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The 12 Days of Mind Mapping: 9 Reasons to Mind Map Your Projects

On the ninth day of mind mapping, we’d like to share with you…9 reasons mind mapping might be the ideal path for your project. Plus: 8 MindManager Features7 terms to know6 awesome tips5 mappers’ stories4 Maps for That3 things to do2 favorite blogs, and a robust eCard resource for the holidays.

Below are nine reasons your project or brainstorming session could be perfect material for a mind map.

1. It Makes Sense to Your Brain

Studies show that 50% of the average human brain is focused on visual processing; mind mapping allows you to support these cognitive efforts with visualization of every element of a project, like tasks, resources, stakeholders, and schedules.

2. It’s Easier to Understand

Research found that people were able to understand and retain complex information 95% better when it was presented in text and pictures. Project teams that don’t face a constant need to remind themselves of goals are in a much better position to execute efficiently and successfully.

3. It Supports Enhanced Performance

On that note, people following directions that include both text and illustrations perform 323% better on assignments than people following directions that are presented as text-only. Imagine what this could do for inter-dependencies!

4. Mind Maps are Called Mind Maps for a Reason

Mind mapping is the physical manifestation of something called radial thinking. The visual network of ideas in a mind map reflects the dendritic nature of the brain, mirroring the way our brains actually store and process information by applying context to ideas. This is extremely beneficial for projects with multiple moving pieces and elements that may not clearly fit together, but that are co-dependent.

5. It Improves Overall Memory Function

In an age of too much data and too little capacity to deal with it, memory is key. From Think Buzan: “A study by Farrand, Hussain and Hennessey (2002)ii found that Mind Mapping improved the long-term memory of factual information in medical students by 10%.”

6. It Makes You More Productive

Research found that projects displayed in visual maps allow individual project members to be 17% more productive. They also don’t have to try as hard to get things done, because they’re using 20% fewer mental resources. Improved productivity = greater ROI.

7. It Strengthens Collaborative Processes

Mind maps, especially when created with collaborative software, are great for capitalizing on contributions from multiple people. From Zampetakis et al (2007)xii: “Students preferred to work with Mind Maps in teams. This allowed them to develop synergistic interaction, assemble collective knowledge and work with a group minded attitude. The flow of communications between group members also contributed to the creative process.”

8. It Drives Transparent Communication

One of the most prolific roadblocks in project execution is ambiguity. Mind mapping helps foster more open communication by bringing clarity and simplicity to complicated processes, showing project steps and progress, and demonstrating how different needs and resources fit together and relate to one another. Plus, because everything is easy to locate, questions can get asked and addressed rather than forgotten about until the last second.

9. It Helps Solve Problems

Mind maps help project teams better clarify goals and explore relationships between ideas in order to generate solutions to different problems. By allowing the entire team to see issues, choices, and potential risks, it grants a more effective, big-picture perspective that can still be pared down as necessary. Mind maps also make it easier to integrate new project elements, organize information more logically, and help teams respond to unexpected changes more flexibly.

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