Tech tip - city mind maps

Posted by J Matthew Buchanan at October 19, 2005 11:30 PM

If you haven’t tried MindManager yet, you’re really missing something.  I’ve been hooked on this program for the last couple years.  It has changed the way I organize information…and the way I think about information.  Everything has a place.

I have found all kinds of uses for the program in my practice — including mapping of competitive intelligence information.  But, that’s another post altogether.  I thought I’d share a simple tip that you can put in practice on your next business trip — city maps, er, city mind maps, that is.

Here’s the idea.  When I travel, I gather all sorts of information that is related to a particular city — not by doing anything special, but just through the regular activities everyone does on a business trip…I meet new people, learn about local culture, local industry, etc.  This information comes to me from various sources, including the activities I participate in while I am in the city, discussions I have, news I hear on the hotel television, etc.

Before MindManager, all of that information was lost because I relied solely on my memory to recall it at some point in the future, or my ability to find scraps of paper on which I scribbled cryptic notes. 

Now, I create a city mind map to organize all of the information.  I use an “anytown USA” template map I created (see the screen shot below) and throw every bit of information I can think of onto the map…usually on the plane trip home.  I link relevant Outlook contact records into the map, add tidbits of information about local “legend and lore,” add flight details to and fro, and even add a brief description of each of my visits.


Why on earth would I do this?  What value does it have?

It pays off during subsequent trips to the city.  Prior to making those trips, usually on the plane ride there, I review the map.  Everything comes right back to me.  I might remember a local tidbit that helps with small talk during a meeting or be reminded of a favorite restaurant.  And, because the Outlook contacts are linked, the map provides a great way to review contact records for people that are connected to that city (much easier than sorting/searching Outlook in an attempt to find those contact records).

And here’s a bonus tip — as soon as I create a new city mind map, I assign an ActiveWords keyword to it using the airport code.  The result…no matter where I am headed, all I have to do is enter an airport code, hit the space bar twice, and up pops an organized map of relevant information.

It’s a beautiful thing.


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tara Says:

October 20, 2005 01:54 AM

no mac version though :(

tara Says:

October 20, 2005 01:54 AM

no mac version though... what a tragedy :(

Anonymous Says:

October 20, 2005 02:29 AM

They do mention Mac on their beta sign up page.

J. Matthew Buchanan Says:

October 20, 2005 08:12 AM

The missing Mac version really is a tragedy. I don't use Macs -- but fellow rethink'r Steve does. I'll see if he has any insight as to when we might see MindManager for the Mac.

I can say this -- I use MindManager on a TabletPC, and Mindjet has done a wonderful job of implementing the tablet functionality in the program (although I am still looking for the "brainstorming" mode to be tablet-ized).

Thanks for the comments.

Trevor Hill Says:

October 23, 2005 11:12 PM

Why not just make an outline? Easier to organize somehow when it's visual?

J. Matthew Buchanan Says:

October 24, 2005 06:51 AM

Thanks for the comment, Trevor.

I've always processed information better when it is presented visually. The basic outline has a visual structure, of course, but the mind map takes it to another level. For example, I can get information from the mind map faster than I can from a text-based outline, and can also process the entire document faster.

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