Mind-Mapping Tool : Creativity in the 21st Century

An example of mind-mapping toolI’ve always been one that has had a hard time transferring thoughts to paper. It seems as though everything I have upstairs follows it’s very own indexing algorithm that my conscious knows nothing about. None the less, it’s been a battle to wrestle ideas onto paper that seem so plausible in my head, only to have them look so-so in a notebook. A possible answer to this problem is mind-mapping tools.

As Law Librarian Diane Murley defines it, mind mapping

[…] is one of several similar techniques developed by learning researchers in the 1960s. Mind maps are a nonlinear visual outline of complex information that can aid creativity, organization, productivity, and memory. Mind maps graphically show ideas in a relational context, with the main topic at the center of the map, major subtopics on branches radiating from the main topic, and sub-subtopics around each subtopic, etc.

Old School Mind-Mapping Tools

Take out a sheet of paper. Probably best to use the landscape orientation. Write down your main idea in the middle, and put a circle, square, rectangle, or whatever shape tickles your fancy. From there, branch out sub-topics. These sub-topics can be the three main points in an essay…or the five most important features a new product design must include. Anything. This is the kind of mind-mapping tool that is entirely subjective. So from there, it’s literally up to you. Be creative. Let your mind wander. This isn’t a final draft, so don’t be afraid to suck the marrow out of that sponge sitting in your dome. Use different colored pens, stencils, shapes, lines, or whatever else sounds tasty at the time. At the very least, if your idea behind the map turns into a turd, make sure it’s something you see as art. The end of using a mind-mapping tool should be rewarding, regardless of what comes out on paper.

Here’s a few to tantalize:

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New School Mind-Mapping Tool

If you’re like me, the whole pen-and-paper deal isn’t going to cut it. I need technology. Where are my web apps at!?

mind-mapping tool MindMeister

MindMeister touts four main features to their web app: ability to share and collaborate, history playback, access anywhere, and it’s easy-safe-secure.

Go mobile with this mind-mapping tool!

Access your mind-maps anywhere with mobile MindMeister!

I’ve looked at MindMeister as being sort of a personal mind mapping tool as opposed to an enterprise planning one. Though I’m sure their opportunity to monetize lay in ‘corporate brainstorming’, they’ve managed to keep an image about themselves that makes this an intimate experience. One of the coolest parts about that is this share and collaborate stuff. Lloyd and I are constantly trying to brainstorm topics for this blog, and with the help of MindMeister’s collaboration, we can do it a lot easier. We don’t need to be in our man cave every time we have brainstorming sessions.   Also, the history playback function comes in handy when you need to re-energize your creativity during some grueling mind mapping. Look back and regain the spark that brought you to the next point; only this time, go in a different direction.

Click here for some examples on MindMeister’s site. After that, get your mind-map on.