Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Mind Mapping Daylight Savings Time

Monday evening, I had the opportunity to talk to a group of fellow IT professionals at the Waterloo-Wellington IT Professional User Group about using mind mapping software for IT management tasks. Ruth Morton, IT Pro Advisor with Microsoft Canada, wrote about the presentation on the IT Managers Connection blog.

During the presentation, we did a brainstorming session to illustrate the utility of mind mapping software to quickly capture ideas in a group setting and to then organize those ideas into a form ready for further research and investigation. The group chose the perfect subject for IT pros - the implementation of the new daylight savings time seasonal extension on operating systems and application software platforms.

I took a blog entry from another Microsoft IT Pro Advisor, Rick Claus, who was in turn forwarding information from another Microsoft Canada Technical Account Manager, Pierre Roman, with the latter's gathered wisdom about DST, and mapped it. The result is shown in the accompanying map. Unfortunately, much of the functionality of the map is entirely hidden here, such as the hyperlinks to the relevant Microsoft knowledgebase articles or the text notes which automatically popup when you hover your mouse over the topic.

Blog entries like this can only tease the reader into investigating mind mapping further. They can't come close to illustrating the amazing richness of the feature set. To do that adequately, the user would have to download the map as well as a free viewer (Mindjet's viewer can be downloaded here). I hope to have this particular mind map available online soon to share with other IT professionals (until then, if you would like a copy, email me privately and I'll forward a zipped copy of the file).

In my view, there is absolutely no other software category that comes close to mind mapping for presenting information in a "big picture" context. The reader of a mind map automatically gets a sense of the relationships of ideas and concepts.

But it is in generating ideas, collaborating with others, editing and rearranging, and linking concepts and ideas that mind mapping truly shines.

Daylight savings time is meant to save energy on the macro level. Mind mapping does that on a micro level; but it does so much more. Finally, it appears that the world of software is catching on. Do a simply Google search on "mind mapping software" and it will quickly become apparent that the category is exploding in interest and products available. MindManager Pro 6 (from MindJet), iMindMap, NovaMind, Visual Mind, MindMapper, MindGenius, BrainMine - these are only some of the products now available. If you want a blog dedicated just to mind mapping software, you can do no better than Chuck Frey's The Mind Mapping Software Weblog.

Save your time. Save your energy. Try mind mapping.

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