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.


Visual Thinking & Project Management

August 6, 2008

 

 

The combination of Visual Thinking and Project Management really interests me and I’d probably go as far as to say that it excites me.

Mindjet’s website says:-

You’ve already discovered how fast and easy it is to plan and manage day-to-day projects visually by using MindManager. Wouldn’t it be even better to move from visual planning to disciplined project management?

That’s why we’ve combined MindManager Pro 7 with Mindjet JCVGantt to create a single, affordable, easy-to-use visual solution that drives dramatic improvements in project productivity.

JCVGantt Pro 3 software provides an easy to use, yet powerful solution to track projects and tasks. It enables executives, project managers and event organizers to improve the accuracy of their time and cost estimating while decreasing the time it takes to plan a new project.

Even beginner Project Managers can now track and report upon key project issues.

– Instantly identify the project’s critical path

– Automatically calculate the total project cost when changes are made to tasks and assigned resources

– Analyze budgetary risks before they become problems by using baseline snapshots of the project

http://www.jcvgantt.mindjet.com/promotions/jcvgantt/demo.aspx

I will be using JCVGanttPro 3 over the next few days to see just how easy (yet just how powerful) it is and would love to hear from anyone who has already used it in conjunction with MindManager Pro 7 and/or Microsoft Office.

I’ll update you with my thoughts soon.


Microsoft Live Mesh – here, there, everywhere

August 1, 2008

 

“Imagine the possibilities

Imagine all your devices—PCs, and soon Macs and mobile phones—working together to give you anywhere access to the information you care about.

With Live Mesh, you can spend less time managing devices and data and more time connecting with family and friends or collaborating with colleagues.”

All your devices working together

No more e-mailing attachments to yourself. Instead, synchronize the information you need across all your devices. The most up-to-date versions will be at hand when you need them—at home, at the office, and on the go.

Just install the Live Mesh software on each device. Then add folders to your mesh. Folders are automatically synchronized, always available.

Access from anywhere

Anything you add to Live Mesh is available from anywhere, including the web from your Live Desktop. Your Live Desktop comes with 5 GB of free storage, and can be used from most web browsers.

Need a program that’s only on your home PC? With Live Mesh, access to all your devices—and any programs on those devices—is at your fingertips, no matter where you are.

Simple to share

Easily share files and photos with friends, family, and colleagues—invite them to a folder. Everyone is kept up to date because files can be synchronized automatically with all your devices and all their devices.

Update documents, post comments, or send instant messages, all right from the folder. The Live Mesh bar helps you connect instantly with other folder members.

Stay informed

Keep track of all the activities in your mesh. See the online status of friends and colleagues, find out who has updated which files or folders, post and read comments, and check the status of your devices.

News about your mesh is easy to access. You can view news items in the notifier, from the mesh bar, and on the Live Mesh website—available whenever, wherever you are.

Protection you know

Your mesh is password-protected with your Windows Live ID, so only you have access to it. When you share a folder with family and friends, they sign in with their own Windows Live ID to access it.

All file transfers are protected using Secure Socket Layers (SSL), the same technology your online bank uses.

For further details visit https://www.mesh.com/welcome/LearnMore.aspx and see a video demo.


Microsoft Office Live Workspace

March 7, 2008

I have just received email confirmation that I have access to a beta copy of Microsoft Office Live Workspace and can’t wait to see what it can do for me. 


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”

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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.

jamie-7-habits.gif

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. 

jamie-nast-memorability-factor-map.jpg 

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 www.ideamappingsuccess.com, or blog at http://ideamapping.blogspot.com.

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


Eat That Frog!

October 27, 2007

Get More of the Important Things Done – Today!

eat-that-frog.jpg

“There’s an old saying that if the first thing you do in the morning is to eat a live frog, you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that it’s probably the worst thing you’ll do all day.”

“Eat That Frog! takes this saying as a metaphor for tackling the most challenging task of your day – the one you are most likely to put off, but also probably the one that will have the greatest positive impact on our life.  There simply isn’t enough time to do everything on our “To Do” list – and there never will be.  Successful people don’t try to do everything.  They focus on the most important tasks and make sure they get done.”

What an great little book – small in size, easy to read, straight forward, to the point and yet packed full of advice that you could implement today.  A few  quotes which really stood out were:-

“Successful, effective people are those who launch directly into their major tasks and then discipline themselves to work steadily and single-mindedly until those tasks are complete.”

“The number one reason why some people get more work done faster is because they are absolutely clear about their goals and objectives and they don’t deviate from them.”

“Resolve to do something every single day that moves you toward your major goal.”

“Read in your field for at least one hour every day…The more you learn and know, the more confident and motivated you feel.”

“Take one full day off each week.”