Archiv der Kategorie: Creativity

Creativity covers the area from idea generation to concept development.

Mind map 2.0 multiplies your efficacy

In the past, we were prepared for our professional life by learning reading and writing, basic arithmetic and geometry, music, art and sport in ex-cathedra teaching. Group work and business exercises or computers and visualizations were rarely used. An example of an approach is the Mind map. All kinds of ideas, structures and sketches can be created: e.g. brainstorming’s, strategies, goal hierarchies, business developments, project plans, minutes, problem solutions, speeches, time management, etc. The efficacy of Mind mapping can be multiplied by using IT-based tools such as Mindmanager, XMind, iMindMap, iThoughts and others.

In addition to the tips and tricks, the internet also provides rules for mind mapping. The following suggestions are primarily intended to enable the use of IT tools.

  • Anything goes
    Actually when you create your mind map with an IT program, all the common rules are
    no longer necessary. The now realizable size exceeds the limits of a sheet of paper by far. This also applies to the number of branches and the number of detail levels as well as to the labels and other media (see below). The development of a mind map can be done on your own or in a team by using a beamer or large video screen, or even in virtual videoconferences with worldwide distributed participants. Depending on the number of participants, the effort for the coordination of the branches of the resulting map increases.
  • Use the media
    Whereas one is conventionally limited to writing, drawing and gluing images in paper-based mind maps, one can use a wide variety of multimedia objects to integrate them in a tool-based way – texts, images, videos, links, office files, etc.
  • Any contribution counts
    If one works on paper, then the rework, i.e. above all the simplification, is somewhat complicated. In an IT-based mind map, the branches can be reassigned as required, including all sub-branches attached to them. This supports the usual brainstorming approach of simply capturing each post without discussion. That way maps can be developed in separate working groups. The final incorporation creates an aligned, joined result.
  • Be aware of your gut feeling
    A practical feature is the subsequent arrangement of the branches. The graphical presentation supports thereby the intuitive editing of the content. You can move branches into others and get inspired by the new formation. Visual thinking does not simply follow conscious logic. Through the graphical structure, the subconscious mind assists in the alignment. In the interest of a skillful result you should always listen to your gut feeling, even if you cannot always understand the reasoning behind.
  • Keep on going
    Software tools live on their juncture to the world. The Mindmanager offers connectivity to Microsoft products, for example: MS-Excel, MS-Word, MS-PowerPoint and even MS-Project. This means that the captured content can continue to be used in the sequence. Thus, the activities of a project, including dates and dependencies, can be planned with the Mindmanager and then transferred to the MS-Project format.

Bottom line: Tool-supported mind mapping, like Mind map 2.0, expands the use of this approach. This allows the multi-medial creation of mind maps of any size. At the same time, open approaches for the development can be used and sub sequentially integrated to a coherent overall picture. With the graphic representation the subconscious areas of thinking are also used. Eventually, all the results can be reused in classic office tools. Thus, Mind map 2.0, i.e. the use of software-supported mind mapping, multiplies the efficacy of the mind mapping.

Mechanisms of Design

Everybody, who is competing for people’s attention, is looking for starting points that let them stand out from the rush of sensual stimuli. For this purpose we all can rely on basic patterns – Gestalt principles or Gestalt laws. These are mechanisms that can direct, guide and seduce perception.

The media has used for a long time these mechanisms, which are also treated in Gestalt psychology. The following mechanisms describe some basic principles.

  • Mechanism of the figure-ground (1)
    The perception happens quasi-automatically, without deliberately parsing a scene. Thus the attention subconsciously lands in an image on the central object, the figure placed in front of a background. In rare cases, the background comes to the fore and distracts from the actual foreground.
    In order to pack a message easily recognizable, the content should stand out clearly from the background.
  • Mechanism of proximity (2)
    If several things are close to each other, then we perceive them as a group. That way, extensive representations can be divided into smaller areas. Good examples are newspapers in which paragraphs in the print space are delimited from each other by a corresponding white space.
    In order to make the outline of something easier to recognize, related parts should be closer to, with a noticeable distance from each other.
  • Mechanism of continuity (3)
    If things are in line and follow a path that consistently continues across borders, we assume that they belong together. This can be found on maps where lines often cross one another. The observers are able to detect the continuation of a line when ambiguous intersections are avoided.
    Related elements should be arranged in a line and other groups should be clearly differentiated.
  • Mechanism of closure (4)
    If individual elements form a closed form, then we no longer regard the individual building blocks as noteworthy, but rather the resulting form. The meaning then arises from the resulting group.
    Groups can be made visible through an according arrangement of certain elements into a formation.
  • Mechanism of similarity (5,10)
    The same shape or color is a strong indication that they are similar things. In situations that consist of many individual parts, we are able to identify the groups because of the similarity of the elements. In moving constellations groups can also be distinguished due to the same direction of movement.
    Things that belong together should have common features, e.g. shape, color or size. The elements that do not belong should be clearly set off.
  • Mechanism of the common region (6,7,9)
    If individual elements are found in areas separated by a border, we perceive the individual parts in different zones as related. The individual areas result from recognizable borders or areas of different colors, surfaces or shapes. The common regions may result from a simple pattern, such as a chessboard, or from an organic figure.
    Through forming areas by drawing boundaries or designing areas, the respective building blocks can be presented as a group.
  • Mechanism of personal experience (8)
    An important mechanism is the personal experience of the observers. If they already know certain constellations, they recognize the corresponding groups. This becomes understandable, for example, when you learn a new writing system (for example Japanese Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji). Without the familiar types of strokes, non-Asians find it hard to learn the scriptures. Since everyone provides a unique set of experiences, teams recognize more structures than individuals.
    Different people should be involved for detecting groups, since more experience will lead to better creation of groups.

Bottom line: The presented mechanisms are sometimes are called Gestalt principles or Gestalt laws. However, this does not imply that these mechanisms will always work. But our pattern recognition influences the observation of objects like pictures, texts, films, web pages, etc. Our perception is guided through the content by the mechanisms figure-ground, closeness, continuity, closeness, similarity, common region and personal experience- whether we want it or not. The conscious use of the Gestalt principles, the Gestalt laws or the mechanisms of design ensures that we do not send ambiguous messages.