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Why Start a Mind Mapping User Group?

By: David Halverson (Guest Blogger)

This is the first in a series of blog posts by David Halverson, discussing the topic of building a mind mapping community within your company. You can read his full series by clicking on the links below:

Building a Mind Mapping Community at Work

What is a mind mapping community?

As the name implies, a community of mind mappers is a group of employees that have been exposed to mind mapping at some point and wish to further their personal skills or wish to promote it within their company.  Her are the characteristics of a mind mapping community:

  • Members are often visually oriented, and so they are attracted to the fluid, colorful and graphical methods used in mind mapping.
  • Members are typically early-adopters or first-movers who see the benefits of mind mapping.
  • Members want to improve their own personal skills including better organization, better documentation, better innovation technique, etc.
  • Members are often project managers who appreciate the mind mapping methods but also use mind mapping software to move a project forward.
  • The community meets regularly in person or on a conference call to discuss some aspect of mind mapping or to report on progress of training or success with expanding the user-base within the company.
  • Presentations are often made by mind mapping experts or fellow mind mappers within the community regarding some success that they have had.
  • The community sets objectives and probably elects some leadership as it grows. We will discuss that in a later blog.
  • The community may or may not have company support.

Why have a mind mapping community?

Many companies are promoting ‘communities’ of experts in a given field to:

  • Distribute knowledge amongst the members;
  • Retain critical knowledge if someone leaves; and
  • Build an expert resource to help resolve critical or intractable problems that the company encounters.

Why should YOU start a community?

David Halverson - Idea Mapping

David Halverson
Previously Mindjet’s Customer Success Manager
Worked at The Boeing Company for 30 years

The first question is why would YOU want to invest your time and effort in building such a community?  This is not an easy task, so why do it?  There are a variety of reasons but here’s a few:

  • You realize that mind mapping can really help your company and your colleagues be more successful. You might be on a mission or you might want to just make a difference.
  • You really enjoy learning about mind mapping or the software and believe you can learn even more by leading a community.
  • You would like to lead a community for the leadership opportunity. If you don’t have leadership opportunities afforded you, make your own opportunity.
  • You would like to lead a community for the visibility across the company…don’t get stuck where no one can see your skills.

All of these reasons are valid but I like the first two the best.  If you have experience with mind mapping and/or a software tool such as MindManager, you know the upsides to working with this methodology and the software tools available…and they are substantial!  If you get recognized for sticking your neck out and starting a community, you can expect the thanks of your members and maybe your management. But you will definitely learn a lot about mind mapping, mind mapping tools, your company, how to lead and what it takes to keep a community together.

What are some practical considerations before you start?

You should do a quick assessment of your skills, available time and company environment before you launch.

  • Do you know mind mapping or a mind mapping tool pretty well?
  • Do you have the organizational skills to be able to organize meetings and meeting facilities, obtain speakers, send meeting notices, coordinate with management as required and work with other communities at your business?
  • Can you make some time during your work-day or is this effort going to be off-hours?
  • What is your management support for such an activity? You may not need it but it would surely be nice.
  • Do you have meeting rooms that you can use or can you link everyone on a telecon like Skype?
  • Do you have a small core group of like-minded individuals in mind that would help you to launch?

Up Next in the Series: Building the Community

The next blog post in this series will discuss issues associated with starting and maintaining a mind mapping related community. The concepts are transferable to other types of communities as well of course.

In our next blog we will discuss ways to get started and resources that you might need.  Much of it depends upon you and the environment within your company.

Talk soon!

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About the Author: 

Dave Halverson has teamed up with Jamie Nast, creator and internationally known trainer of over 25,000 students to offer a one-day course titled ‘Idea Mapping Using MindManager’.  The course is offered through Bellevue College in Bellevue Washington but can be held any place in the US. The next class will be held Saturday May 19, 2018 in Bellevue.

Dave was previously Mindjet’s Customer Success Manager and worked for 30 years at The Boeing Company as a systems analyst, business analyst and project manager for various Boeing divisions.  He was President and Director of the N/W Electronic Commerce Roundtable and 8 years ago started the Boeing Mind Mapping Interest Group which grew from a dozen members to over 600.  He has also taught business at Bellevue College and City University in Bellevue Washington. Dave can be contacted at blackdiamondmind@gmail.com or Jamie through her website.


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