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Business uses of mind maps
Mind maps have grown from their introduction in the 1970s as principally an educational tool and now have extensive use in businesses worldwide.
Below is an outline of major business uses of mind mapping. This is not just a list of possibilities; you can follow the More... and other links to find ideas and explanations of how to use mind maps for these actions yourself.
Alternatively you can navigate by a full version of the mind map on the right. The following two links open an active mind map in a separate browser window. This map has hyperlinks to other parts of WikIT, and expanding branches.
Interactive map: Flash (recommended)
AccountingAccounting Mnemonics and Mind Maps is a site that provides free review materials for CPA exams in the form of mind maps. The web designer took the - um - unusual design decision of presenting the list of contents as pale acid green on white, so WikIT is reproducing it here for legibility:
- Sourches of GAAP, an Introduction
- Conceptual Framework Underlying Financial Accounting
- Objective of Financial Reporting by Business Enterprises
- Qualitative Characteristics of Financial Information
- Recognition and Measurement in the Financial Statements
- Element of Financial Statements
- Income Statement Introduction
- Income Statement Presentation
- Presentation of Income from Continuing Operations
- Discontinued Operation
- Extraordinary Items
Business analysis and consulting
- Business improvement
- Business research and reporting
- Designing software functionality, software development and modeling.
Capturing company knowledge
Not so long ago, anyone wanting to collaborate in making a mind map could either meet up with colleagues or email mindmap files around. Now, collaborative web-based platforms allow collaboration in the Internet or the company intranet using a web browser.
Despite all these technology options, meeting in a room, with a good, even inspirational, facilitator can generate an energy that is difficult to reproduce on line.
Mind mapping can often be valuable in achieving a proper situational awareness when preparing for and making decisions - complex decisions especially.
On a mind map, you can describe the decision and its objectives, set out the parties involved, including the final decision maker and elucidate the many considerations, factors, weighting, alternatives, risks and so on.
You can plan and record such due diligence as may be needed, collect and organize the required information, presenting to others, evaluate the pros and cons, and finally make the decision.
Business events can cover such activities as large-scale meetings, formal training, trade shows, public seminars, AGMs, EGMs, press conferences and investor relations or media conference calls.
Mind maps can support planning such events, and evaluation of success and lessons learned, after the event.
See also Presentations, Seminars, Training
Mind mapping can support planning in many areas of the Human Resources function, for example: Personnel; recruitment; induction; training; appraisals; succession; right through to exit interviews.
It is also a useful thinking framework for developing policies and procedures, staff manuals and job descriptions.
There are many areas of management where mind maps can be used: Strategic planning, preparing business plans, goal setting, problem solving, prioritizing issues, contract management, organizing committee roles, dashboards, planning, preparing, organizing and presenting policies and procedures, and in time management.
A mind map can form the framework around which a SWOT analysis is done. The freedom to link across the map, something that four list or four quadrants does not encourage, can produce new insights.
Competitive analysis and product design can be planned and carried out well in the context of a mind map.
Mind maps can be used in preparing for a meeting, taking your own notes during a meeting, acting as meeting secretary taking notes for formal minutes during a meeting, taking living minutes during meeting (where everyone else can see and comment as mind map minutes are made).
Negotiation planning, elucidating alternatives, deciding where limits probably lie, assessing the parties involved and their interests and negotiating style can all be helped with mind maps.
This is covered in many explicit areas of planning, not one generalized section.
Project planning is well supported by mind mapping. Many projects have a research element and a mind map or group of maps is a good place in which to organize information found, results of research and questions raised and to be answered.
Mind maps can also be used to share project information, make presentations to project teams, report progress (visually) and disseminating project information to team members.
Software is available that can automatically make project-status dashboards from information held inside mind maps.
Past project records can be easily referred to and grasped much later, when presented in the form of the mind map or maps made at the time.
Mind mapping can be used for note-taking in seminars, for planning seminars and, with some audiences, as a presentation medium with which to tie the whole seminar together.
See also Presentations and mind mapping
See also ~Training and mind mapping
Mind mapping can be used by management for curriculum planning, by the trainers to organize their training material, training exercises and the training plan, and by the trainees for note-taking and as a reference to go back to when training is complete. Where applicable, it can be used to plan tests and examinations.
Planning web sites and even building them (with some software) is facilitated by mind maps.
It is also possible to present information on line visually in an image produced by mind mapping software.