Last night a friend and I went to see A Mighty Heart, based on the killing of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl and the subsequent book written by his wife, Marianne. As she and the police tried to trace her husband’s journey into a network of terrorists they frequently updated a whiteboard, drawing all kinds of arrows and pasting headshots next to relevant sources and contacts. It looked confusing to me, but mindmapping applications sound like a similar (though obviously electronic) approach.
A company called Zengobi, for example, announced on Tuesday the release of Curio 4, an upgrade to its project management and brainstorming software for Mac OS X. The latest features include mindmapping — a visual brainstorming technique that helps users connect words and ideas, and figure out how disparate concepts can be related. This is an interesting idea, because it shows how IT managers can facilitate a whole new kind of decision-making process in their organizations, and one which they can become a participant in as well.
Although it can be a bit too free-form for my taste, if used properly mindmapping can potentially unlock a lot of ideas we normally shunt aside. If you want to learn more before purchasing a product like Curio, I’d recommend a book called How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day by Michael J. Gelb, which included a detailed discussion on mindmapping.
As for Curio, 15- and 60-day trial versions are available for download, but pro versions are US$149.