A mind map can be a powerful and effective, yet simple, tool businesses can use to help generate and visualize new ideas. You don’t need complicated or expensive hardware or software to create mind maps. If you have a whiteboard, or even a blank piece of paper, you can start to take advantage of mind mapping today. Mind mapping can be used for note taking, problem solving, individual or group brainstorming, planning and research, and as a more effective way to present even highly-complex information.
Here are a few handy tools you can use to incorporate mind mapping into your business process.
One of the most basic tools you can use for mind mapping is a whiteboard. If you have a whiteboard and markers, and possibly some sticky notes (depending on what you’re trying to accomplish), you can start brainstorming individually or with your team to generate new business ideas. When you’re done with the process, take a picture of the whiteboard with a camera and upload it to a shared drive on your business’s network. Give your team members access to the picture so the mind map can be referred to at any time. This is a great way to brainstorm, particularly in meetings.
Our personal favorite, of course, Mindjet is a complete software suite that can be used for a variety of tasks, including mind mapping. In addition to brainstorming, Mindjet can be used for meeting management, project planning, and team project management. The software can be used across a variety of departments including marketing, sales, human resources, information technology, and even professional services — here at HQ, we use it across the entire organization. Mindjet is compatible with a variety of third-party applications including Microsoft Office, and can be purchased on either an individual or enterprise plan. Check it out here.
3. Biggerplate Mind Map Library
If you’re looking for a template to get your mind map started, check out Biggerplate’s Mind Map Library. In this extensive map collection, you’ll find templates you can use for virtually any setting, including business mind maps, education mind maps, and general mind maps you can use in your everyday life. Templates featured on Biggerplate include SWOT analysis (strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats), time management matrix, managing projects, and manger objectives. If you’re having a hard time getting a mind map started, the templates can give you a good idea of how the process works — and how useful it can be. Be sure to check out Biggerplate’s top 10 mind maps to see what templates other professionals find useful.
4. Maps For That!
If you’re looking to share the mind maps you’ve created using Mindjet, or want to browse mind maps submitted by other users, check out Maps For That. This extensive gallery of features user-submitted mind maps in a variety of categories, including business, education, entertainment, events, and productivity, just to name a few. If you’ve created a mind map you think other professionals may find useful, upload it to Maps For That so other users of the service can check it out. After you sign up for a free account, you can download and upload maps, comment on other users’ maps, and rate maps you find the most useful. If you share a mind map with the Maps For That community, you’ll also have the opportunity to receive valuable feedback from other members.
5. Mobile Apps
If your business uses smartphones or tablets as a way to communicate or work on projects, check out the mobile apps available from Mindjet. These apps let you create, edit, and view mind maps while you’re on the go or away from your computer. Available for the iPhone, iPad, and Android devices, these mobile apps can be downloaded free of charge directly to your smartphone or tablet. Visit the App Store on your iOS device or Google Play if you own an Android. Mindjet also offers Mindjet Tasks for the iPhone so you can manage your workflow, create plans, and hold everyone accountable for their work when you’re out of the office.
If you haven’t started using mind mapping as a tool for your business, you’re missing out. Mind mapping can be used to create new business ideas, solve complex problems, and brainstorm with other team members — whether you’re in the office or on the go. Check out the mind mapping software offered by Mindjet and upgrade your brainstorming process to a whole new level.
Brian Flax is a freelance writer based out of the Washington, D.C., area. He is experienced in a variety of topics including education, technology, and business management. Follow Brian on Twitter @BrianFlax.