Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Mind Maps in Action: Mapping for Writers

In this 'Mind Maps in Action' story, we talk to author Tom Evans about his use of mind maps in his own writing work, and the potential benefits for other writers.

Could you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
I am an author, writer’s unblocker and the creator of Living Timefully, a time management programme with mindfulness at its core.

How were you first introduced to mind maps? 
I went on a course run by Andrew Wilcox on Mind Manager and got hooked. I was drawn though to the progenitor of Mind Mapping, Tony Buzan, and trained as an iMindmap Instructor.

What do you perceive to be the greatest benefit of their use?
I like them because they get both hemispheres of the brain working on the same task at the same time - i.e. Whole Brain Thinking. The analogy I give in my talks is this.

The left brain says, “Aha, a map! I do the navigation around here, leave this to me.”

Then, seeing that the left brain is busy, the right then sneaks under its radar and is allowed to do what it does best by seeing the whole vision.

What role do mind maps play in your life and work now?
Every creative task I do starts with a Mind Map. I map out any talk or workshop I am working on. My personal and business goals are all mapped visually. Perhaps a little geeky, but bigger shopping lists and DIY tasks get mapped too!

What do you think are the best uses of mind maps for writers, and why?
I use them for all aspects of the life cycle of a book writing project. Initially, I will map out my goals for the book and an outline of the marketing plan. I also map the profile and demographics for my ideal target readers.

Next I map out all the themes and ideas I want to explore in the book. This is free form and often this is hyperlinked to research. Then I create a storyboard with the reader in mind. This is the journey I will take the reader on and it works equally well for fiction and non-fiction.
Then when the book is finished, I use a Mind Map to list all my tasks to get the book into publication and out to the market. Each task gets a nice tick when I’ve completed it so I have the whole plan captured in one image.

What is your proudest achievement that has been enabled or assisted by mapping?
I was stuck when writing a chapter of a new book so I did a free association Mind Map based on some key words. I documented the process in more detail in this blog :


As a result of that map, I ended up writing two spin off books that I hadn’t planned and creating a whole portfolio of online personal development tools that I didn’t plan to create. That one map has led to a whole business model, which means nowadays my income is mainly created from online revenues. Thank you Tony Buzan as this leaves me free to write and create even more.

Would you like to add anything else?
Yes, I recorded a visualisation that takes any Mind Map and embeds it in the visual cortex at the back of our brains. This makes it easier to remember and helps us spot information and serendipities associated with the map.

It’s available by clicking here.

A huge thank you to Tom for sharing his experiences with us! Find out more about Tom Evans, his books, online courses and trainings by clicking here. You can also follow Tom on Twitter.

If you have a mind maps in action story you'd like to share, we'd love to hear from you! Get in touch via Twitter, or by commenting below.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Now Open: Annual Mind Map Survey 2014!

Can you believe we're nearing the end of the year? Neither can we, but it does mean the exciting return of our Global Mind Map Survey, which is now live, and waiting for YOU to share your experiences, feedback, and innovation ideas for mind mapping!

> TAKE THE SURVEY NOW

Last year's survey was completed by over 700 mind mappers from more than 60 different countries! The results were published in our Annual Mind Map Report 2014, which contained a wealth of information and insights into the current state of the mind mapping world, and key insights into how people are using mind mapping in their working and personal lives.

Once again, we're looking to the global mind map community to participate in building a comprehensive snapshot of our industry, by participating in this short but important questionnaire. There's also a chance to vote for your favourite mind mapping software (won last year by MindManager), and the most innovative organisation in the mind mapping world (won last year by Biggerplate.com!)

As a final incentive; upon completing the survey, you will also be entered into a prize draw to win £200 (or currency equivalent) of Amazon.com vouchers in time for Christmas!

> Participate in the Global Mind Map Survey 2014

We thank you in advance for supporting this important project, and helping the mind mapping world to become better informed, better connected, and (most importantly)... more innovative in 2015!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Biggerplate2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mind Maps in Action: Teaching Students the Art of Mapping

In this "Mind Maps in Action" article, we talk to teacher and mind mapping advocate Daniel Weinstein about his experiences of teaching students the art of mind mapping.

Could you tell us a little about yourself and what you do?
My name is Daniel Weinstein. I teach English 11, AP Language, and Creative Writing at Great Neck South High School on Long Island. I love to share my ideas for teaching creativity - through my book, my website, and my personal appearances. In the end of Nov. I am doing a presentation on "Mind Maps and Other Language Art" at the National Council of English Teachers national conference in Washington DC. It's my second year in a row doing a presentation on mind maps in education!

When and how were you first introduced to mind maps?
I was first introduced to mind maps in the summer of 2001. I was taking classes at "The Leadership Academy" at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts - this program is designed to get teachers accredited to become administrators. I noticed a woman next to me kept taking notes in class using magic markers, creating webs. I was fascinated. Her name was Anne and she taught me the basics and suggested I buy Tony Buzan's books. I started to borrow her markers and make my own mind maps for class notes and I immediately was transformed: I was taking better notes! I was re-reading my notes again and again. I was adding drawings and new ideas to my notes all the time. I've always been a mediocre student, but the combination of magic markers and mind-mapping unlocked a superior student in me. I promised myself that I would teach every student I ever have about this amazing art form - and I have!

How do you now use mind maps in your personal and professional life?
The greatest benefit of mind-mapping is that it can be used by any student for almost any reason. I've seen everyone from the Harvard-bound to the Learning disabled to the English-As-A-Second-Language student enjoy mind mapping and access it's therapeutic and educational benefits. It is so amazing how flexible it is, too. I use it to plan lessons, distribute notes, and brainstorm ideas with a class. My students use it for a plethora of reasons: organizing notes, planning an essay, brainstorming goals, reflecting on memories, dissecting literature, and so much more.

How do your students tend to respond when introduced to mind maps for the first time?
I first taught mind-mapping twelve years ago, and it immediately took hold with my students. Through Facebook, I'm still in contact with many of those kids and they STILL acknowledge that mind mapping was a vital tool they learned, used through college, and employ in their careers. During these dozen years I have taught mind-mapping to EVERY student who has come through my classroom, regardless of the course title. I'd say 99% have had a positive experience with it and found it to be a unique and valuable educational experience with it.

Do you think there is scope for greater adoption of mapping in the education sector and, if so, how can we encourage it?
I encourage every teacher I meet to utilize mind maps in their classroom. I have spread the word through my book (The Creativity Core) and website (www.thecreativitycore.com). I have presented my students' mind maps at several conferences and classes. Next week I'm doing a one-hour presentation for teachers in my district on Election Day (Superintendent's Conference Day). I feel compelled to encourage educators to use this amazing technique because I know it helps all students, inspires creativity, and turns even the dullest classes into an interesting experience. I think I would have been a better student throughout high school and college if I had known about the transformative powers of mind-mapping and taking colorful notes.
Visually engaging mind map notes, taken during a science class
Would you like to add anything else?
It is important to note that mind-mapping is one aspect of the bigger picture: teaching creativity. My workshop method is a product of studying with the National Writing Project and reading Nancy Atwell's seminal book, In The Middle -- these two influences showed me how to run a classroom so it is hands-on, enjoyable, and intensely educational. Integrating mind-mapping into the workshop is my special twist on this classroom method. My students write and create art (memoir, poetry, mind maps, and more) all year long, meeting the "goals & deadlines" I set for them. The experience culminates in a portfolio due in June. These portfolios are chock full of amazing "authentic" art, including 15-20 mind maps created by each student. 

This blog entry includes four short videos of students talking about their mind maps: http://www.thecreativitycore.com/the-blog

A huge thank you to Daniel for sharing his story with us! You can see a whole host of terrific hand-drawn mind maps by Daniel's students on his website, by clicking here. Do you have a "Mind Maps in Action" story you'd like to share with us? Get in touch by commenting below or via Twitter.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mind Maps in Action: Time Management

As we focus on Productivity this month at Biggerplate, we talk to Paul Klipp about his use of mapping as a time management and organisational tool.

1. Could you tell us a little about who you are and what you do?
I own a software company in Krak√≥w, Poland, as well as an event management company that organizes conferences and training. I also own a web-based project management company that produced kanbanery.com. I'm a frequent speaker at conferences, mostly on project management topics, but also on other topics that interest me. In my free time I run and read. I'm currently training for an ultra marathon. 

2. In a nuthshell, how do you manage your time and workload on a weekly basis?
I have big goals posted on the wall, like learn a language, buy a bigger house, own a horse, just to keep my long-term goals in mind when planning the short term stuff. I plan every week using a mind map with nodes for every important area of my life. Then I use personal kanban to focus on doing each week when I'd planned on Monday.

3. How were you introduced to mind mapping?
When I worked as director of a competitive intelligence group in South Africa, my mentor introduced me to mind mapping. He had been a student of Tony Buzan. 

4. How would you have previously managed your time, and what made you adopt mind mapping as one of your organisational tools?
I've tried everything, starting with lists, then evolving to value grids adopted from Steven Covey's first books, then through GTD and finally I developed my own system that is a mix of all of them.

5. What do you perceive to be the greatest benefits of mapping, both as a time management tool, and in general?
Mind mapping makes the big picture digestible. That's what I think makes it so useful. You can see relationships even as you're focussing on details. 

6. How do other people respond to your personal organisation technique and to your use of mind maps?
I've spoken about my technique in open spaces at conferences, and the response is overwhelmingly positive.

7. What could be done to encourage wider adoption of mind mapping?
It's just a tool. There are many good tools. I wouldn't advise anyone to use every good tool, but they are all worth trying. I'd love to see more published mind maps. They can be a great communication tool. If proponents of mind maps used them to disseminate their ideas more, their value would be more apparent to others.

8. Would you like to add anything else?
Perhaps only this, If you're using productivity tools because you're overwhelmed, you might also consider cutting back. The biggest problem is rarely not getting enough done; it'd doing things that don't bring you joy and fulfilment. If all you accomplish is doing more things that don't need to be done, you're not doing yourself any favours.

Thanks to Paul for sharing his experiences with us! Want to find out more? Why not follow Paul on Twitter?

Do you have an example of mind maps in action? Get in touch via Twitter or comment below!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Amazing line-up for Berlin mind map conference!

We're getting ever closer to the next Biggerplate Unplugged mind map conference, taking place in Berlin on 16 October, and which will soon be upon us faster than you can say "ich liebe Deutschland"!

The Berlin conference looks to be our most international gathering of mind mappers to date, with confirmed speakers and attendees coming from the UK, the Netherlands, Poland, France, Austria, and even South Africa! Not to mention a great selection of experts and mind map users from the local German community! It looks like a great gathering already, and with only a few weeks to go, we're delighted to confirm a fantastic line-up of speakers and sessions for the next #BPUN instalment!

Take a look at some of the names and faces that you can expect to hear from in Berlin, and then act fast to get your ticket for this exciting event!
> View event details

Confirmed for #BPUN Berlin:

Liam Hughes (Biggerplate)
Liam Hughes (Biggerplate) 
The Home of Mind Mapping?
Biggerplate founder Liam Hughes will outline how innovation and investment at Biggerplate.com is aimed at creating a genuine home for mind mapping online. Liam will discuss the challenges that come with trying to achieve this goal, and why we think this objective is essential for the overall success and adoption of mind mapping.
Jamie MacDonald (MindGenius)
Jamie MacDonald (MindGenius)
Details to follow...
Raphaela Brandner (MindMeister)
Raphaela Brandner (MindMeister)
Where do we go from here?
MindMeister's Marketing Manager, Raphaela talks about developments at MindMeister, and explores what the future may hold for online mind mapping, and how we can bring the mind map experience to the next level. 
Lucas Calabro (Mindjet)
Lucas Calabro (Mindjet)
Difference between Mind Mapping, and Business Mapping
Mindjet's international presales consultant will show a variety of innovative use cases for mind mapping in business applications. From first idea visualisation up to a professional project management tool, Lucas will give examples for Business mapping in complex processes, and demonstrate ways of combining existing enterprise structures with new and best practices.
 Christian Foltin
Christian Foltin (Freemind) 
Open source mind mapping: The goals of Freemind
In this presentation, Christian will outline both the history and future of Freemind as an open source mind mapping tool, and discuss the key goals and challenges facing an open source project of this type. Featuring use cases, and a discussion of the Open Source limitations, Christian will provide an invaluable insight into the fascinating world of open source mind mapping. 
 Marion Lercher
Marion Lercher (Lerchertrain) 
MindCooking - A visual approach to cooking!
In this pre-lunch session, Marion will show how easy cooking can be when recipes are written in the form of a mind map! Taking the traditional recipe approach and turning it into a mind map, Marion will show how MindCooking can be used to easily prepare classic recipes!
 Wojciech Korsak

Wojciech Korsak (Explorer Consulting)

Details to follow...
 Jeroen Grit

Jeroen Grit (GriDD Consultancy)
Managing stakeholder input using mind maps
In this presentation, user experience expert Jeroen will present a method for translating ideas to tangible requirements within a mind map, based on his own experience of managing large internet projects in multinational companies with numerous stakeholders and inputs. Jeroen will show how mind maps help to keep information in context, whilst providing both detail and big picture viewpoints. 
Faizel Mohidin
The evolution of Using Mind Maps Magazine
How changes in social, technological, and economic forces are influencing people's behaviour online, making it possible to reach and teach everyone, even in the remotest and poorest areas. This presentation will focus on the Mobile Revolution and how you can take advantage of this. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mind Maps in Action: "Mind map addict" - using maps for just about everything!

In this edition of our 'Mind Maps in Action' series, we talk to Maneesh Dutt about his journey to becoming a mind map addict; using maps for any and everything!

1. Could you tell us a little about who you are and what you do?
I am a freelance trainer & consultant on the subjects of Creativity, Innovation & Project Management. I am running my own venture Inlighten Consultancy with a mission to Enable Ideas, Innovation & Individuals in organisations & institutes. I rely heavily on Mind Mapping for all my assignments. I am working on two axises of spreading mind mapping to school/college students and of course to the corporates. In fact Mind Maps has been
the single most important reason for me to quit my regular job & work dedicatedly on the subjects of my interest using Mind Maps all along.  Though based out of India I am eager to spread my workshops beyond the boundaries of my country.

2. When and how were you first introduced to mind mapping?
Around 4 yrs ago purely by accident I stumbled upon a book on "Mind Mapping" by Mr. Tony Buzan which changed  the direction of my life forever. I started experimenting with Mind Maps with very encouraging results and finally decided to pursue the Thinbuzan Licensed Accredition to become an certified trainer on Mind Maps and more importantly got the lifetime opportunity to learn about Mind Maps from the inventor himself.

3. How do you utilise mapping in your day to day life, now?
I am a mind map addict ! I have mind maps on my refrigerator,my cupboard, my kids library, my wash room mirror, my phone, my laptop, my study table & have multiple scrap books solely for mind mapping.The range of application I use mindmaps is multiple and include weekly planning, workshop designing, article writings, notes taking, teaching my kids, problem solving etc etc.. 

4. What do you think are the greatest benefits of doing so?
There are multiple advantages of using Mind Maps however the greatest benefit  of Mind mapping, as per me, is that it gets you engaged in the subject on hand as a result of which you are able to achieve results almost effortlessely and much more that your expectations.
Few additional benefits include:
  • Enhanced creativity while solving problems using Mind Maps.
  • Greater sense of control while using Mind Maps for planning related activities thus allowing for better management of the event/project on hand.
  • Allows for focus on the big picture while writing an article.
  • Helps to listen better while using Mind Maps while taking notes.

5. What's your best example of a mind map providing some kind of breakthrough where other methods had failed?
I was having a tough time taking a decision about quitting my organisation and start my own venture when I decided to use a mind map to help me decide. What followed was an frentic but inspired 15-20 minutes exercise of putting the pro's & con's of either path and at the end of the mind map I had absolute clarity about the direction that I wanted to take: which was to start my own venture focused around Mind Maps. This was wonderful breakthrough and a life changing mind map for me.
Mind Maps for Enhancing Creativity in Projects

6. How would you encourage others to start mapping?
The proof is in eating the pudding hence would suggest to everyone to start experimenting with Mind Maps and discover its potential on your own. Looking at Mind Mapping success stories from around the globe can inspire you further to make the shift to Mind Maps based thinking as against the conventional thinking which our education system has handed over the years to us.

7. Would you like to add anything else?
In today's complex environment Mind Mapping is no longer an optional but a mandatory thinking tool to be adopted by everyone on this planet.It is equally important for school children and employees of organisation to start adopting this methodology for enhacing both their effectiveness and efficiency. Websites like Biggerplate.com are a wonderful inspiration for people who are new to mind mapping and I urge them to have a look at some of the wonderful maps available on this website under the topic of their interest.

Thanks to Maneesh for sharing his experiences with us! You can see more maps from Maneesh on his Biggerplate profile by clicking here.

Do you have an example of mind maps in action? Let us know! Feel free to get in touch via Twitter or by commenting below.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Theme for September: Mind Mapping at School!

This month at Biggerplate, we're launching the start of a new initiative that will see us focus on a particular subject theme each month on the website! As pupils around the world return to school this month, our theme and focus for September will be mind mapping in schools! 

We think that choosing a theme each month will help us to better show how mind mapping is being used in different contexts around the world, by gathering maps, case studies, and conversations around the theme. Every month, we hope to encourage people to share mind maps related to the theme, and also join in the online conversations about how/where mind mapping fits with the theme! 

We launch this new initiative with a focus on mind mapping in schools, and hope as many people as possible will share their maps, and perspectives as we seek to better understand how teachers and pupils can use mind mapping to improve their working and learning. If you're a teacher, or indeed a school pupil using mind maps, we'd love to hear from you! 

There's lots planned for the new monthly theme, and we look forward to exploring this, and future topics with you all over the course of the month! 

Happy mapping!