In 1999, Amaox, which acts as a sort of virtual bridge for government, universities, and industry to develop better solutions to the bioterrorist threat, took the lead by establishing the Advanced Medical Countermeasures Consortium, including researchers from the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute for Chemical Defense, Harvard Medical School, University of Michigan, east Tennessee State university, Drexel University, Northern Ontario Medical School , Meharry Medical College, AFG Biosolutions, Inc., and Amaox.
The fledgling company initially was faced with what Dr. Smith calls "a Herculean task. The relationships between and among the members had to be clearly mapped out so that everyone in the consortium—and potential funding agencies—could clearly understand what we were trying to create and how we would organize the work," he said. "But the ideas were too complex to do all this with just words. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but if that’s true, then a visual map is worth 5,000 words."
The task of creating and managing a virtual team of researchers who were geographically scattered but who were working to address a specific medical challenge was made a lot easier and less time-consuming through the use of MindManager, which can best be described as software for brainstorming or idea-sharing. Drs. Stone and Smith use the software to capture and organize the group members’ ideas and information. "Each scientist has a different way to look at a problem, and we needed to gather that information," Dr. Smith explained. "Gaining a high-level view of the information is key to the process."
"Mind Manager has been an advantage for us, because it brought everything together on one sheet of paper," Dr. Smith said. "Being able to map out each idea, it allows us to see the relationships between and among things. We can take very complex concepts and components and see how the different factors involved integrate and affect each other."