In the past I have run trials with a number of no-cost software packages for mind mapping. FreeMind is one such open-source application that will run on almost any system. This was a great starting but it is a stand-alone application that cannot be used collaboratively online.
In the spirit and practice of web 2.0, I recently searched on Google using the phrase: “online collaborative mind mapping software” and found two products that caught my eye because they were no-cost for individual accounts: MindMeister and Mindono. I decided to start with MindMeister around two weeks ago and have since used it to brainstorm outline business plans with family and colleagues that are based on the hub and spoke model commonly used in the airline and transportation industry. I’ve also use it to create a mind map for exploring a broad range of opportunities for my small business start-up.
MindMeister will allow an individual to create up to 5 mind maps at no-cost and to share these for either synchronous or asynchronous online collaboration. When maps are shared, one or more “friends” (nominated by their email account) can either collaborate and make changes or just view a work in progress. Mind maps can be printed in pdf format or exported as a pdf file, image file, text outline, MindMeister file, FreeMind file, or Mindjet MindManager file. The complete history of various iterations can be seen on a timeline for a full review of all changes and additions.
My brother in Australia is an entrepreneur and and expert in ostrich and emu products. I have been brainstorming a potential new business opportunity with him and he is now “hooked” on MindMesiter. He stated that the mind map has help him summarize a whole range of ideas that were never recorded and to quickly make more connections than is possible with other software packages.
The process of working on the mind map with my brother has also taught me to free-flow ideas and continually make new connections. This is like growing new synapses in the brain: the more you challenge yourself the more you think way “outside the box” and break-down barriers.
I’ll quickly review Mindono and other no-cost web 2.0 business tools in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!