I woke up few days ago thinking of a way to contribute to The Transitioner.org. I felt hugely inspired and terribly limited at once. The inspiration came from the fact that I had a deep feeling of being surrounded by brilliant people dedicated to help the community grow to its highest potential. I felt thrilled and up-lifted by the entire paradigm shift happening in our way of thinking, without even mentioning the love and wisdom that follow. My limitation came from the fact that I did not know how to help. Which form? What is already there and what is not? How could I know? How could I contribute without overloading others with information they already know? I breathed and thought about mind mapping, a simple yet powerful tool I have been using for several years to dig into creative resources. I asked myself how we could use it within The Transitioner. Many of you might already know, others might not, and for those who do not, I decided to move ahead and write this paper.
Basics of Mind mapping
Rather than writing my own description of mind mapping, below is the collective and more accurate description straight from Wikipedia: “A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.
The elements of a given mind map are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts, and are classified into groupings, branches, or areas, with the goal of representing semantic or other connections between portions of information. Mind maps may also aid recall of existing memories.
By presenting ideas in a radial, graphical, non-linear manner, mind maps encourage a brainstorming approach to planning and organizational tasks. Though the branches of a mindmap represent hierarchical tree structures, their radial arrangement disrupts the prioritizing of concepts typically associated with hierarchies presented with more linear visual cues. This orientation towards brainstorming encourages users to enumerate and connect concepts without a tendency to begin within a particular conceptual framework.”
The figure below illustrates one example of handwritten mind map:
My personal experience with mind mapping is that it allows to put us is a mode of idea generation rather than debate and argument. The non linear structure of the diagram and the use of several colors trigger different parts of our brain and therefore offer a powerful mechanism for ideas to flow through the paths of least resistance. The heuristic map is a natural projection of radiant ideas. It offers a universal way to liberate the brain potential. During a mind mapping exercise, all ideas are welcomed. It is always so amazing how quickly each time we end up with a colorful tree full of diverse ideas and concepts. Everyone contribute to the best of his or her own capabilities at that moment while being inspired by the collective set of others ideas. It is only when the idea generation phase is finished that we start debating, rearranging or pruning the tree. For those who haven’t been using this before, I strongly recommend it. It is a powerful tool that encourages collaboration and helps tapping into our collective intelligence. Its major limitation, however, is that it helps collective intelligence in a collocated space. All contributors are within the same room around the same board.
So, what about tapping into our collective brains at a larger scope where the contributors are not physically collocated? Can we have access an open source tool that will allow us to experiment the power of mind mapping at a global scale. Can we imagine each person having the possibility to add or delete branches at its own discretion? A kind of wikimindmap. Of course, it is technically feasible. I went ahead, and did a quick, but non exhaustive, research to figure out what software tools are available out there:
Bubbl.us is a simple and free web application that allows online brainstorming. It offers creating colorful mind maps online, sharing and working with friends, embedding mind maps in blogs or website.
MindMeister brings the concept of mind mapping to the web, using its facilities for real-time collaboration to allow truly global brainstorming sessions. Users can create, manage and share mind maps online. Several package offerings, at a cost.
Let's use mind mapping to support CWIC!