Mind Mapping Software
Definition: Mind maps are brainstorming diagrams based on a central idea or image, typically used to aid in organisation, problem solving and decision making. Mind maps use a non-linear graphical form
that allows the user to build an intuitive framework around the central idea.
Mind Mapping applications are computer-based visualisation tools that allow
users to build mind maps as an aid to problem solving.
Reviews of MindMapping Software:
MindJet MindManager 8.0 for Windows |
ConceptDraw Mindmap |
Concept of Mind Mapping
The concept of mind maps developed from the idea that traditional linear note taking methods
stifle creative thought. By laying out ideas in a linear way (i.e., arranging concepts in a
structured method) our minds are limited to left-brain thinking (logical, ordered, detail
oriented). Mind mapping ostensibly encourages right-brain thinking (stream-of-consciousness,
symbolic, ‘big picture’ oriented).
While these ideas may seem unconnected to business, they are actually central to a range of
business management concepts that have developed in recent years – most notably, the concept
of ‘thinking outside the box’.
Decision making methods such as mind maps, it seems, can encourage the sort of creativity
necessary to see beyond the deeply ingrained methods of thought that have led to such things
as the linear production line. They allow enterprises to discover new ways to refine business
practices, and solve problems that previously seemed unsolvable.
Business Applications of Mind Mapping Software
While the concept of mind mapping can be applied to any situation that requires problem solving
and organisational skills, there are several areas in which the technique can be an invaluable
tool in business.
From day one a mind map can help lay out the initial strategy of an enterprise. While a
successful enterprise must be based on a good idea, it will only achieve success if the
management have a clear strategy for capitalising on that idea.
A mind map can be an excellent tool for developing the business plan of the enterprise, and
understanding the values upon which it will be based. Starting with a central vision (i.e., a ‘best case’
image of the enterprise three or more years down the line), a mind map can be used to outline the
methods by which that vision can be realised (i.e., strategies, programs and objectives).
New Product Development
Mind maps can also be invaluable in making sense of the hundreds of functions and processes
necessary to successfully develop a new product and bring it to market.
Every product begins with a central idea. Even before the physical product is envisioned
there is a basic concept – the product should do this, or make that easier. Using that idea
as the centre of a mind map, an enterprise can unlock the creativity of its designers and
allow them to work through the problem of achieving the central goal.
Manufacturing/Supply Chain Management
One of the largest problems facing an enterprise involved in the manufacture of goods is in
optimising the supply chain and manufacturing processes. While traditional linear thinking on
process optimisation may stifle creativity, the use of mind maps can offer decision makers the
opportunity to develop creative new methods – be it through finding new sources for materials,
streamlining the manufacturing process itself or brainstorming better distribution methods.
Finally, mind maps can be of great use in the development of marketing strategies. The
development of an effective marketing strategy depends greatly on the leverage of the assets of
the enterprise as well as market-led considerations. The use of a mind map to outline the way in
which the assets of a company are used to aid the marketing process can go a long way to creating
a successful marketing plan.
Advantages of Mind Mapping Software Solutions
While the process of creating mind maps can be done with nothing more than a piece of paper and a
few coloured pens, many enterprises prefer to make use of the many open source
Freemind and ViewYourMind) and proprietary mind
mapping applications available (such as MindJet and
Mind Genius). Moving beyond the
constraints of 2D mapping, many applications offer the feature of 3 dimensional intuitive mind
maps that allow decision-makers to create more understandable visualisations.
In addition to the obvious graphical benefits of computer-based applications, mind mapping
software offers enterprises the chance to make mind mapping a collaborative effort, sharing
their mind maps with the members of a work group to take advantage of the knowledge and ideas
held within that group.
Free Mind Mapping Programs
The following mind mapping programs were all opensource or freeware and
available for free download at the time of compiling this list:
2 | 3 |
Our recommended free download: