The concept of mind mapping is hardly new! Study the work of historical Renaissance figures such as Leonardo daVinci and you will discover their versions of thought process and idea elaboration diagramming.
“Mind mapping” diagramming of processes are found among pre-historic Anasazi pictographs from the Southwestern United States, and in various media throughout the world!
There truly is nothing new under the Sun,
only different technologies applicable to time-worn tasks!
Many of us have created Venn diagrams and a variety of bubble diagrams to map out facts, ideas and solutions to challenges since our school days. Topological relationships, prioritization, “must” adjacencies (versus “desirable”, “neutral”, “avoid”, and “must not”) are easily modeled, as well as relative scale – whether of area, volume or importance (check out your “Tag Cloud”!). Three-dimensional relationships obviously require a bit more work – and vision.
My journals continue to “grow” such diagrams as ideas and solutions flower – with no limitations due to physical location, battery life – indoors and outdoors.
Computer mind mapping has great value. Elaboration and modification of diagrams is easily accomplished, and of course sharing with your peers or constituents is simple. I currently use the FreeMind program because it’s free, simple and my “first generation default” for computer use (see SourceForge.net’s wiki at http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page). Things can always become more complicated, but are much harder to simplify once you are locked into a program! There are an increasing number of software programs with varying degrees of complexity and of interface with other business programs. Chuck Frey discusses, reviews and links to many useful tools at his website, http://mindmapping.typepad.com/, and also provides many useful techniques to improve mind mapping benefits. Take a look at his site and work to help find the application that may best serve your needs.
Other programs are available for topological modeling, design and scientific analysis, and more. One size may not fit all, so definitely “mind map”, “diagram” – whatever you prefer to call it, but…
Don’t choose a bulldozer to till your Idea garden!