Those of you who belong to the time (like me) when MS DOS was around would probably still recall a screen like this :
And then one fine day its more vibrant version “WINDOWS”, which looked something like this took over ..
This was undoubtedly a giant leap which opened up windows and doors for even the very young and the senior citizens to tap the power of computers.
But when it comes to our brain or our thinking or doing process, do we ever worry about upgrading its Operating System? There is a habitual way in which many of us operate based on our default “Operating system”. Let’s say you need to prepare a presentation for an important meeting, you could start working slide by slide or at best make a rough content outline and then start populating it. You dive immediately into a linear thinking mode which unknowingly restricts your imagination and flow of thoughts.
On the other hand if you used the simple concept of Mind Mapping (simple visual technique using colors, images, icons..) first to capture your presentation ideas in a radiant hierarchy (from the centre moving out in all directions) you would end up tapping a higher potential of your brain. And consquently your presentation would be of a much better quality and you would be more confident while presenting it.
Using Mind Maps, thus, is akin to upgrading your brain’s operating system !
So what is a Mind Map? Mind Mapping is a simple technique being used by over 400 million people across the globe for a variety of applications. Mind Mapping has been proven to improve recall but in an organizational context probably there are two other fundamental benefits which outshine this. Mind Mapping helps
a) Make sense of large sets of complex information.
b) Enhance Collaboration and Brainstorming for generating creative ideas.
Now, day in day out , organisations are grappling with information and looking of new ideas which makes the perfect use case and opportunities for Mind Mapping. (For more details and examples on this you can also refer to my book “Unleashing Organizational Creativity for Business Excellence” )
Broadly Mind Mapping can be applied in a number of situations in an organization and no wonder Mind Mapping users (in surveys) have reported average productivity improvements of upto 20%-30%. A quick Mind Map identifying areas in an organisation which can gain from this technique is summarised in this Mind Map:
Lets, also, look at some specific use cases of Mind Mapping in organizations which can showcase the huge potential of this simple yet powerful technique and in the process can also trigger ideas in your mind for applying it:
a) Effective Induction Programs for new joinees : During an organization’s induction program there is a large amount of important information that needs to be shared with the new joinees, which can easily overwhelm the new comers. Instead the same information set can be , so to say, condensed into a Mind Map and presented faster with enhanced clarity.
b) Grooming Company Internal Trainers: Every organisation, large or small, has a band of internal trainers most of whom are subject matter experts but may not be an expert at conducting training programs. Again Mind Maps can come to rescue and can be easily used not only for preparing the training material but also during the training conduct.
c) Writing Technical/Academic Papers: An increasing number of employees across organization are writing papers for journals , conference etc. This is a win-win situation for both the employee and organization. However writing a paper is seen as a uphill task by many and hence discouraging many employees even when they have something interesting to share. Mind Maps again can be used to get over this fear of writing and help produce technical/academic papers faster and of even better quality. Those interested in learning about a simple three step process that I use for all my writing assignments (papers and books) can refer to my book “Whats stopping you from writing your book?”
d) Having Effective & Engaging meetings: When an employee is spending anything from 35% to 50% of their time in meetings, any small improvement in the effectiveness of the meetings can be a major gain for an organization as a whole. Before I became a freelance consultant & trainer this was probably the most used application of Mind Mapping by me in my last job. The way Mind Mapping technique is able to capture everyone’s attention in a meeting and helps extract unique ideas from all present is truly remarkable. If you have never conducted a meeting so far using Mind Maps then I encourage you to try at least once and witness the tremendous positive change in your meetings. Those interested in delving deeper into this may refer to my book “How to have Mind Blowing, Engaging & Energizing Meetings”. The book contains meetings templates which can be easily used by you for a variety of meeting situations.
e) For Managing Projects better : Executing projects requires creativity and collaboration. And interestingly both these aspects are the amongst the core benefits of Mind Mapping. Starting from getting the big picture right to the removing the bottlenecks from projects there are a number of ways Mind Maps can be applied in projects. Along the complete life cycle of a project there are a number of opportunities where Mind Mapping can add strong value from project definition to execution and closure. If you are interested in investigating this further you could refer to my book “Mind Maps for Effective Project Management” which includes access to ready to use templates from project start to end.
f) Feeling Overwhelmed? Try Mind Mapping: Many a times in managers in organisations are tensed and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of pending work. If you are passing through any such moment now try dumping all your pending work on a Mind Map. This immediately gives you three important benefits. One, of course, a catharsis effect of releasing a load from your brain. Two, when you see all the tasks together on a single page it gives a subtle message to the brain that this is definitely do-able. And three, it becomes much easier for you to prioritize your pending tasks. Try this now if you are in the midst of such situation and you would be surprised by the result. Also if you are interested in discovering more about how Mind Mapping combined with coloring can help release stress and even find life directions then you may enjoy my book “Live Life Colorfully”
Sometimes I find a reluctance in people to take up Mind Mapping since they view it primarily as a hand drawn technique. But this is far from the truth, there are an innumerable number of Mind Mapping software available and the basic version of many of these is free for use. You can check out some of the Mind Mapping software and additional resources by clicking here.
If you are already a Mind Mapper I would love to hear from you in the comments below the top one or two areas where you’ve applied Mind Maps.
For any further help in your Mind Mapping journey, simply write in by clicking here.