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Sep 3, 2009

Should we actualize the laws of Mind Mapping ?

I made this mind map using NovaMind in order to summarize the laws of Mind Mapping. Those laws are inspired by Tony Buzan, the originator of the actual  Mind Mapping approach.  I could have added some tips but this map represent the common laws actually used by the majority of mind mappers. But, the question is : should we actualize the laws of Mind Mapping ? Mind Mapping Softwares and new directions like Mindscaping are putting in question the validity of the actually recognized laws.

The Laws of Mind Mapping
Here are some of my suggestions :
- Use short blocks of text for adding quotes or short phrases
- Limit the number of main branches from about 4 to about 9, the limits of the working memory capacity
- Use clouds or background's zones in order to underline parts of the map
- Use circles, rectangles and simple geometric shapes for the titles of main branches
- Photos can be used instead of symbols
- Use floating topics, very carefully, to add special information
- Limit the number of colours you use
- Start the main branches lecture from the upper-left or from upper-right axe starting from the centre
- Use the Rule of thirds to positionate main branches, images and titles

Do you have suggestions ?


Catherine said...

Rules are meant to be broken. If someone prepares a map that makes sense to them and it doesn't follow the rules, who are we to stay it's not a mind map? Now if we make mind maps to be read by others, this may be a different story. Then we want to communicate so everyone understands. Then maybe the rules need to be adhered to so that everyone is on the same page. At least, for no other reason, than to begin together.

Avid Mind Mapper on Twitter @catherinefranz

Argey said...

I believe Buzan's guidelines work in some cases but if always strictly applied can stifle the flow of thought and ideas.

Remember guideline 8: "Develop your own personal style of mind maps". This is one that I obey rigorously!

What a mind mapper follows or ignores must depend on the task in hand, the circumstances, and above all the purpose of the map.

I set out my take on this based on some 35 years of mapping (pace Catherine, I know you can add ten years to that!) at the mind mapping wiki:


Philippe Boukobza said...

Catherine and Roy, thank for your very interesting and useful comments. Maybe should we distinguish between subjective (personal or group) Mind Mapping and communication / neutral Mind Mapping.

Wallace Tait said...

I believe Mr Buzan’s regimented rules for Mind mapping are actually beneficial only to those who adhere to Buzan principles. They are not to be completely ignored or disrespected at all, they have value for sure.
I would listen to Catherine and Roy; I do and it pays off to listen to seasoned professionals who have used the tools techniques and Mindset that moves beyond mere Mind mapping.
I classify myself as a “Visual mapper”, one who utilises the expansive tools, methods and Mindset of multiple graphical formats, that eventually evolves into “Knowledge mapping”. Take a look at TopicScape and you get the WOW effect as to what the human brain is capable of regarding knowledge management.
Great question Philippe, I look forward to more of you writing here.
Wallace Tait

Michael Deutch said...

Great advice by all. I follow the same principle: learn the rules and then throw them away. Do what works for you!

One note: when you're working with teams, it makes sense to formalize some rules (e.g. use colors consistently)! In team mapping, a common mapping language (colors, shapes, images, etc...) will accelerate comprehension, decision making, innovation, etc...

Great question. Have a great weekend everyone!

Philippe Boukobza said...

Wallace, Michael, thank you for your very significant contributions to this debate.I'm wondering if new Mind Mappers, the "Digital Natives", who are using Mind Mapping Softwares without learning before to draw mindmaps with hands, have some acquaintance with the Principles of Mind Mapping.

Wallace Tait said...

There seems to be three (3) distinct categories of graphical information management emerging at this time.
1) Mind mapping: strictly radiant format
2) Visual mapping: Multiple graphical formats with embedding functions
3) Knowledge mapping: All of the above with serious database functions that lead the user into the project management and Knowledge governance arena.

Does hand drawn mapping have relevance? You bet it does; I have never actually been a hand drawn mapper, but I have come to understand that the Buzan rules for Buzan Mind mapping are actually very relevant and useful for the strong foundation of the Genesis of effective evolution through the three mentioned arenas.

Just my thoughts :)