Last week I started an MBA course in Organizational Theory and Design and the professor begin his lecture telling us that he no longer used PowerPoint. That audiences had been slided to death and people no longer paid attention to the slides, or the presenter, or both. He then mentioned that he used a substitute software called Prezi. He admitted that he was a new user of the program and that his movement around the program might be slower. "No problem," I thought, "I am just excited that I am understanding what you are saying and you have not jumped right into business technology. Prezi away!"
The projector turned on and we saw a map of many pictures, words, speech bubbles, quotes, and wavy lines all organized in a creative pattern around the main idea, "What is Organizational Behaviour?" The professor proceeded to slide and glide around the map, scrolling in and out of the text, shapes and pictures making them large enough to see, and referring to a specific concept on the screen only every so often. We sat in amazement at this new program, listening to his words, asking questions, and enjoying the novel 'picture within a text, within a picture' pattern.
(Lomography Mind Map copied from fuzz2buzz Google Images.)
It dawned on me after about 5 minutes that I was not looking a new concept, in fact I had taught my students how to brainstorm this way. We teachers simply call it Mind Mapping. Students are taught to generate ideas that begin with one central concept, then divide it with lines and bubbles into sub-ideas, then progress to even smaller ideas and thoughts. You can add drawings, extra notes, connect thoughts to more than one individual idea; what you do with your mind map is up to your brain. These kinds of maps are very visual and the structure can become what you need it to become. It is pro-ported that this method of thought organization can help you solve problems, more clearly organize thoughts, make decisions and study new subjects. My students and I always enjoyed making individual and group mind maps when learning in our classroom. The only this to be aware of is the possibility that one map can become too large and confusing with thoughts strewn all over the page. Best to keep it a little more simple and uncluttered.
You can use paper and pen to create mind maps, which I do a lot with my own note taking and thought documentation. Or you can use technology versions like:
This is not an extensive list as the internet is full of companies willing to train you in this process (or you can just keep reading my free post.) Tony Buzan, one such trainer, who takes credit for inventing the Mind Map shares his ideas about the process in this quick and informative video.
Did I enjoy the Org Behav lecture because the product was new or was it really as innovative as I first thought? My verdict will be withheld until the end of the course. With more exposure, the novelty and interest may wear off. Even so, try Prezi (developed in Budapest by Adam Somalai-Fischer and Peter Halacsy) for yourself, as it may make large scale presentations far more interesting than the slide shows we have all grown to groan about.
Here is an article in TechCrunch that provides more information.