Expand mind mapping – competition result

Here at last are the results of the competition to come up with an idea for expanding the world of mind mapping.

John Taylor‘s map suggests:

  1. Provide more integration of mind mapping software with common business software
  2. Practitioners to use it visibly and extol it – empowers fluid thought
  3. Thought leaders to work together, to bring mind mapping in from the fringes
  4. Analyse the barriers: thought patterns; software cost; market limitations

Here is John’s map “Envision” (click for a full-sized view):

Chance Brown, author of the MindMapBlog.com submitted a map that gave an analysis of mind mapping’s visual impact on the understanding and management of information, as well as describing maps and defining the components.  This is a map that manages to be at the same time comprehensive and yet economically expressed.

Here is Chance’s map “Mindmapping can help you” (click for a full-sized view):

Paul Foreman, mindmapper-extraordinary and publisher of
mindmapinspiration.co.uk sent me a mind map bursting with ideas.  Let me list the ones that stood out for me:

  1. Distribution of a calendar with a mind map for each month.
  2. An annual competition involving mind maps (there’s already something like this that the Buzan Organization runs, but not sure if it’s annual).
  3. TV documentary or YouTube video series celebrating lives of achievers,
  4. Mentoring with mind maps,
  5. Exposure on breakfast cereal packets,  [lovely! but how? – Vic]
  6. Tell one mapper to tell five other non-mappers about the benefits and methods.

Here is Paul’s map “Exponential growth” (click for a full-sized view):

@mdalves proposed “What about Dr. Gregory House mind-mapping their brainstorms instead of writing boring lines of text? People would talk, ask about it, discuss in the forum, imitate him and start mind mapping on their own.”  Terrific leverage here, if it could be done.

Matthew Lang, who has a journal on mind mapping, visual thinking and ruby development suggests that mind mappers with their own sites and blogs should work together to spread the word.  His suggestion of how they should do this has four key elements:

  1. They contribute their favourite mind map to an e-book, with a description and their thoughts about benefits.
  2. This to be highlighted on each contributor’s web site.
  3. It would be promoted in all our emails and other forms of communication like Twitter, Pownce and other social networking sites.
  4. A very simple website should be setup where people can read about mind mapping and download the e-book.

Brian P. Donnelly of insilicodiscovery.com took a very different approach – folding the ideas behind the Semantic Web into mind mapping software.  This would be an amazingly useful capability if he can achieve it in his company’s software, which he offered to do.  Certainly, if mind mapping software becomes much more useful, and in different ways, its use will spread.  Keep us posted on progress Brian, I’m sure there are many who would be willing to try this out.  Brian’s software has a demo page.

Darina Stoyanova squeeked in with a last minute entry of a map made with iMindmap itself following the always-reliable Where? What? Who? Why? How? theme.  This analyzed potential areas to explore and gave a clear view of the potential and benefits of mind mapping.

Here is Darina’s map “Mind Mapping Exponential growth” (click for a full-sized view):


My own thoughts are that to achieve a real effect, mind mapping must be ‘normalized’ – be shown to be something that people do routinely.

I liked the suggestion very much from @mdalves that an example of mind mapping coming up on a TV program would have the greatest impact.  The leverage would come from mind mapping being seen as a part of popular culture and has the potential to be the approach that provides exponential growth. But … and it’s  big ‘but’, the barrier at present is that I don’t have the contacts in the industry to put it into effect and no one has volunteered any information on how communications might be opened.  Anyone in California have friends in the TV or movie industries?

I agree with one of the points on John’s mind map that software integration can be a barrier to some uses of mind maps.  That was the thinking behind a past project of Mind-mapping.org the assembly of an extensive reference source about the interoperability of mind mapping software (recently updated).


For the immediate practicality of his suggestion, and the detailed thought about the method that he put into it, Matthew Lang suggestion comes out on top, for me.  The results of this competition have shown that we can gather the community of bloggers and mind map commentators together, so I believe we can build this e-book, publicise it and promote it in a co-ordinated effort.  And perhaps we can roll a pdf calendar into that, using some of the same material, and bring one of Paul’s suggestions to life that way.

So I declare the winner of the competition to be Matthew Lang.  Let us hope that the winners overall turn out to be the people who could benefit from mind mapping if only they knew about it.  I shall notify the iMindmap people shortly, and Matthew should receive his iMindmap Ultimate licence soon afterwards.

Next Actions

I now need to do a mind map plan on how to put this into effect.  It’s a busy time of year, so it will probably take a week or so to set time aside for this.  Anyone who wants to volunteer to get involved, please drop me an email at vic {at} mind-mapping {dot} org.

Thanks for all those who contributed ideas or commented, and to those who linked to the original competition post, to help get the word out about this.


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Normalizing mind mapping

A few days ago, I blogged about my competition for suggestions to expand the population of mind mappers exponentially.  It’s time to give my thoughts, though I’m not an entrant in the competition.

We have to ‘normalize’ mind mapping; make it seem like something that people do as a matter of course.

When Tom Cruise controlled a computer screen by waving his hands in front of a computer-generated image in Minority Report it made a strong impact.  Many people remember that.  There was no such technology at the time, but with the iPhone, iPod Touch and MS Surface, the capability is coming closer.  I’ve seen news very recently of a working gesture-in-the-air interface though the display is not the floating-in-air style to match.  That movie scene changed how people thought about interacting with a computer.  But I mention that, not because I think we need spectacular technology, but because it stuck in the mind and has really changed things.

mdalves, in a comment on my original post wrote “What about Dr. Gregory House mind-mapping their brainstorms instead of writing boring lines of text?”.  This is an example of the approach that may give a way forward, in my view.  The TV program makers have to see something in it for them though – something to attract viewers’ attention, make them remember their show and watch again next week.  But first we would have to get the message out to them.  Ideas for that welcome!

The leverage will come from mind mapping being seen as a part of popular culture.  Oprah (well, the O magazine) had something about this, I saw here

Mindmap analyses of the Presidential Candidate debates may have some effect.  I wish I knew how many people watch at those.  Not mind mappers, people who have never seen mind mapping before.  What did they make of it?  Did you watch any?

Having mindmapping and concept mapping in an educational setting seems good at first sight.  It can’t do any harm, because we would expect students to appreciate it (if it fits their thinking style) and go on to use it in the adult world.  But that that’s where mind mapping (and concept mapping) were first introduced more than 30 years ago and it hasn’t proved to be enough.  Some students don’t like it, but are forced to hand in concept maps or mind maps as homework.  Others think it’s OK but see it as something to be left behind when they leave school or college.  Some take it on into adult life and never stop.

Let’s have your ideas – comment here, or on the original post, both count towards the competition for that free iMindMap Ultimate license. 

Vic Gee
The master list of mind mapping &
information management software


New mind mapping search engine

There are now two specialized search engines on concept mapping and mind mapping that draw on well-known sites with information about mind and concept mapping.  I’ve set this up with Google Co-op.

I’m focusing on sites with genuinely useful mind mapping and concept mapping content (avoiding the ad-laden gateway pages that some people have set up, just to draw clicks).

Tell me about sites you think should be added (vic at this domain).

Google puts ads on the web result, I don’t, but I shall contact them to see if mind-mapping.org counts as a non-profit, so I can get them to take the ads off.  I expect “non-profit” only applies to the Red Cross, Oxfam and the like though.



two specialized search engines on concept mapping and mind mapping


“Seminal articles” section added

There is a new division in the “Articles” section: Seminal papers in information mapping

This presents links to articles on concept mapping and other forms of information map by some of the leading authorities in the area: Joseph D. Novak, Alberto J. Cañas, John F. Sowa, Sigmar-Olaf Tergan and others. There is also the full text of one article.

Topics covered are:

  1. Underlying theory of Concept Maps
  2. Semantic networks
  3. Visual representation of knowledge
  4. An overview of concept mapping
  5. Concept maps and web research

I have more and will add them as time permits, because they contain a lot of very useful ideas, research and analysis.