01 August 2006

Mind Tools

Our mental model affects how we think. If our mental model is wrong, we will fail to see the thing that we should or make a wrong decision on the inputs we received.

So far, the most effective way to capture our mental model is through a Mindmap. If you are good at programming, you can even capture your mental model as a Prolog program and it can help you make inference and do decision making. For most mortals like me, we can at least take the 1st step to draw out a mindmap.

There are many good free Mindmaping software available.

Here are some of my recommendations and comments.

Mind map based software tools:
  1. Freemind. http://freemind.sourceforge.net & its fork, even better, Freeplane.
  2. Xmind ... able to easily switch presentation forms. e.g. tree to fishbone to spreadsheet etc.
Concept Map based:
  1. Cmaps. http://cmap.ihmc.us/
  2. VUE Concept Map based.
Specialized Model:
  1. Compendium. http://www.compendiuminstitute.org/

For the commercial ones, there are
  1. Mindmanager from Mindjet, Novamind, ... and many others.
  2. Axon: A flexible tools for all occasions even for simulation and ideas generation, graphical computation etc.
  3. Personal Brain  : a unique ideas capturing, organizing and presentation tools.
  4. Even for iphone and Android phones, there are good mindmapping apps like ithought etc
Mindmapping is the easiest and faster to use to relate ideas. In future posting, we will discuss about the types of relationship between ideas. Concept Map, CMaps, is a more rigorous than mindmap. It imposes the requirement of a linking-word between concepts. Compendium is a specialized mapping for IBIS. Mindmap are typical hierarchical or Tree-base and hence easier for automatic drawing. Cmaps, VUE and Compendium are Network based - i.e. a node can have more than one parent. They are more flexible but it takes more time to draw them. However, you gain control on how you want to layout the map.

Axon is an interesting combinations of many things ... a drawing tools for various types of maps, a simulation tools, an idea generator etc. Because of it computational capability, it can be used to draw Influence Diagram ... Excel formulas in Pictorial forms. It can be used for presentation and so forth. If you need processing and diagramming together without much programming needs, then Axon is a good software to use.

Web Based Collaborative Tools

Mindmeister provides not only a good web-based mind mapping tools but also provides it with real time collaborative capability. There is a free version that limit you to 3 mind-maps for you to try out.

See also:  mind extender - the killer apps after office 

updated 26 May 2011 - Lim Liat copyrighted 2006-2011
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