Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
Stop & Stare offers outplacement services (for individuals or companies involved in redundancy processes), restructuring programmes (which help companies return to "business as usual" after periods of change), and a Peak Performance Programme (which helps companies raise their game).
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I felt it would be slightly silly/rude/ignorant to make no mention of yesterdays historic inauguration of Barack Obama in the USA considering how many American members we have at Biggerplate!
One would imagine that only the most cynical and/or jaded individual would fail to sense the significance of the moment, and I for one found myself feeling particularly fortunate to have witnessed such an important event.
I hope America, and the world at large will hold onto the optimism that this event has generated, whilst being patient in the months and years to come. Rome of course, was not built in a day. But having watched Obama take the podium yesterday as President, and considering the words of Martin Luther King all those years ago, it seemed to me to demonstrate that optimism, hard work, and self-belief will prevail over time, and I guess that is an encouraging message for all of us in our respective endeavours.
I say good luck to the man and the country!
(If you feel you need a map element to this post, check out Chance Brown's Obama Map and his Blog Posts)
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I had not previously considered MindManager as a creative writing tool, probably because my experience of the programme started at university (where I used it for analytical essay writing) and then moved into a business and project planning tool (for the creation of Biggerplate). Despite the amount of creative thought gathering, brainstorming, idea development etc I had done with the software, it never really occurred to me that people could be using it to assist them in writing novels.
A short sequence of events over the last week or so has very quickly made me realise I was missing something quite significant!!
First of all, Dermot McCabe emailed us to ask for a Writing Category to be added to the Biggerplate library. Sure that we had already originally included it, I was surprised to discover such a glaring omission from our map categories. We immediately added the category, and Dermot immediately uploaded a number of very interesting maps onto the site that help people with things like Punctuation, Conjunctions, Phrases etc, all of which can be viewed at Biggerplate.com, and also on Dermot's site http://www.turoe.ie/
Shortly after, as I looked at the analytics for our site, I noticed a little spike of traffic coming from a site called Juiced on Writing, where I discovered a number of map examples from Michelle who was writing an article on "How to use MindMapping to Prepare for a Novel". I thoroughly recomend taking a look at this post, if only to learn about the concept of a "Pod Novel", the one you write before your proper novel, which you know you will hide under the bed or in a drawer forever!
Less than a day after this discovery, Tom Evans then kindly uploaded his map (with my favourite map title so far) "Voiding Karma" which he uses to help writers deal with creative blocks. Tom's site The Bookwright is all about unleashing the book inside you, and there are a great many tips to help you along, whether you are trying to get off the blank page, or trying to finish your masterpiece!
All in all, these three people/sites really made me think about what a useful tool mapping must be for those trying to write creatively. Personally, I have never really felt I have a book inside me, I can barely make it through most books (as any of my friends or school teachers will testify) let alone dedicate the time and effort to writing one! But as soon as I started to read these posts/websites, and exploring the maps, it became extremely clear to me how useful maps must be for this process; the gathering of thoughts, the organisation of structure, the gathering of research, and the explorative nature of the map format. All serve to greatly enhance the imaginative process, whilst continuing to hold it all together in a usable structure that can be developed into the final product: Your Epic!
Anyone else writing books with maps?!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Take a look at what Michelle has written here at Juiced On Writing
Using the Setting Smarter Goals and Objectives map from Michael Deutch and then Eric Blues Goals MindMap, (hosted on Biggerplate and also on his own site) Michelle has mapped out what she hopes and plans to achieve in 2009.
I have also used MindManager to plan the year ahead for the last couple of years, and it made me realise that I need to put my year organiser onto Biggerplate to show how I use it. I just need to remove all mentions of world domination etc before I do so, otherwise people might get concerned.
Watch this space though, I will soon throw my 2009 planning map onto the site, and I would encourage you to do the same if you have used maps to plan what you hope and plan to do in 2009!
Friday, January 9, 2009
This topic has been covered ad-nauseam in many other areas, so I do not intend to go into a particularly protracted rant here, especially as the majority of people reading this will undoubtedly be mapping people who know only too well the usefulness of the tools! Suffice to say I have been working in recent weeks with a group that has has embraced mapping like the child they never had, and whilst working with this group, I encountered another group that dismissed mapping like a child they wish they'd never had.
I think I wrote once before about the image of "visual mappers" being the nutters in the corner with crayons whilst everyone else gets on with the real work (excel, word, powerpoint, snore...) but surely by now the majority of people have come around to the idea that there is more than one way to think and approach tasks, information and projects?! I was astounded by the approach of one individual whose observation was simply "it all looks pretty but who would actually use this stuff in reality?" A quick diversion to Biggerplate.com and the numerous mapping blogs and forums quickly put that discussion to rest.
And yet the problem does persist; people who do not want to deviate from their known set of work tools rarely want to know or believe that mapping can have a place in business, even when you highlight and demonstrate some of the fantastic new stuff that MindManager 8 can do for example (more on that at a later date).
My solution/suggestion is not massively original and is of course heavily influenced by my personal ambitions with Biggerplate, but it seems to me that if mapping advocates wish to demonstrate the many different ways in which a map-based approach might be utilised in business, we need to be able to showcase the huge variety of contexts in which maps are actually being utilised in business across the world. I believe Biggerplate can obviously play a part here if all "mapping advocates" truly throw their hat into the ring by contributing maps to our site.
My personal ambition for Biggerplate is for the site to host a million MindManager maps, and with the number of users that exist in the world, that is not an un-realistic target, even if it seems a long way off. But it seems that in many cases size does matter, and in this case, so does diversity. A huge library of maps covering all manner of business topics seems to be a good first step in demonstrating the adaptability and usefulness of mapping in business.
With that volume of content, from such a wide range of people and business arenas, only the most neanderthal of business people would fail to take notice of maps in business.
If they are still not impressed, go write the number 1 million on the wall in crayons, that should get their attenion.
All the best
Saturday, January 3, 2009
Within this blog, I hope to talk about a wide range of topics, broadly focusing on entrepreneurship, interesting projects and people, and of course Biggerplate, MindManager and visual Mapping in general. Through speaking with Biggerplate members, I know there are a number of great ideas and projects being worked on around the world, and I am therefore wary of focusing purely on mapping, as I would like this to be an area where we can discuss what people are working on, regardless of whether it is immediately releted to visual mapping! My theory is that people who are using mapping as a way of working, and particularly those who are using MindManager and Biggerplate, will be forward-thinking people who will almost always have something interesting in the pipeline that may be of interest to others! I hope some of you may take the time to link up with this blog, and if you have something you'd like to tell people about or talk about via this channel, please feel free to get in touch with me.
I would like to wish all Biggerplate members, and anyone else who happens to read this blog a very happy and prosperous 2009!