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Tag Archives: iMindMap in Motion

4 Tips to Get Your Children Back to School – no fuss, no muss

The end of the summer holidays usually means frantic shopping, sulking children and grumpy parents.  It doesn’t have to be that way though – there is another way to settle back into the school routine!  Read on to see our top 4 tips to turn last minute mayhem into blissful efficiency…

1. Establish a Routine

One of the hardest adjustments after the long summer break is getting the kids back into the routine of early nights, early mornings, homework time etc.  The same goes for the parents.  You have to fit in school runs, making packed lunches, working around after-school clubs and whatever else your youngsters are up to.  Well getting organised is key to making the transition as smooth as possible.

Weekly Routine

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6 Ways to Activate Your Child’s Mind in the Summer Holidays. . . For FREE

Mother_Chidl

The summer holidays have just begun, and every parent is wondering how to fill the time. The kids are already getting bored, it’s raining outside and every toy has been played with. Forget dusting off that old scrabble board; instead why not get the kids to give Mind Mapping a go, with our free iMindMap Basic software.

There aren’t many things out there that are completely free AND fun and entertaining but iMindMap Basic is. More than that, it will fire up your child’s grey matter and bring out their inner creativity. You can download it straight to your desktop from our website and get started in minutes. Easy to use and the perfect platform to get the kids thinking.
So onto what to do with iMindMap Basic once you have downloaded it…here are our 6 top thinking tips for getting creative this summer:

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iMindMap & Crunch – Creative Accounting

Part 4 of iMindMap in Motion

Crunch Logo

Creative and different are not the first two words that spring to mind when you hear ‘accountancy company’.  Not to say that accountants are uncreative, but the industry image is distinctly lacking in colour.

Not another brick in the wall

Online accountancy company, Crunch, certainly can’t be accused of being ‘grey’.  One look at their website and blog and you are confronted by bright colours, content full of personality, a complete absence of jargon and surprisingly frequent movie references.  They even refer to their base of operations as Castle Crunchenstein.

Everything about Crunch is designed to take the pain out of sorting your finances – they make complicated simple and dull fun.  It is no wonder then that the MD of Crunch came to us for iMindMap – that’s what our software is all about.  What we know, and what Darren from Crunch knows, is that grey pages full of unintelligible business jargon may look the part, but that doesn’t make them effective.  Boredom and confusion do not incite innovation or efficiency.

I spoke to Darren Fell, MD of Crunch, to find out more about this up and coming company and how they decided to bring Mind Mapping into the equation.

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Mind Map for Strategic Change

Part 3 of iMindMap in Motion

CINDI logo

The Children in Distress Network (CINDI) has been in existence for around 12 years, located in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.  KwaZulu-Natal has the highest prevalence of HIV and AIDS, and is rife with unemployment and poverty.  CINDI works with about 300 non-profit organisations in the area; from emerging grassroots, community-based organisations, to larger NGOs.  All have the common goal of wanting to help children, who are infected by, or affected by HIV and AIDS.

CINDI provides coordination and collaboration between these different organisations.  It helps them to share information, work together, avoid duplication and improve their organisational capabilities.

CINDI-organogram-wheel-2007

I have been in contact with Neill Stevenson, a programme manager at CINDI, since we donated licenses to the organisation last year.  I spoke with him recently and he provided some great feedback on how they’ve been using iMindMap to facilitate an entire strategic planning process in the network.

The project that Neill works on is funded by a large international donor.  It includes a consortium of 4 fairly large non-profit organisations who are working together in a partnership and providing a comprehensive package of services to 13,000 orphans and vulnerable children in the area.  It’s a big project, with lots of funding, a big staff and a lot of collaboration and coordination that needs to take place.  Neill has been using iMindMap to facilitate a process of strategic planning and change on the project.

“We review and revise our strategic plan every couple of years and this was the first time we tried using Mind Mapping. We had to do a very thorough process of consulting various internal and external stakeholders, capturing their information and putting it all together into different components of the strategic plan.”

Read on for the 5 stages of their strategic planning process…

1. Brainstorming

“I was able to use the iMindMap software to capture the different thinking of people in the various consultations as we gathered information and brainstormed ideas.  We worked with a laptop and a projector, so that as people were sharing their ideas, I was able to get it all into a Mind Map and project it onto the screen.  Everyone could see the thinking evolving as I drew links between branches, and shifted priorities by moving branches around.”

Brainstorming maps

“Previously, we have just used flipcharts, which is fine as far as it goes – but it’s not dynamic.  But with iMindMap, whilst we were talking, we were immediately able to cluster ideas together, priortise them, and create new themes.  It was a much more engaging and fruitful process.  Then at the end of it we had a document that everybody has consensus on.  Rather than going away and creating minutes using the various sheets from the flipchart, and circulating them to everybody to get their feedback, this was all done in one step. ”

“It was more effective and more efficient. We got a better result and everyone was very happy.”

2. Analysing

The information then needed to be pulled together and analysed.  Different strategic themes had to be identified and the priorities going forward determined.

With the help of the software, CINDI were able to decide that there were two main themes, or areas.  The networking and advocacy that had always been the core of what they did, and another area that had emerged as being of new importance.

Far more new members were small, emerging organisations – small groups of people who have come together in the community in order to respond to a particular need, with minimum resources and minimum skills, and very little organisational capacity and structure.

“They register as a non-profit organisation, which is fairly easy to do, but they will have very little chance of actually mobilising further resources, because they don’t have the skills and the structure.”

“We realised we needed to place more emphasis on capacity building and resource mobilisation.  We decided we would need to develop a whole new division of the organisation which is devoted to that area.”

CINDI Strategic Plan map

3. Strategising

“Using the iMindMap software we were able to structure our ideas and present them very effectively as we went through the development stages of this new strategic focus area.”

“We were able to very clearly show how the various components fit together.  We developed a modular system where small organisations can receive a small amount of money that could be used to implement their projects and also receive both training and mentoring.  The larger organisations would mentor the smaller organisations and we would outsource training on the key areas that organisational sustainability is founded on – things like project management, monitoring and evaluation, basic financial management and human resources. ”

By the time an organisation has gone through the whole programme, not only have they been able to offer services to their beneficiaries, the children, but they have been able to demonstrate that they have the training and capacity necessary and so are able to attract funding in their own right.

4. Project Management

“We used the project management feature of iMindMap to do the basic project plan which we then exported to Microsoft Project.  Within iMindMap, it was very easy to set up and get the basic structure in place in a form that everyone could see and everyone could understand and agree on.”

CINDI Project Plan

5. Presenting and Approval

The final stage of the process was to present the plan to the various stakeholders and gain their consensus and buy in.  When he presented to the Board of Trustees, Neill used iMindMap’s Presentation View.

Presenting with iMindMap“Everybody was absolutely delighted by the presentation mode, because we are all used to seeing PowerPoint presentations.  That’s fine, but the way iMindMap Presentation View focuses on the particular topic that is being discussed, and then moves onto the next topic in a dramatic motion certainly captured the attention, and held the attention of the boardroom members.

“It had a lot more impact than the traditional, linear, slide show approach.  Then of course at the end of it we had the map that the board members could take away with them to refresh their memory in a glance.”

“I don’t know of anything else that can do all of those things.  I certainly haven’t found anything that has been nearly as effective.  It saved me dozens and dozens of hours of time.  Meetings have gone more quickly, produced better results, people have walked away with a better understanding of what’s happening and a higher level of commitment to it because they’ve been a part of the decision making process.”

“iMindMap is so intuitive that it doesn’t take much to get into it.  And when you’re into it, you forget how you ever managed without it.”

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To find out more about CINDI and the work they do, visit their website: www.cindi.org.za

See what you can do with iMindMap 5 and download it for FREE today.

Get Organised with an iMindMap Document Management System

Part 2 of iMindMap in Motion

Our users are always coming up with ingenious ways to use the iMindMap software that continue to surprise us.  Mind Mapping is often called the ‘swiss army knife for the brain’ and we are enjoying seeing what new directions our users will take it in.

One such organisation, The Penspen Group, have made a particularly strategic use of the iMindMap software.  Specialising in engineering and project management services for the oil and gas industry, Penspen are well-versed in taking on a lot of information from a client and having to make sense of it.PenspenWhen one of the world’s largest oil and gas corporations came to them to overhaul their document management system, presenting them with almost 20 years of historical data to plough through, they knew it was going to take a very different approach and it was decided they would try out Mind Mapping.

After conducting a review of the different Mind Mapping software tools on the market, Penspen selected iMindMap as the tool to recommend.  Mohamed Dafea, Senior Engineer at Penspen and an instrumental part of the project, said that iMindMap was the best choice because ‘it was the easiest to use and had the most intuitive user interface’.  As the system is to be rolled out throughout a large organisation, it was vital that it require little or no training.

Penspen logo“Mind Maps were used to visualise the new data structure so that information is easily accessible for their engineers and can be transferred across their organisation.  This is expected to save time and cost for us and our clients.”

The document management system makes use of the Inserting Links feature of iMindMap.  By creating different Mind Maps to represent the different tiers of the system, Penspen have made a way to visually navigate your way to any file very quickly.  Within each Mind Map the branches represent the different folders.  Links to jump down the tiers of the system (to other Mind Maps), and finally to the files themselves, are inserted on every branch.

InfoLinks to files or websites can be inserted very easily by right-clicking on any branch and selecting Insert Link.  Once the Inserting Links window opens you can either choose weblinks, or select files and browse to the file’s location.  Once selected this file will be attached to the branch and the blue Link icon will appear on it.

Here’s how it’s done…

1. The first map will show the different subsidiaries of the company in various countries.  The user can then click on the blue link for the country they want.

First map in the document system hierarchy

First map in the document system hierarchy

2. This will then open up a new map showing the different pipelines within that country:

Second tier of system

Second tier of system

3. Selecting the link on one of the pipelines would lead the user to another new map showing all of the different folders of information about that particular pipeline.

Third Tier Map

Third Tier Map

4. From there they can click on any link on the branches and iMindMap will open up the specific file they need.

The Pack & Go feature (new to iMindMap 5) makes this system even easier to roll out across the organisation.  They can use Pack & Go to zip up the Mind Maps and all of their linked files into one neat folder and send it out to the staff to start using straight away.

“We believe that the new ‘Document Management System’ using Mind Maps is very powerful and will help Oil and Gas operators to meet their regulatory requirements and support internal and external auditing.”

The team over at The Penspen Group have created a very simple and logical system for locating files within a large organisation.  They have saved employees valuable time usually spent searching, and streamlined the whole process by ignoring the status quo and trying something different.

You don’t need to be an international corporation to try out a similar system.  The simple idea of linking maps and files to visually represent your computer’s folders can be applied anywhere.  Why not organise your personal computer so you can quickly and easily find documents on finance, holidays, events or health.  If you’re a student, what better way to sort your work into subjects, then topics, modules, assignments, revision?

See what you can do with iMindMap 5 and download it for FREE today.

Do it like the Royals – 5 Steps to Planning a Wedding Stress-Free

Part 1 of iMindMap in Motion Series

Will & Kate29th April 2011 is a date firmly circled on the calendar of millions around the globe.  An estimated 2 billion people will tune in to watch the nuptials of a future King and Queen of England.  And why the hype?

Whilst it is certainly an important day that will become a part of our cultural history, the main reason we will all be perched on the edge of our seats, riveted and thrilled, is because we know it will be a fantastic show.

Nobody can do a wedding like the Royal family can do a wedding.  Everyone remembers where they were when Charles and Diana gave shy waves from the steps of Westminster and, even though we have no personal connection to Will and Kate, we want to be a part of the glamour and ageless elegance they will deliver.

Around 1,900 people will attend the service at Westminster Abbey, 650 will attend the lunchtime reception at Buckingham Palace and 300 the dinner that evening.  This is a wedding of epic proportions and it has all been arranged in less than 6 months!  Just thinking about the planning involved and pressure for perfection are enough to make you reach for a nice cup of tea and thank heavens you’re on the other side of the TV screen.

The Mall

I have had my own taste of the half-crazed world of wedding planning recently, after my good friend Lyndsey asked me to be her Maid of Honour.  Thrilled to be asked, I was unaware of the chaos I would soon be a part of.  How I soon longed for those halcyon days when I was oblivious to the politics of hen party planning and the logistics of transporting and accommodating over 100 people in peak wedding season.

The breaking point came when my formerly calm and rational friend was weeping (yes, weeping) hot tears of frustration over her laptop whilst trying to order the wedding invitations, ‘because the text just. wont. fit. on.’  Enough was enough.

Tea and biscuitsI took the laptop from her, swept the mound of magazines, leaflets and scrap paper off the coffee table, and took out my laptop.  After making her a strong cup of tea and insisting she eat a chocolate biscuit whilst the computer loaded up, I opened up iMindMap. (Now available free)

We spent the next hour going through every little detail of the wedding plans and what needed to be done.  From the Order of Service to mudwraps, we covered it all.  Just talking through everything and mapping it out in a simple and unintimidating format managed to ebb the tide of tears and soon we were looking the monster in the eye and saying ‘well, that’s not so bad.’

And here is how it’s done…

1. Begin by chucking in everything you can think of that needs to be done, from the small decisions to the mammoth tasks, branching them off in every direction.  Don’t worry too much about structure yet – you just want to try and unload what’s currently bouncing around in your head into iMindMap.

2. Next you need to make some sense of the mess.  Start grouping branches together under the main elements of the event – service, reception, pre-wedding, honeymoon, the Bridal Party, miscellaneous – however works best for you.  Create sub-topics within these, such as clothes, or transport, and wherever possible use an image instead of text to keep the map visual and dynamic.

Wedding Mind Map

Organising and Grouping Tasks

(click images and expand to full screen)

3. Add deadlines wherever appropriate.  Use icons as well, such as colour coding with flags, so that you can easily filter your map to find all of the tasks that need doing immediately, before the day, on the day and so on.  If you really want to go all out, you can use iMindMap’s Project View and the Tasks tab to set milestones, predecessors and link up to Microsoft Outlook.

Secondary Tasks

Map filtered by orange flags to show secondary tasks

4. Add any relevent files or webpages to the corresponding branches on your map.  You can link to the guestlist, hotel website, attach images of the bridesmaid dresses and venue.  Anything to do with the big event should be either seen on the map, or within one click of the map.  This isn’t just the plan and To Do list, it is the wedding filing system!

5. Throw away all of the scribbled To-Do’s you have accumulated and bask in the glow of the organised art on your screen.

The Warlow-Thomas Wedding

The Warlow-Thomas Wedding

Now this is a living document, so keep referring to it, adding to it, ticking things off.  Whenever things are getting overwhelming again, pull out a print out of your Wedding map and remember that nothing that can fit on one piece of paper can possibly be that scary.  Go back to the drawing board, assess objectively what needs to be done, prioritise and get on with it.  As you tick things off the list you can minimise branches using Expand & Collapse to get a clear picture of  the progress you are making.

Keep the inner circle up to date by exporting your map from iMindMap to an image file and emailing it out to everyone regularly – a very quick and easy way to keep the family informed!  Plus, make sure you keep hold of it afterwards to pass onto friends or relatives taking the plunge in the future – as my answerphone and I found out, it doesn’t just benefit the bride to take the stress out of the planning.

That’s all there is to it – whilst I cannot promise that your iMindMap map will defend your big day against hurricanes or power failures, I can promise that it will be an anchor to sanity.  Break it down, divide it up, keep it updated and you can plan a wedding extravaganza with an air of ethereal calm to rival the Royals.Calm woman

Download iMindMap for FREE today

Plus, stay tuned for the next installment in our new series, iMindMap in Motion….