Posts Tagged ‘brainstorming’

Interview about Mind Mapping & Software

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Chantal Cooke from Passion for the Planet interviewed me about mind mapping and mind mapping software.  Click to listen to the interview Mind Mapping and Software or on the summary mind map below.

Mind Mapping and Software Interview with Andrew Wilcox. Principles, Publishing, Thinking to Action, Communicating, Appropriate, Learning to Use, Who

Andrew Wilcox Interview - About Mind Mapping and Software Andrew Wilcox Interview - About Mind Mapping and Software Chantal Cooke - Passion for the Planet Chantal Cooke - Passion for the Planet Andrew Wilcox - Cabre - Mind Mapping Software, Training and Consultancy Andrew Wilcox - Cabre - Mind Mapping Software, Training and Consultancy

Mapping a Skype conversation

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Have you ever joined a Skype group chat after the other participants have exchanged several messages? Scrolling down the conversation you get some sense of what has been going on. But the questions and answers are sometimes interleaved and there are multiple threads going on between the participants. Here is my solution for unravelling the spaghetti.

MindManager map of Skype ConversationSelect all the messages and paste them on to a MindManager map. You will get a topic for each message with the Skype ID (writer) and date/time included. Pick a principal statement or question and then drag the responses to the principal creating subtopics. Often responses can be found several unrelated messages later.  Additional marking up you could do:

  1. If topics relate to each other, you can add relationships or colour code the topics.
  2. Search for Skype ids and then mark the topics with an avatar.
  3. Search for keywords and highlight the topics.
  4. Add Call Outs with your private thoughts

This is the map (without the text) from two other peoples conversation that I was not able to participate in yesterday. It gives you some idea of how MindManager can be used to convert a complex stream of messages in to coherent digestable groups!

Click the map to see a larger image.

What will you start, stop, continue & investigate in 2010?

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Create your own MindManager map which looks something like this and add topics.

Group Brainstorming with MindManager

Monday, November 9th, 2009

It is easy enough to do individually but MindManager’s power is in quickly assembling maps from individuals.

Here is a suggested process:

Plan: Let individuals brainstorm first. Then combine into a group map for a further session of group brainstorming.

Group members creat their brainstorm map around the question, theme etc.

  • Ask users to add their name as a resource to all topics on their map:
  • Select All (Ctrl-A) > Task Info > Resource name (Tip: make sure they have unique name. First and surname is easy, if a little formal)

Combine the Maps

  • Link individual maps to a central map. Then 0pen Mulitmap view > Select All > Combine All.
  • Right click main topics and map name topic > Remove Topic.
  • View > Show/Hide > Task info for anonymous session.

Start Brainstorming again either in an open session using a beamer.

Or give the combined map back to the participants and reiterate, recombine and then go to an open session. This will produce many duplicates on the combined map.

  • Show Task info if further information is required from the topic owner.

Do you have an alternate or an improvement to this process?

I am not a Mind Mapping Guru

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009


A short interview by Rod Sloane of me using his iPhone and AudioBoo to publish it. The interview took place at the Institution of Engineering and Technology at Savoy Place, London. I am a Chartered Engineer and Member of the IET.

A grand building. The BBC used to live here when radios were powered by steam.

With a quiet and comfortable members lounge.

Which overlooks the Thames by Waterloo Bridge

Excellent conference and meeting facilities

Brainstorming with Whiteboards, Post-Its, Mind Maps or MindManager

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

I just saw a Tweet about someone feeling more comfortable about brainstorming with a whiteboard than using software and a friend Rod Sloane – No Bull Business has just poked me about doing more brainstorming with businesses. Some argue that the manual process is more engaging than an automated one but I don’t want to stir that comparison up.

I think the real issue is the competency of the facilitator with their tools of choice. It takes practice to become competent with these tools. If you are going to draw freehand and write in front of audience, you need to practice. Your competency needs to be greater than most of the audiences you will interact with. I bet Jamie Nast – Idea Mapping has hours of drawing experience with her tool kit and her audience (including me) likes what she does.

Good facilitators know the short cuts (keys) and restrictions imposed by their tool. They know when to start a new sheet or use a different coloured Post-It or send the topic to a new map. It’s also about recognising your limits. Tony Buzan uses some very competent graphic artists in “The Ultimate Book of Mind Maps” Note in the Wikipedia link he is using a computer. 😉

One of my core competencies is being able to use MindManager in front of a live audience either at the keyboard or on the Tablet PC and leaving the audience thinking that was easy and simple.

The manual v software comparison is like saying Jimi Hendrix is better than Julian Bream or vice versa. Both are leading exploiters of their tools and both work well with normally different audiences (well I have albums from both of them but I have only seen Julian live) .

So here are the strengths of brainstorming with me:

  • Items can be deleted, moved, copied, grouped and linked very quickly.
  • It unusual for the projector screen to fall down or off the wall.
  • I don’t run out of paper or pens.
  • I have access to more than 16 colours.
  • I have 8 hours of batteries to cover power failures. With small groups I can brainstorm in the dark.
  • I bring a spare PC, projector and screen.
  • I can paste images on the map.
  • I can add spreadsheet ranges.
  • I can add links to web pages, files and folders.
  • The brainstorm can be published and / or emailed immediately the meeting ends to the participants and others.
  • I don’t stop at brainstorming. It’s easy to assign action owners, dates, priority, duration and send filtered maps or lists to the action owner and meeting owner.
  • Those actions can be seen as timeline or Gantt chart at the meeting.
  • I can organise on-line asynchronous brainstorms accessed via your browser (no need for MindManager desktop license).

Should I be doing something else on a Saturday morning? Perhaps cycle out to see the first steam train built in England for a while smoke past.

You comments please?