Learn to think visually – or else

August 27, 2008

[Extract from a Q&A Interview by Chuck Frey with Jamie Nast]

Jamie Nast, author of the popular book Idea Mapping and the Idea Mapping Success Blog, is one of the most world’s most prolific trainers and speakers on the topic of visual mapping. In this interview, she explains why it’s critical that executives learn to express their ideas visually, using hand-drawn idea maps and mind mapping software, and the risks of not doing so.

When I prepare for these Q&A interviews, I take great care to craft questions that will be informative to you, the reader, and which highlight the interviewee’s unique strengths and will draw out some interesting insights. When it all comes together, it’s a beautiful thing. This is one of those interviews, where Jamie took the questions I gave her and used them to hit a “home run!”

Chuck Frey: You conduct workshops on idea mapping on a regular basis. What are the most common misconceptions that attendees have about idea mapping?

Jamie Nast: I think there are several:

  • Idea Mapping is a right-brain skill.  No, idea mapping is a whole-brain skill that leverages the natural way the brain associates information.

Full Q & A Interview on Chuck Frey’s blog

Jamie is visiting the UK in October to conduct a 2 day Idea Mapping Workshop.  See you there?


Visual Mapping: a Systematic Framework …

August 18, 2008

… for Business Success

 

(Extract from an article on Mindjet’s website by By Arjen Ter Hoeve, Brian S. Friedlander, and Wallace Tait)

“Today’s businesses are driven by ideas, processes, and information more so than ever before. Take a good look at your company or organization: how are you capturing this important and crucial information? From our perspective, far too many organizations have simply failed to sufficiently develop systems that can clearly identify, track and monitor the “information economy” that resides within one’s own organization. There may be hundreds of documents scattered on network hard drives, but isn’t there a better way to manage these important processes? Ideas and information are the working capital of your company, shouldn’t we systematically access, control and update them?

The key to understanding the working capital of your organization requires that you understand the importance of the information economy, data banking and knowledge governance. Within our international consulting work, we realize the power of graphic frameworks for creating, managing, expressing and exchanging the essential information processes that make up corporate knowledge. And the genesis of effective visual mapping begins at a personal level with MindManager, a visual mapping software application, to help solve and communicate ideas more effectively and naturally.”

Full article available on Mindjet’s Website

Brian S. Friedlander (Assistive Technology) has organised a 2 day conference Intelligent Visual Mapping on 2 & 3 October 2008 in New Jersey, USA. 

Full details available


Thinking Visually to tackle business challenges

August 16, 2008

“A creative and innovative approach to problem solving”

London, September 30th 2008

“Statistical surveys have shown that design and visualisation have a verifiable impact on business performance. Visual articulation is important when solving a problem that involves strategic goals and initiatives. At its core, it helps bridge the problem or opportunity with the solution. That is why helping decision makers to think and express themselves visually gives organisations a competitive edge in the marketplace.”

More info via VizThink London website


Think Like a Genius … The Mind’s Eye …

August 14, 2008

I have recently read “Overcoming Information Overload” by Tina Konstant & Morris Taylor, which is part of the Instant Manager series from the Chartered Management Institute.

I particularly enjoyed the section on “Think Like a Genius“…

“Geniuses like Newton or Archimedes didn’t simply sit under trees or in a bush until they became enlightened.  They used some very powerful and practical tools to create order out of their thoughts and to find answers to problems that few people ever thought existed, let alone considered solving.

Some factors common to the world’s greatest thinkers:

– Idea generation is in pictures and images rather than words. 

– Einstein and da Vinci drew diagrams instead of writing words and sentences.

– Their thinking is unrestrained; nothing is rejected until it has been fully investigated.

– Ideas are explored using association.

– They fuel their imaginations with knowledge.

– They never give up”

Tools for generating genius thinking

Mapping  … it is worth talking about information mapping.  ‘Mind Mapping’ was formalised and labelled by Tony Buzan in the 1970s.  Great thinkers have used similar techniques for centuries.  Leonard da Vinci, Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, like other geniuses, represented their ideas through diagrams and ‘maps’.

You might know them as spider-graphs or thinking maps, but whatever you call them, they all have the same features:

– pictures instead of words

– links between relationships

– main concept in the middle, gradually becoming more detailed towards the end of branches

– single words or ideas per line

– colour”

The reference to da Vinci reminded me of some of the fantastic drawings and sketches that I saw many, many years ago in the National Gallery – until then, I hadn’t realised that he was an inventor (I was completely shocked that he had invented a flying machine that we’d recognise as a helicopter!), a sculptor, a mathematician, a botanist, an architect …

… I had thought he was an artist, famous for the Mona Lisa. 

The extent to which he had drawn images to represent thoughts and details really surprised me.  The picture below is a study of perpetual motion.

The V&A Museum has some excellent articles about his work on their website, including:-

The Mind’s Eye – The Measure of All Things

“For Leonardo, sight was the noblest and most certain sense. It provided access to “experience”, which shows us how nature works according to mathematical rules. Any knowledge that could not be certified by the eye was unreliable.

He investigated the relationship of the eye to the brain. He proposed a system in which visual information was transmitted to the intellect via the receptor of impressions and the “common sense”, an area where all sensory inputs were coordinated.”

 

I now realise that visual imagery is the best place for thinking things through … but it took me quite a while to make the connection.  For that, I will always be grateful to Jamie Nast, author of Idea Mapping who will be visiting the UK on 6th & 7th October. 

It was Jamie who helped me realise that colour and images help the brain to think better, quicker, clearer and to remember better. 

Visual Thinking & Project Management is a topic close to my heart (the combination of VISION and DETAIL) but I really hadn’t realised that Leonardo da Vinci had investigated the relationship between visual information and intellect

If it was good enough for da Vinci … I’ll continue to explore the tools at my disposal …

Mindjet’s MindManager 7 + Mindjet’s JCVGantt + Microsoft Office + Jamie Nast’s Idea Mapping

Download a free Trial copy of MindManager and start thinking creatively.


The Future of Social Media Conference

August 13, 2008

The Future of Social Media Conference will take place on 28th October 2008 at Hilton Tower Bridge, London.

The Future of Social Media is the only event in 2008 that offers you:

… Industry leading visions from both the USA and the UK

… Real-world examples from digital marketers

… Case studies from global brands who have measurable social media benefit

… Facillitated networking opportunities amongst the world’s social media elite

http://www.futureofsocialmedia.co.uk/home


Touch smartphone with a QWERTY keyboard

August 12, 2008

Having just ordered the HTC S710, I discovered that the HTC Touch Pro has been launched for c. £500.  I’d be really interested to hear from anyone who has used one. 

HTC Touch Pro Description

The HTC Touch Pro™ brings together elegant touch screen response with the direct precision of keyboard entry… leaving out nothing to deliver a powerhouse communication tool in a beautiful, compact design.

The 2.8-inch VGA touch screen provides four times the resolution of most smart devices, making email, documents and web pages sharper and easier to work with than ever before.

HTC’s rich, touch-responsive interface, TouchFLO™ 3D, provides a stunningly intuitive way to zip through common tasks like messaging, calendar checks or making calls. Delve a little deeper to find that playing media files, searching for contacts and surfing the web are also responsive to your touch.

The web browser puts the full Internet in the palm of your hand. Websites look just like they do on a PC, and TouchFLO™ 3D makes it easy to pan around and zoom in on exactly the information you’re looking for. If you need a wide screen, simply tilt the Touch Pro sideways and the page switches to landscape view.

Slide out the 5-row QWERTY keyboard to make light work of typing-intensive tasks like composing email or working on Microsoft Office® documents… perfect for when your day takes a serious turn.

High speed connectivity will keep you in touch with colleagues and contacts wherever you are. Integrated GPS can be used with maps software for a full turn-by-turn satellite navigation experience.

Built-in Wi-Fi and TV-out functionality* mean you can hook up to the local wireless hot spot to surf, then deliver the perfect PowerPoint® presentation without a laptop in sight.

A beautiful angle on business, the HTC Touch Pro introduces effortless presence to enterprise-standard communications.


HTC S710 – a smartphone with a Qwerty keyboard

August 12, 2008

I recently read a review of the HTC S710 smartphone and was so impressed with the features that I have just ordered it via BT.  If you, like me, already have BT Total Broadband (with an old white Hub) you can upgrade to the newer (black) version and have BT Total Broadband Anywhere for just an extra £5 per month.

I decided to pay a one-off payment of £29.99 to upgrade the handset to the HTC S710.

As anyone reading this blog will know, I have been looking for a smartphone with a Qwerty keyboard for ages and ages and ages … for an extra £5 per month, I decided to bite the bullet and buy this one … I’m sure it won’t be perfect … but I think it will do the job I want.

 

Key features:-

– spring-loaded QWERTY keyboard

– Microsoft Windows Mobile 6.0 Standard

– WiFi

– Internet Explorer Mobile

– Windows Live Messenger

– Outlook Contacts easily transferrable to the handset

– View / Edit Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files

 

I’ll post my own review once I’ve had chance to make full use of the HTC S710 and would love to hear from anyone who already owns one.

 

Read the full review here