Time and time again I get asked and challenged on an age-old issue of whether or not mind mapping is, at worst, just another fad, a ”nice to have” or, at best, a real value-adding benefit that has a serious place within a business or organisation.

The advent and growth of mind mapping software in recent years have seen hundreds of thousands of customers investing in mind mapping software for a variety of reasons…

  • Exponents of the original mind mapping technique as an aid to capturing, visualizing ideas and knowledge to aid understanding, retention and recall.
  • People in the area of education (educators, teachers, students, etc.) looking for software to help them consolidate the above technique in a teaching/learning environment.
  • Business people in wide and varied disciplines with a requirement for more efficient and visual ways of capturing information, knowledge and data to aid focus and clarity on moving from ideas to action quicker and more productively.
  • Senior managers, directors and business owners, with specific requirements around high-level strategic thinking, planning and “dashboard”-type approaches to capture, visualize, monitor and manage plans, priorities, objectives, projects, etc.
  • Project managers and others involved in project work requiring intuitive, visual and tracking methodologies and tools to make the planning, scheduling and monitor and control stage of managing projects more visible, collaborative and, of course, productive and efficient.

One of the interesting outcomes of interacting with many of these customers is a realisation that mind mapping holds different meaning, pre-conception and, dare I say, misconceptions – particularly in the business world.

…there is a “disconnect” between mind mapping as a basic concept and the actual application of a “way of working”…

Whilst mind mapping is generally recognised as a technique or a methodology to aid thinking and understanding (or variations on that theme) there is a “disconnect” between mind mapping as a basic concept and the actual application of a “way of working” that it most definitely has evolved into over recent years.

Although admittedly improving, there is nevertheless a lack of appreciation throughout the business world that mind mapping has moved on dramatically and has admirably kept pace with this modern technology-savvy world.

The answer to how mind mapping can be applied and, more importantly, add value in business varies depending on the context, but is centred on some of the following business tenets:

Does lack of focus and clarity on some of the following get in the way of efficiency, productivity or performance?

  • Discussions at meetings or brainstorming sessions
  • Clear understanding of outcomes and requirements at planning meetings
  • Monitoring and managing tasks and activities in the most efficient way
  • Thinking things through thoroughly when planning strategies, objectives and projects
  • Planning, scheduling and managing projects better
  • Preparing documents, reports and presentations

In terms of addressing the business “value-add” question, the key issues emerging here are:

  • Do any of the above aspects of business performance apply to you?
  • Is there even the slightest opportunity or room for improvement in any aspect?
  • Could better focus and clarity improve performance in any aspect?
  • Are there others in your team, department or organisation to whom this could also apply?

To address the title of this article, I am seriously suggesting that business mind mapping software “has arrived” and does add real value in a business context.

But, it’s not just about creating mind maps per-se, it’s about…

  • using a creative, engaging and visual methodology to think through, capture, visualise and structure knowledge, ideas, plans, projects, etc.;
  • using the methodology to simplify and enable better prioritisation and decision-making;
  • quick and effortless output to documents, presentations, project plans/schedules and reports

All of the above results in savings of time and effort, improved productivity and increased focus and clarity at every stage.

I suspect there can’t be many individuals, teams or whole organisations who would not accept that there is real bottom-line value to be gained for improving performance in these key aspects of everyday work.

Mind Mapping for business – yes, I am serious!

By Jamie MacDonald

About the author

Jamie MacDonald is Head of Client Development at MindGenius, developers of the leading business mind mapping software MindGenius. He is a highly experienced trainer, facilitator and coach with over 20 years’ experience in training, organisational development, HRM and performance improvement. Jamie specialises in the application of MindGenius business mind mapping software as a catalyst for enhanced personal, team and organisational performance and productivity.

Photo : Mind mapping by