Tuesday, 18 March 2014

“Mind Mapping …for business...are you serious?”

Time and time again we get asked and challenged on an age-old issue of whether or not mind mapping is , at worst, just another fad, a ”nice to have” or, at best, a real value-adding benefit that has a serious place within a business or organisation.

Since the launch of MindGenius many years ago, we have been privileged to have hundreds of thousands of customers investing in MindGenius for a variety of reasons…

  • exponents of the original mind mapping technique as an aid to capturing, visualizing ideas and knowledge to aid understanding, retention and recall
  • people in the area of education (educators, teachers, students, etc.) looking for software to help them consolidate the above technique in a teaching / learning environment
  • business people in wide and varied disciplines with a requirement for more efficient and visual ways of capturing information, knowledge and data to aid focus and clarity on moving from ideas to action quicker and more productively
  • senior managers, directors and business owners, with specific requirements around high-level strategic thinking, planning and “dashboard”-type approaches to capture, visualize, monitor and manage plans, priorities, objectives, projects, etc.
  • Project managers and others involved in project work requiring intuitive, visual and tracking methodologies and tools to make the planning, scheduling and monitor and control stage of managing projects more visible, collaborative and, of course, productive and efficient.

For me, one of the interesting outcomes of interacting with many of these customers is a realisation that mind mapping holds different meaning, pre-conception and, dare I say, misconceptions - particularly in the business world. 

Whilst mind mapping is generally recognised as a technique or a methodology to aid thinking and understanding (or variations on that theme) there is a “disconnect” between mind mapping as a basic concept and the actual application of a “way of working” that it most definitely has evolved into over recent years. 

Although admittedly improving, there is nevertheless a lack of appreciation throughout the business world that mind mapping has moved on dramatically and has admirably kept pace with this modern technology-savvy world – MindGenius as the perfect example of how we have actually built and dramatically improved a very valid and creative methodology and enabled it to be applied intuitively and easily in a whole plethora of personal, business and education environments.

The answer to how mind mapping can be applied and, more importantly, add value in business varies depending on the context, but is centred on some of the following business tenets:

Does lack of focus and clarity on some of the following get in the way of efficiency, productivity or performance?
  • Discussions at meetings or brainstorming sessions
  • Clear understanding of outcomes and requirements at planning meetings
  • Monitoring and managing tasks and activities in the most efficient way
  • Thinking things through thoroughly when planning strategies, objectives and projects
  • Planning, scheduling and managing projects better
  • Preparing documents, reports and presentations

In terms of addressing the business “value-add” question, the key issues emerging here are:
  • Do any of the above aspects of business performance apply to you?
  • Is there even the slightest opportunity or room for improvement in any aspect?
  • Could better focus and clarity improve performance in any aspect?
  • Are there others in your team, department or organisation to whom this could also apply?

To address the title of this document, I am seriously suggesting that business mind mapping software “has arrived” and does add real value in a business context – MindGenius has been specifically designed to meet business needs and this understanding comes across in every single functionality, all included to augment and improve common business processes, from gathering ideas to managing objectives, tasks and projects.

But, it’s not just about creating mind maps per-se, it’s about..
  • using a creative, engaging and visual methodology to think through, capture, visualise and structure knowledge, ideas, plans, projects, etc.; 
  • using the methodology to simplify and enable better prioritisation and decision-making;
  • quick and effortless output to documents, presentations, project plans/schedules and reports

…all of this resulting in savings of time and effort, improved productivity and increased focus and clarity at every stage. 
I suspect, there can’t be many individuals, teams or whole organisations who would not accept that there is real bottom-line value to be gained for improving performance in these key aspects of everyday work.

Do you need to put pre-conceptions, or even the slightest misconceptions, about mind mapping to one side?

Do you need to take a fresh look at mind mapping, in particular business mind mapping software? Even as a MindGenius user, are you getting the best out of MindGenius?

At MindGenius we have the experience and the expertise to show you how the leading business mind mapping software can help provide better focus and clarity on all the above aspects of business performance (and more!) and ergo increase productivity and efficiency across the board.

If you want to know how, or just want to find out more, simply contact your Account Manager, email us at info@mindgenius.com or visit www.mindgenius.com for all the information on MindGenius, its uses, applications and benefits.

Author Bio: Jamie MacDonald, Head of Client Development at MindGenius. Jamie is a highly experienced trainer, facilitator and coach with over 20 years’ experience in training, development, HRM and business improvement.

How to... use Categories

What are Categories?

Categories can be applied to map branches.  Categories can have an associated icon. Icons are used to easily and quickly differentiate between different categories.

Categories allow you to visually group or track branches at a glance and quickly analyse and understand the mapped information. Once Categories have been assigned you can sort and filter the map based on these categories.

Categories can be applied for many purposes; helping get clarity on ideas captured during a brainstorm session, reviewing documentation, identifying priorities / severities / risk, to indicate project status, to reach and indicate decisions, etc.

Combined with the analysis tools at your disposal for filtering and viewing your data, Categories bring a whole new dimension to your business mapping.

Where will I find Categories?

Categories are contained in the “Categories" part of the Analyze Ribbon.

How best can I use Categories?

MindGenius Category Gallery contains pre-installed Category Sets (e.g. Brainstorming grouping; Impact Analysis; Decision making, Performance review, Risk….and more….

Choose “More Categories” within the Gallery to reveal available Category Sets and to be able to add any to the Gallery.

Assign Categories to a map by selecting a Branch or Branches and simply click on the Category Icon you want to assign. This places the Category icon on to the selected Branch.

The Category Dropper tool allows you to “pick up” any Category and assign them quickly to map Branches.

You can create your own Categories or rename the pre-installed MindGenius sets.

Filtering your Map helps you to gain clarity by highlighting Branches that match criteria you set or hiding those that don’t.
Analyze and view only the relevant information. 
Quick filter – one-click filtering of currently used categories.
Hide non-matching branches.

Category Map - provides an alternative view of your information – automatically creates an affinity diagram based on the applied map Categories – a different perspective and leading to more informed decision-making.  

Data Sort – Sort and organize the map branches by: Due Date, Priority, Status..etc…

What are the benefits of using Categories?

  • Apply to visually group  and / or filter mapped information
  • Provides clarity on mapped information
  • Visual representation of many factors
  • Helps with prioritisation and decision-making
  • Saves time in interpreting information

Did you know...MindGenius integrates with MS Outlook.

The MindGenius integration with MS Outlook...

  • Branches can have their task properties synchronised between MindGenius and MS Outlook
  • Map your Actions / Tasks (the “What”)
  • Use task scheduling to schedule due dates (the “When”)
  • Direct distribution of Actions / Tasks to MS Outlook
  • “Send selection” distribution sends email notification to task owner(s)
  • Synchronise with MS Outlook for live Task progress updates (manual or automated)
  • Two-way synchronisation updates Task Status and % complete
  • Icons indicate branches in-synch and task progress status
  • Improves task management and the way meetings are performed and managed

Where can I find this function?

Tasks are sent to MS Outlook via the Outlook Tasks menu on the Tasks ribbon.

Go to the Tasks Ribbon.
Select one or more branches to send to MS Outlook as tasks.
Click Outlook Tasks to open the Outlook Tasks menu, select “Send Selection to Outlook as tasks”.

Take a Bite out of MindGenius...

Continuing our series of bite-sized courses – MindGenius for Project Scheduling and Gantt.

MindGenius has an integral Project Mode / Gantt View which enables you to automatically create a Gantt Chart from your Project Plan maps.

This short but informative course show you how to schedule your Project effortlessly and intuitively within MindGenius.

Our short 30 minute online Training session, hosted by Head of Client Development Jamie MacDonald will take you through: using your project work breakdown structure (WBS) map to create a Gantt chart using the integral MindGenius Project Mode / Gantt View; assigning Resources, Dates and estimates of Duration; add Dependencies and Constraints; identify and allocate Project Milestones and Critical Path; identify possible under / over allocation of Resources.

Cost: £50 / €60 / $80 per attendee per session

This training session is scheduled for: Wednesday 9th April at 4pm BST / 11am EDT.

Book Now or Find Out More