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Information map uses
This is a high-level view of the material in WikIT that covers different ways that all the types of information maps can be used - how to use them, which specific map types have advantages for which uses, tips and tricks.
An important note on terminology: Most of the references below are to "mind maps" and WikIT adopts the prevalent use of this term. The Information Maps area of WikIT is intended to be a useful resource to the mind-mapping world. If you disagree with the terminology, please confine discussion about which maps are best, whether "mind maps" should be used to describe only Buzan-style mind maps, and similar concerns here: the discussion tab of the Map wars page. Where the specific features of concept maps are under discussion they are not called mind maps.
Below is an outline of the content of this area of WikIT. It's 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 at the head of this page: 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 versions of the map above right:
Personal uses of mind maps
For you as an individual, WikIT describes how information mapping can be used for goal setting, for deep and fresh analysis of something you know well, self-study, in your personal projects, for planning, events (even your life), for time management, in extending knowledge, for organizing personal records and documents, and learning new thinking methods and using them.
Books and mind maps
Mind maps can be used to summarize books as you read (or re-read) them if you wish to retain the material, refer back to it later or write a review. They can also be used when organizing book lists.
Business uses of mind maps
Although mind maps and concept maps were first conceived as educational tools, their use has spread to businesses worldwide.
- Mind maps are a valuable tool in many phases of business analysis and consulting.
- They can help in collaboration with others, though you should ensure that all parties are sympathetic to visual thinking, or at least are prepared to give it a try.
- Decision making can be enhanced by a period spent mapping out factors involved and other considerations.
- They can be used while planning events.
- Human Resources departments can make use of them when planning staff training, recruitment and induction programs.
- They are a useful tool for management in many tasks described in WikIT, including...
- Strategic planning,
- Preparations for detailed business plans,
- Goal setting,
- Problem solving,
- Prioritizing issues,
- Contract management,
- Organizing Board, committee and working party roles,
- Setting up Management dashboards for quick access to vital information,
- Planning, writing and reviewing policies, values and procedures,
- Planning and evaluating marketing materials, exercises and alternatives,
- Considering lessons learned,
- Preparing and administering meetings, conducting them, and minuting.
- Preparing for negotiation and after-the-event analysis.
- Planning is a very large area in which mind mapping is useful, and is covered under the individual planning topics.
- Planning, preparing and giving presentations.
- Project management.
- Organizing seminars.
- In the area of training, they can be used for planning courses and presenting material. Participants can extend their understanding and improve note taking with mind maps.
- Planning and re-organizing web sites can be helped with mind maps.
Enhancing creativity with mind maps
Many people find that barriers to creativity fall when using mind maps -- you can spark new ideas for yourself (ideatation) and conduct group brainstorming.
Mind and concept maps in formal education
Suggestions for students (mind maps: Buzan) and pedagogic techniques (concept maps: Novak, et al) is where mind and concept mapping both began - if we ignore historical, and very isolated, early use of similar techniques. These two forms of information mapping are used to help students memorize new material, understand it and show their comprehension.
Managing information with mind maps
For both people used to mind maps, and those who are not, managing information with mind maps can be a revelation to those who have not tried it.
A mind map can be used as an information repository to organize material:
- for learning,
- for future reference,
- for document management and creating indexes to documents,
- for organizing web links,
- as a file organizer with links to the files,
- for organizing information feeds.
Meetings and mind maps
Presentations and mind maps
Giving presentations can be supported at all stages using mind maps: planning, finding and organizing the material, creating, and making the presentation itself.
To the right audience, mind maps can be a good way of sharing complex ideas.
Project Management with mind maps
Project management is a well-established use of mind maps, project planning, gathering and organizing information needed to support the project, sharing project information, accessing past records easily, making presentations to project teams, visual project reporting, disseminating project info to team members, project dashboards, and progress maps.
Writing, using mind maps
Making preparations for writing, using mind maps is another well-established practice. Just a few examples of where this can apply are:
- Preparing to write a book
- Planning blogs
- Document creation
- Planning manuals and technical documents
- Report writing
- News items
100 reasons to mind map A useful list by Paul Foreman if you're still short of ideas
Visual Thinking Center