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 , 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-

* Cmaptools —

* Mindmeister

* Thinkgraph (

* VYM – View Your Mind (

* Kdissert (

* MindManager- (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