Wednesday, May 21st, 2008


So recently I  decided I wanted to explore a tool for helping me to organise some of my ideas, projects and activities. I had heard about a software tool called ‘mind mapping’ which i wanted to try out.But a simple search online gave a number of commercial and open source options–with little way for a novice like me to be able to make a reasonable choice. So what to do?

As a member (although mostly a lurker) of the KM4dev online community (can join through http://www.km4dev.org/) , I must say I have been continuously impressed by the wonderful sense of community and helpfulness displayed by so many in the KM4dev community–especially when requests for help are made.I had recently been exposed to a fellow member make a request of information on a certain topic with an amazing response given with many tools, tips and discussions being shared; so I decided to try my luck and put forward a request for:

anyone out there who knows of ‘mind map/mapping’ software? The catch is that what I need should be 1)free, 2) easy to use, and 3)easy to download in poor connectivity/low bandwidth environments.”

…and asked- “Does anyone know of anything that fits the bill?

The response was amazing. Within 24 hours I received close to 25 responses.

I was told about:

* Freemind- http://freemind.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

* Cmaptools — http://cmap.ihmc.us/

* Mindmeisterhttp://www.mindmeister.com/

* Thinkgraph (http://www.thinkgraph.com)

* VYM – View Your Mind (http://www.insilmaril.de/vym/)

* Kdissert (http://freehackers.org/~tnagy/kdissert/).

* MindManager-http://www.mindjet.com/us/ (Not free)

..each with varying perceptions from my responders about their particular strengths and value.

I learnt that I can use mind mapping for:

* planning reports and presentations

* simplifying complex issues

* convincing people to my point of view

* documenting ideas

* capturing discussions

..and even do my CV

 

Interesting points were also raised, in which we were asked to consider:

* “possible serious limitations from a KM perspective if mindmapping uses a single central node – be it for a problem or an idea – from which all related issues cascade hierarchically”

*perhaps the best mind mapping “software” is pencil and paper

All in all, I got some great software and uses tips- a better collection which could probably be found no where else. I have to say that this is really what knowledge sharing is all about and represents what a network should be all about. I appreciate all the time, effort and knowledge that people in the network put into the replies–put into knowledge sharing.

 

Special thanks to KM4dev’ers:

Sebastian, Luca, Boris, Mike, Mark Berthelmy ,Hege, Nick, Patrick, Chris, Jorit, Mark Hammersley, Nynke, Matthew, George, Frank, Simon, Barbara, Michael and Joitske

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I have been a supporter of the CGIAR Consortium of Spatial Information (CSI) since I started my job in the CGIAR.  This is a group of highly competent, committed individuals with a common idea: using Geographic tools and methods to better Serve the Global Agricultural Research and Development Community.

The ICT-KM program supported the CSI through funding an initial project which led to the creation of a wealth of metadata records which allow for the easy access to many georeferenced scientific resources of the CGIAR. More details at  CSI

There are many exciting new and emerging opportunities from both a technology and a funding perspective. The group looked at what role CSI can play in helping its members best tap these new opportunities in cost effective ways, and help raise awareness and foster action around improving the packaging and delivery of CSI member data, tools and analysis to a broader range of users. Details of the meeting at CSI meeting  
The energy, enthusiasm and commitment were palpable throughout the 3 days of the meeting!