Mindmapping as a Note-Taking Tool

Note-taking in meetings using a mindmap focuses on the subject rather than the time sequence of the meeting.

I read about the concept of mind-mapping many years ago and have never looked back; I use mind-mapping now whenever I need to get some ideas down quickly, in meetings or to detail complex concepts. Do you use Mindmapping? Do you know what it is?

Brainstorming and organising eclectic thought

* A speaker gets up to talk
* He introduces his subject, makes a point
* Various points made during discussion
* A conclusion

It’s a seemingly linear process

When in a meeting or taking notes somewhere, do you find yourself making what is in effect a list? One item after another – at least you retain the order of events.

However, have you ever thought that it might also be quite useful to group by subject? Mindmapping allows you to do this. It is possible to express the text above as follows in a mindmap:

As the meeting progresses, and discussion returns to the same subjects, new information can be tacked on in the right places. The notation focuses therefore on the central theme rather than the time-sequence of the meeting. Mindmapping is useful for summarising and focuses thought on the subject matter.

Using Mindmapping in interviews

Mindmapping has proved very useful in software development, where interviews with users and key players are often full of many cross-threads of information.

Mindmapping not only helps keep focus but provides numerous collection points for similar information. Interviews can move ahead while retaining content. It is possible to generate a text summary directly from notes taken in this way using software such as iMindmap and iMindQ.

Mindmapping software

I have found Simplemind to be very easy to use. Although the examples are straightforward, the principles are sound. In a few short strokes, it is possible to summarise a concept, an idea or an essay plan on one sheet and make an idea recognisable at a glance.

Mindmapping a complex world

I want to demonstrate how useful mindmapping can be as a tool in the information workers toolbox, for anyone who needs to summarise quickly. In the information age, we need a lot of tools to help us sift through the plethora of emails and concepts and subjects that we need to manage.

Mindmapping thought

Marketing Evernote mindmap

Mindmapping also taps into how we think and how we react with and perceive the world, a favourite subject for those who model human behaviour.

And like Jung who did not believe in psychology alone, there must be more to it than that.

Systems Modeling

Mindmapping is helpful in describing real-world systems as a precursor to more formal notation with UML.

Conclusion

Mindmapping is a technique for rapid note-taking, organising thoughts, recording the results of brainstorming sessions and on to generate constructive ideas, structured documents and generally classifying subject matter.

Mindmapping is one useful technique in structuring informal systems, a useful initial step in structuring unstructured information.

While other methods and techniques such as UML are available, mindmapping remains a powerful tool in the armoury. In particular in situations where even the nature of the information is as yet unknown and the course of discussions uncharted. Highly recommended for all students of information architecture!

For reference see Lateral Thinking by Edward De Bono and Mindmapping by Tony Buzan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.