Published on December 21, 2008
Using Tool Maps Using Tool Maps: A New Feature of Mind Mapping Software Start I would like to present a new feature of mind mapping software. This feature provides help right in the mind map you are working with. You can take single items or entire templates from help and use them in your map. These help items come from a second background mind map called tool map. This new feature does not yet exist, and I want to point out its many applications and advantages. For shorter reference, let’s call this yet nonexistent software MiHX, the Mi standing for Mind Mapping Software and the HX suggesting ‘heuristic expansion‘. And now: Imagine Imagine you are dealing with the task of constructing a car. You have already developed ideas on the motor and the bodywork (not shown in the example), and your next topic is passenger safety. Passenger Bodywork safety Car construction Motor You feel you could do with some help, so you mark the branch ‘Passenger safety‘ and press ALT + help. This is what you get: Passenger Analysis Bodywork safety Help Assessment Creativity Car construction Motor The help branches fold and unfold like a menu as you are navigating them by mouseclicks or arrow keys. They are highlighted to indicate that they are not a part of the original map. 1
Using Tool Maps Analysis Assessment Brainstorming Osborn's checklist Passenger Help Analogies Bodywork safety from nature Creativity Look for analogies Analogies from art Analogies from Car construction technology Motor The book symbols on some branches indicate that additional information about a technique can be found in the textnotes attached to that branch. You decide that looking for analogies from nature is a promising approach. After a doubleclick on that branch, two things happen: 1. The chosen branch is attached to the branch ‘Passenger safety‘ from where you started help. The initial highlighting for this help item vanishes. 2. The other help items disappear automatically. Passenger Bodywork safety Analogies from nature Car construction Motor You start thinking about analogies from nature and do some conventional mind mapping without noticing the help function. Here comes a rather, well, imaginative example: Fill car with Eggs water Passenger Analogies Hard material Bodywork safety from nature for bodywork Kangaroo babies Safety pocket for passengers Car construction Motor After a while, you want to examine one of your courageous ideas more closely. You mark the relevant branch, press ALT + help a second time and start navigating the help branches. 2
Using Tool Maps Analysis Strength Fill car Weakness SWOT with Opportunity Help Assessment water Threat Eggs Passenger Analogies Pros & Cons Bodywork safety from nature Creativity Hard material for bodywork Car construction Kangaroo babies Safety pocket for passengers Motor In many cases, getting inspiration from the help branches will be sufficient. But in this case, you will again implant help items in your map: With a doubleclick on SWOT, you take over that template to your map. (Remark: The textnotes to SWOT have been removed automatically.) Fill car Strength with Weakness water SWOT Opportunity Eggs Threat Passenger Analogies Bodywork safety from nature Hard material for bodywork Kangaroo babies Safety pocket Car construction for passengers Motor The support information comes from a second mind map, which will be called help map. 3
Using Tool Maps In the above example, it looks like this: Key questions Analysis Main elements Divide into parts Strengths Weakness SWOT Opportunity Assessment Threat Pros Pros & Cons Cons Help Brainstorming Make it larger Make it smaller Osborn's checklist Use other materials Problem solving tools ... Creativity Analogies from nature Look for analogies Analogies from art Analogies from technology (Using only one branch should simplify the process of copying branches from the help map and pasting them into your principal map.) One of the central ideas of the concept is that users can create and adapt their own help maps. For example, you could add planning procedures to your help map: Key questions Analysis Main elements Divide into parts Strengths Weakness SWOT Opportunity Assessment Threat Pros Pros & Cons Cons Brainstorming Make it larger Make it smaller Help Osborn's checklist Use other materials ... Creativity Analogies Problem solving tools from nature Look for analogies Analogies from art Analogies from technology Collect aims Aims Choose aim Planning Collect procedures Procedures Choose procedure 4
Using Tool Maps Next time you press ALT + help, this is what you get: Fill car Strength with Weakness water SWOT Opportunity Eggs Threat Passenger Analogies Hard material Bodywork safety from nature for bodywork Analysis Kangaroo Safety pocket Assessment for passengers Help babies Creativity Car construction Planning Motor Creating and adapting help maps makes MiHX an outstandingly versatile tool. 5
Using Tool Maps Applications Imagine tool maps about the following topics: • Project planning tools • Consulting, with tools for analyzing business situations • Analyzing marketing strategies, with questions about market situation, competitor analysis and tools for improving own marketing success • Examining lawsuits • Studying, with questions supporting critical thinking • Scientific work, with advice on information retrieval, argumentation and methodology • Specialized creativity tools supporting advertising agencies • Developing computer programs, with style guides or information on syntax • Information for job beginners to support rapid learning on the new job • Information from seminars that should be directly accessible • Solving math problems, with heuristic strategies, questions, useful mathematical principles and tools for dealing with mathematical objects (a pet subject of mine) • Creative writing • Self-help, with suggestions for analyzing and overcoming personal problems • Personal growth, with questions about your aims and suggestions for change in your life On most of these topics there are numerous excellent books. Condensing information from these books into tool maps is simple. Tool maps allow you to transform dormant information from books into working knowledge. Advantages • User-friendly tutoring: Tool maps provide large amounts of support information at a keystroke. You do not have to use another program or another file. Help is simply there where you need it. • Reminder function: Tool maps remind you of tools you might otherwise have overlooked. • Flexibility: You can adapt the tool maps to any kind of problem and any kind of expertise. • Working knowledge: With tool maps, information from books, seminars or talks with your collegues quickly becomes part of your working knowledge: First, you do some active work on that information by integrating it into a tool map. After that, you can access this information most easily. It is quite easy to extract the essential information from a book. In contrast to merely reading a book, its content can become part of your work by using help maps. • Knowledge management: By sharing tool maps, information and working knowledge can be circulated quickly. This is of prime importance for companies, schools and universities. • Self-improving: The tool map concept encourages you to improve your ‘toolbox‘ for mental work. This improves not only your set of tool maps, but at the same time your working habits. Miscellaneous ideas • Tool maps should be searchable from the principal map. Otherwise it might be difficult to find relevant information in large tool maps. • It might be useful to edit the tool map directly in your principal map. • The help branches could be adapted to the principal map (with regard to size, font etc.). • If the tool map is large, the distance between the branch from which you started help and the help branch you have chosen by doubleclicking may be considerable. Animations could help avoid confusion. 6
Using Tool Maps Literature I have used ideas from the following books. De Bono, Edward: de Bonos neue Denkschule. Mvg Verlag, Landsberg 2002 Buzan, Tony: The Mind Map Book. BBC Books, London 1995 Buzan, Tony: Business Mind Mapping. Ueberreuter, Frankfurt 1999 Dörner, Dietrich: Problemlösen als Informationsverarbeitung. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1987 Dörner, Dietrich: Die Logik des Misslingens. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1989 Dörner, Dietrich: Bauplan für eine Seele. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1998 Engel, Arthur: Problem-Solving Strategies. Springer, New York 1998 Funke, Joachim: Problemlösendes Denken. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2003 Higgins, James M.: 101 Creative Problem Solving Techniques. The New Management Publish Company, Winter Park 1994 Hoenig, Christopher: The Problem Solving Journey. Perseus Publishing 2000 Jones, Morgan D.: 14 Powerful Techniques for Problem Solving. Three Rivers Press, New York 1998 Mason, John: Hexeneinmaleins. Oldenbourg, München 1985 Michalko, Michael: Cracking Creativity. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley 2001 Nelson-Jones, Richard: Using Your Mind. Cassell, London 1997 North, Klaus: Wissensorientierte Unternehmensführung. Gabler, Wiesbaden 2002 Von der Oelsnitz, Dietrich; Hahmann, Martin: Wissensmanagement. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2003 Polya, George: How to Solve it. Princeton 1957 Pricken, Mario: Kribbeln im Kopf. Schmidt, Mainz 2001 Robertson, S. Ian: Problem Solving. Psychology Press 2001 Sell, Robert; Schimweg, Ralf: Probleme lösen. Springer, Berlin 2002 Zeitz: The Art and Craft of Problem Solving. Wiley, New York 1999 5. December 2003, slightly revised 13. November 2008 © Dr. Thomas Teepe Alosenweg 37 70329 Stuttgart Germany E-mail: email@example.com 7
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