Idea structuring software

By: Chuck Frey

Giving structure to ideas helps do everything from help draw them together in collective categories to making a collection of information and ideas easier to absorb and memorize. This can either be done simply by putting each idea on a separate, moveable object (for easy restructuring) – what we’ve chosen to call idea bubbles – or by using a cognitive map – a visual representation of thoughts. The best known form of cognitive map is the Mind Map®, devised by British creativity guru Tony Buzan. (If you’d like to hear about Mind Maps from the horse’s mouth, see Buzan’s short video introduction). Such maps can be drawn by hand, but often there is an advantage to be had from putting them together electronically. A computer-based map can be automatically rebalanced as you add new information, and restructured using simple drag and drop techniques.

Of course you don’t need to use software for this. A hand-drawn mindmap is often fine, as is using Post-it notes to rearrange and structure ideas. But often software can help, whether it’s to make restructuring more practical or to ensure that the final results are better presented.

We compare:

Mind mappers
* MindManager
* MindGenius
* VisiMap
* Concept Draw Mind Map
* Freemind

Different approaches
* GyroQ
* OneNote 2003
* Personal Memory Manager

Idea bubbles
* The Creative Thinker
* Visual Concepts
* Decision Explorer
* Spark-Space
* Mind Pad

… and put forward our recommendations in our conclusion.

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