The wonderful world of Mind Maps

what the mind maps are

A mind map is a form of graphic representation of thought, theorized by the English cognitivist Tony Buzan.
The objective of a mind map is to take advantage of our visual memory so as to memorize concepts and information more easily. It’s a tool devoted to creativity; this is why all its elements must be rich in colored images that make the representation more pleasant and stimulate the right brain hemisphere, thus favoring mental association.
It’s made up of certain elements that distinguish it; and they are:

  • branches
  • key words that summarize the concepts, eventually articulating them with sub-branches
  • captivating, funny or absurd images that recall concepts
  • bright or contrasting colors that catch the eye
  • connections

Mind maps have a hierarchical-associative structure. This means that two types of connections can be created:

  • hierarchies, called branches, which connect each element to the previous one
  • associative, also called associations, that link elements hierarchically arranged in different points of the map.

The central crux is the most important element, the map’s main theme. The associative relationships help to increase their expressiveness, while highlighting the presence of transversal bonds through arrows.
Usually, the graphic arrangement of the elements is circular.
Mind maps should not be confused with other types of maps such as concept maps, from which they differ in structure, realization model and areas of use.

what they’re needed for

Mind maps can be used both on a personal level and in a work group.
In the first instance, they are particularly effective as tools for taking notes, schematizing concepts, preparing a lecture, organizing a speech, etc. They take advantage of our way of thinking and visual elements to reach out to our memory.
In other words, mind maps can be used to study, to memorize, to plan.

At the workplace, they can be used for brainstorming, to support communication and team building, to identify new ideas, to look for solutions regarding complex problems and much more.
In the web marketing world, they can be used as a project management tool, to create a website’s structure and organize its contents.
As far as the world of bloggers is concerned, they can be useful to identify tags and categories, to create an editorial calendar and create social media marketing strategies.

mind maps and digital tools

Tony Buzan has always recommended to create mind maps on paper, because a manual drawing stimulates the right brain hemispheres which are in charge of creativity, fantasy, intuition, drawing on both what is in the sphere of the conscious, and what is found outside of it (subconscious and unconscious).

Digital maps, however, allow you to extend the scope of application and can be used to:

  • identify and share goals
  • structure projects
  • plan meetings
  • share know-how
  • analyze problems, develop and share solutions
  • create and present business plans
  • manage handovers
  • organize training within the company
  • devise, develop and implement business strategies
  • manage information effectively
  • present ideas and proposals
  • structure documents
  • design in a collaborative manner
  • and much more

what software do I use to create mind maps


In my opinion, mind maps are an indispensable tool, regardless what your line of work may be.
There are numerous programs that allow you to create them directly online, each with different characteristics.
Years ago I chose MindMeister.

MindMeister is online software used to create mind maps that offers all the useful tools to work with.
I chose it because:

  1. you can work in real-time with your team
  2. it’s complete and can be used as a project management tool
  3. it has a smartphone app – Android and iOS – enabling you to have your work always close at hand.

In order to use this mind mapping tool, you need to register and access your dashboard, from which you can start creating a new map.

The tool is user friendly:

  • you can work on the map in the central part of the screen
  • via the right-hand column, you can add and edit elements (notes, comments, links, files and photos) and assign the task to a team member, indicating the priority and progress level
  • in the screen’s lower task bar, you’ll find the commands to access the history of the changes and to display the map as a slide presentation. You can also change the tasks indicated into tasks to be assigned to a team member, as well as access the menu for sharing the map and exporting the document to PDF, RFT, Word, PowerPoint and as an image. Alternatively, you can also print the map you’ve created.

The service is made up of four versions:

  1. Basic:a free plan, with a maximum limit of 3 mind maps;
  2. Personal: at a cost of € 4.99 per month per user, it allows you to create an unlimited number of mind maps, upload files and images, export to PDF and access priority assistance in case of problems;
  3. Pro:at a cost of 8.25 € per month per user, it… allows you to work in teams on the same map in real time, allows you to create multiple accounts managed by an administrator account, provides a tool for statistics and reports, can be integrated with G Suite and enable exporting of maps to Word and PowerPoint
  4. Business: at a cost of 12.49 € per month per user, it… adds authorized access based on the domain of the email indicated, allows for multiple administrator accounts, enables backup and a 24/7 priority support service .

Obviously, the software available to create mind maps is useful, however, as I mentioned previously, you can always use paper and pen, perhaps using a different color to highlight the most important topics or to create a (visual) image that can be associated with the main branches.
The real tool for creating mind maps is your creativity. And your ability to synthesize 😉

I use mind maps every day.
Which software do you use to create yours? Do you use these tools to study or work?
Leave tips, links, questions or ideas in the comments.

Flavia Piantino Gazzano

Digital enthusiast and growth hacker, with a strong passion for new technologies, social media and PR. She uses strategic communication as a strong asset in her life and has a creative approach to problem solving.

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