How to Improve Business Processes with Mind Mapping
By Joel Roberts
Mind mapping is not a new technique. People have been creating visual diagrams that explain the relationship between ideas for centuries. Now new developments in mind mapping software have made this method accessible, however. Many different types of thought maps can be created easily and shared across a variety of platforms. Nowhere is this more important than the business world, where success often depends on making a connection between data and ideas.
The Process of Planning
Effective planning is one of the most important processes for any business, whether it’s a large company, or a small family owned operation.
- Business model – a business model is the basic design by which a company will generate revenue. It includes the goods or services offered, the methods clients use to obtain these goods and services, and the need or niche the product can fill. Many types of business models must incorporate a number of complex factors. Mind mapping can put a startup on the right track with a well-known model like the Osterwalder Business Canvas or let you design your own original concept.
Mission – the mission explains why a business model exists. Profit for a person or an organization may play a part, but usually there is a larger goal as well, such as serving a group of people or offering a quality service. Mind mapping techniques can help to brainstorm and identify these underlying threads so that they can be used in advertising and marketing campaigns.
Long range goals – there are number of different strategic planning models that can be effective, either at the start of a business or throughout its growth. Numerous professional techniques such as SWOT Analysis, the McKinsey 7s Framework, or DESTEP Analysis can be easily plugged into existing mind mapping templates, so you don’t have to be an expert to put these strategies to use in your business. Risk factors can be analyzed and compared before any new project is begun.
Day to Day Function
Mind mapping software can smooth out the daily function of any organization and stream-line time management so that the most important tasks get accomplished.
- Short term goals – a weekly mind map can put priorities in the right place, whether it’s a personal strategy, or a manager guideline shared among a group of employees. Weekly goals can be laid out visually, either as a concept map or a flow chart. This will help each member of the team understand how their task fits into the whole picture.
Meetings – mind mapping can focus any meeting, whether it is part of a presentation, or a printed leaflet passed around to staff members. Mind maps are easy to use in a slide show or a power point presentation.
Employee evaluations – mind mapping is a valuable tool for assessing the strengths and weaknesses of different team members. Yearly evaluations become less of a chore with the easy to use templates. Personal hand drawn maps can help identify the right person for each task and initiate better hiring choices.
Effective problem solving is necessary to keep a company on the right track and help it expand.
- Analyzing Data – mind maps are a great way to display data and share it among a group of people so that everyone can see what needs to change.
Identifying the source of a problem – mind maps can help to show visual relationships between different ideas, even elements that might not seem related at first. This type of complex, causal, analysis can identify the less obvious sources of a problem.
Effective solutions – group brainstorming is possible with mind mapping software because it allows each person to contribute sharable ideas. This can give a company more tools to find solutions and help make all team members feel like they are part of the process.
Mind mapping software is easy to use for anyone familiar with basic Microsoft Office programs. It’s compatible with any type of computer system, and adaptable to many different personal styles. This valuable technology can open up a range of opportunities and help business processes run more smoothly at all levels.
Joel Roberts is an account manager and a project management author for more than 12 years, working on Seavus’ Microsoft Project Viewer – a standalone viewer for team members who only need to view and analyze project plans. Her takes on PM have been featured more than a dozen project management websites.