kim.frank@protinuspro.com, or call (847) 730-1770.

If you can’t make this workshop, Protinus have additional workshops scheduled for 2011 on Jan 27, Feb 23 and Mar 22.

Collect your free MindGenius demo disk at Oil and Gas PILOT ShareFair 12

Wednesday 3rd November 2010 sees PILOT Share Fair 12 take place at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre. PILOT Share Fair 12 allows attendees from the Oil and Gas industries to hear about latest developments in the industry, including hearing the 18 month forward plans of the major operators and contractors. This year delegates can pick up a free demo disk of MindGenius with their delegate pack. 

MindGenius is already used extensively in the industry and has also been used in the recent Oil and Gas National Conversations run by the Scottish Government. Jim Mather, Minister for Enterprise, Energy and Tourism, and MSP for Argyll and Bute said:
      

“MindGenius has proven to be an invaluable catalyst providing a framework for capturing discussions as part of our National Conversations with the Oil and Gas industries, capturing viewpoints as we go along and allowing us to quickly and easily share outputs for further thought, discussion and action.”
If you are attending PILOT Share Fair 12, look out for your MindGenius demo disk which also contains some examples of how those in the industry such as Technip, Baker Hughes, and Oceaneering are applying MindGenius and a special demo offer just for attendees.

Creating Organizational Charts

Mind Maps are not the only visual, diagrammatical, management technique that exists to help people understand problems, gain insights, and come up with practical, innovative solutions.

Over the years a number of visual techniques have been developed and gained world-wide acceptance as valuable improvement and productivity tools and are widely taught and used as business development techniques.


For example, the organogram diagram is extremely useful for visually displaying an organizational structure where there is a definite top-down hierarchy, necessary perhaps when an organization is large and complex. The organogram allows you to outline the structure and relationships between different members of staff. Even when your organization is smaller, it can help everyone to clearly see the hierarchy. MindGenius contains an organogram view and also allows you to add information on the relationships between different people by adding categories.

As well as this, the organogram view can be used to map out relationships between different contacts in a customer organization, by Sales Teams, or be used to map team personality traits via an established technique such as Myers-Briggs.


Fig. 1: Example Sales Map outlining type of contact by category.
Please click image for full screen view.


Fig. 2: Categories used in Sales Map.
Please click image for full screen view.


Fig. 3: Map with Myers Briggs Personality Types added.
Please click image for full screen view


Myers Briggs is a psychometric questionnaire designed to measure psychological preferences in how people perceive the world and make decisions. On the basis of your answers to the test, you are placed into one of sixteen types. What type you are says quite a bit about you - your likes and dislikes, your likely career choices, your compatibility with others, and so on. Again using categories, you can assign different personality traits to different people. You can also show links and relationships between people by adding mental connections, or add pictures so you know who each individual is. Doing this allows the chart, if required, to go beyond formal relationships and show how people interact together.

Fig. 4: Categories used in Myers Briggs Map to show personality types
Please click image for full screen view.


To find out your own, or your teams Personality type, visit http://www.personalitytest.net/cgi-bin/q.pl
Have you used MindGenius for this purpose?

Preview days at iansyst

Do you want to see the features and benefits of Assistive Technology, such as MindGenius? Do you wonder how it can benefit someone with dyslexia or ADHD? Do you want to see it first before you buy but want some guidance from an expert? Maybe you need help with study skills and revision and are looking for the right tool for you?

iansyst, the UK education distributor for MindGenius, offer the chance to get some hands on experience of some of the software and hardware available for people with dyslexia and other disabilities, including mind mapping with MindGenius.


Our next preview day held at our offices in Cambridge is:
  • Monday 25th October (half-term).

  • Contact us for November dates.

  • Pre-booked morning and afternoon sessions with Assistive Technology Specialist are available.

  • Preview days are free of charge.

  • Please let us know when booking which type of Assistive Technology you are interested in seeing, so that we can endeavour to make it available.

For further information, visit http://www.dyslexic.com/.


Hints and Tips – Map Layouts

This month we looked at how organizational charts can be created in MindGenius to show an organizations hierarchy or the types of people in an organization and their relationships. This is done via an organogram. However, there are other layouts in MindGenius, each suitable for a different process and this month's Hints and Tips will focus on how and why these might be applied.

Fig, 1 Map Layouts
Please click on image for full screen view.


To select a different layout for your map, go to the Format ribbon and select map layouts. You will then see a selection of visual representations of how your map will look. Change your map layout by clicking on the one you want to use.

Additional layouts can be found under "More layouts."
Map Layouts
Here’s a description of the main map layouts in MindGenius and what they can be used for:
Map Diagram - Traditional mind mapping format which is ideal for brainstorming sessions, traditional mind maps, initial thinking or exploratory work, developing and structuring your thoughts, making them visible and communicating them to others.
Output Tree – the one most commonly used in the MindGenius offices, for readability, use of white space, and acceptability to other users not familiar with mapping techniques. This acceptability comes from the way the Output Tree is read i.e. left to right and top down, falls naturally into the way that people normally read. Ideal for presentations, task and project management.
Input Tree – problem solving, Ishikawa diagrams, Cause & Effect associations, Fishbone diagrams

Outline
– for preparing reports, document outlining, thesis.

Affinity – organization of brainstorming ideas, (can be created automatically using the Analysis – create category map feature)


Organogram
– organizational charts, relationship mapping, personality mapping