Chuck Frey’s Research & Reports

September 1, 2008

Chuck Frey (author of The Mind Mapping Software Blog) has created a valuable resource containing various Research & Reports which I highly recommend you visit.  It contains surveys, reports and eBooks available for download.


Web-based mind mapping applications

Benefits of mind mapping software

Applications of mind mapping software


A comparison of the major web-based software applications

8 Ways to Improve Your Mind Maps

10 Mistakes to Avoid with Mind Mapping Software


Power Tips & Strategies for Mind Mapping Software

The Mind Mapping Manifesto


I reviewed “Power Tips & Strategies for Mind Mapping Software” in October 2007.


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

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.

Harness Your Visual Creativity

November 13, 2007

With kind permission of both Mindjet and Jamie Nast herewith an extremely interesting Personal Interview with Jamie Nast, Author of “Idea Mapping”


Mindjet : Maps use both verbal and numerical information, and combine these with the power of creative intelligence; how do maps specifically allow one to think creatively?

Jamie Nast : Maps tap into all of the cortical skills, which are housed in the right and left sides of the brain. The concept of right brain/ left brain thinking developed from the research of American psychologist Roger Sperry in the late 1960s. The right brain is dominantly represented by color, imagination, daydreaming, rhythm, and spatial skills, while the left brain by verbal, mathematical, lines, sequence, lists, logic, and analytical skills. It’s a myth that creativity rests on the right side alone– it’s right combined with left that maximizes creativity, and nothing does that better than an idea map. A map reflects the natural way our brain associates information.

Maps pull information together onto a single sheet of paper in a way that leverages one more area of dominance found on the right side of the cerebral cortex. It’s called gestalt (German for the whole picture) where one sees each topic, each branch, and how the various pieces of data interrelate and connect. A map is a visual picture that enables people to see the relationships between data points, see everything in one place, and now be able to step back and think, clarify, analyze, prioritize, (re)organize, or innovate– and then take action. A map is a tool that provides a framework that fosters and can lead to new ways of thinking. Now that’s creativity!

MJ : What do you do to think creatively?

JN : I can get overwhelmed and immobilized by the large amount of tasks that I need to juggle. The only way I can function is to put everything in a map. It may not be the most creative example in the world, but for me it is a creative solution. The outcome and benefit to me is that my mind is now free to think rather than worrying about trying to manage all the plates that are spinning.

Another example is when I write a book or an article. Right now I’m considering two different book angles, and using MindManager in both scenarios to generate 100% of my creative thinking. The maps are used for gathering research, tracking potential contributors, determining possible endorsements, and outlining chapter headings. The process itself can be creative, but it’s the ability to step back and look at the gestalt— that’s where the creative process takes action.

MJ : What’s a coaching or teaching example of thinking creatively?

JN : Every single time I teach I use MindManager. There was a time in 1996, when I was supposed to teach a 4-day workshop on Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I wasn’t at all prepared, and it had been 9-12 months since I’d been certified. We were teaching the first day to two different groups on back-to-back days. So I struck a deal with my teaching partner. She taught the first day, during which I took detailed notes in a map so I could teach the same material to the second group on the following day. I didn’t have the software at the time, so for me it was a creative alternative to spending two weeks absorbing information from a four-inch thick manual.


I taught the entire day from a single 11”x17” map. The participants didn’t know that this was my first class, and were extremely receptive to the use of the map. If I hadn’t had the map, I literally would have had to read from the book in order to teach the class. Now I use them all the time. Maps capture the big picture and provide creative flexibility in terms of having options on content. If there’s extra time, I have a branch for what I may add, or what to take out if there’s not enough time. In preparing for the June 5th webinar, I went through the creative process with a map to determine what I wanted the audience to walk away with and how to maximize that hour. 


MJ : Your June 5th webinar The Memorability Factor showed attendees how the visual aspect of mapping increases their own memories and those viewing their maps; how is this thinking creatively?

JN : The simple act of creating a map can be creative – it’s colorful and full of imagery. An image can portray a thought in a way that’s beyond words— and it makes the whole process more enjoyable. If something is fun, it’s more memorable. Even something as simple as using different colors for the various branches can enhance one’s ability to make associations and promote a greater level of creativity. A key client who took my class about ten years ago created two different maps on a topic— both had the same content, but one had images and the other didn’t. She conducted a comparison and found that most people preferred the one with images because it was much more interesting. Images break up the monotony of words and thus stimulate one to think and make connections that might otherwise go unnoticed.

When I think about utilizing MindManager for creativity, I think, what an amazing tool!

For more information on idea mapping, sample maps, workshops, Jamie Nast or to buy her book, visit her website at, or blog at

To use MindManager like Jamie Nast does, download a free trial here

Mindjet Monthly Newsletter (US)

October 19, 2007

Collaboration with Jamie Nast – Integrating MindManager with Microsoft Outlook

As anyone who has been reading this blog knows, I bought Jamie Nast’s book “Idea Mapping” in August and highly recommend it – there are several posts on this Blog about her work – please select “Jamie Nast” from Categories to see them all.  She has enabled me to allow the creative, imaginative, visionary “Me” to work in harmony with the linear, logical, analytical “Me” and I am enjoying the results.  I have always been an organised person but I am now taking those skills to higher levels.  Thanks Jamie!

You can imagine my pleasure when Jamie asked me if I would be prepared to share some of my Maps for an Article she was writing for the Mindjet Monthly Newsletter (US version) about integrating MindManager 7.0 Pro with Microsoft Office Outlook.  You’ll find the US Newsletter on Mindjet’s website where Jamie’s article explains the maps below … I hope that the maps (and the integration with Microsoft Office Outlook) will inspire some ideas …



Download a free trial copy of MindManager 7.0 Pro 


What’s in a name? Mind Mapping / Visual Mapping / Idea Mapping…Information Mapping?

October 18, 2007

Information Mapping?

I am in the process of launching a new business venture and intend to incorporate “mapping” workshops as part of the solutions available from January 2008.  I firmly believe that the TITLE of a workshop / eBook / seminar / press release etc really matters and I am therefore currently giving this considerable thought.

I personally don’t like the term “mind mapping” because, as a logical, linear, analytical person the term feels “alien” to me but it is a term which people know (eventhough many people pull a funny face when they hear the words) and more than once I have heard  “oh no, mind mapping is not for me; I like lists“.  So, clearly I want to avoid this term so as to not create an initial barrier.  What are my choices?


Idea Mapping … I really like this because it clearly conveys that I will be mapping my ideas.  The concepts within Jamie Nast’s excellent book are so important that I will always include them in the way that I use mapping and I urge you to discover what she has to say – you’ll find my review via this link:-


Visual Mapping … I really like this term because it conveys that I will be mapping visually so this makes me think of “maps” and flowcharts and diagrams of various types.   Please see my post about Wallace Tait’s excellent discussion on this topic.:-


However, although I really like both of the above terms, neither is exactly the message that I want to convey – and, afterall, I want these workshops / seminars to have my stamp on them …

My focus will be on helping businesses to “get more done in less time” and therefore I feel the term “Information Mapping” better describes what I do. 

We are all bombarded with data and information all day long … and I am using mapping software to keep a track of what needs to be done and where I can find that particular piece of information when the time is right.  Furthermore, I am linking the mapping software (MindManager) to Microsoft Office (Outlook, Project etc) to enable me to be able to see the VISION whilst working on the DETAIL and, most importantly, using the map as a visual medium to enable others to see the WHAT, WHERE & WHEN.

I am therefore drawn to the term “information mapping” to describe what I will be doing.  

I would really appreciate some feedback to find out whether you agree that the term “mind mapping” can be a barrier to some people and whether you feel that  “information mapping” gets through that barrier for the purpose described above? 

New Productivity Pack to integrate MindManager with Microsoft Office

October 17, 2007

Harness the Complete Power and Benefits of Microsoft Office


The Mindjet Productivity Pack for Microsoft Office provides MindManager 7 users with a detailed guide to maximizing their use of their Microsoft Office productivity tools.

The Productivity Pack includes a whitepaper and seven MindManager maps that explain and illustrate how to use MindManager to:

– Display Microsoft Excel® ranges

– Create Microsoft PowerPoint presentations

– Write compelling Microsoft Word® documents

– Create plans for and present status from Microsoft Project®

– Add and update Microsoft Outlook® events, notes, contacts and tasks from your maps

– Draw Microsoft Visio® org-charts and process flows


I have a considerable interest in the integration of MindManager 7.0 Pro with Microsoft Office and I therefore read the White Paper, entitled “Simplify the Way You Work: Enhancing Microsoft Office with MindManager Pro 7″, with particular interest. 

When I first discovered MindManager 7.0 Pro (in July this year) it was this ease of integration which excited me.  The White Paper opens by saying:

Typical knowledge workers spend approximately one-third of their time searching for and retrieving information. Hours are lost each day scanning email folders, databases, and network directories.   Additional

time is spent re-entering information as well as copying and pasting content. Despite the sophistication of productivity software, it is still difficult to:

– Access and synthesize information from network and desktop systems.

– Connect the dots and take action on the big picture.

– Collaborate with clients and colleagues.

Important data is trapped in information silos and format restrictions imposed by software, rather than integrating ideas in ways that enable you to work smarter, think creatively, and save time.

MindManager Pro 7 removes these obstacles through its integration with Microsoft Office. With its intuitive visual maps, MindManager captures, organizes, and shares information between Microsoft Office applications, but more importantly, with your team. With MindManager, you and your team will spend more time getting things done, and less time hunting for information and fighting the limitations of different information systems.”

Existing Users can download the Productivity Pack (free until October 31) via this link:-  or,  download a 21 day trial copy of MindManager