Monday, December 22, 2008


Sometimes when I'm brainstorming ideas about a problem or perhaps involved in a root cause analysis, there isn't a clear way to record the ideas in a word processing program. Perhaps the ideas are unrelated or you are jumping around. How do you visualize the brainstorming?

One useful tool is mind-mapping software. There are several commercial tools out there but if you just want to see whether you could use it or get a better idea, try FreeMind. It allows you to quickly record your ideas and link them together. There is a lot of flexibility in formatting that allows you to visualize your thoughts and how they are (or aren't) related. I even tried to use it as a mini-database to keep track of projects I was working on. You can attach documents and make links so it works as a high level indexing system if you take the time to set it up properly. The nice thing is that with just a glance, you can visualize what you're working on.

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