Mind Maps in Action: Jeff Hallett
Can you tell us who you are, what your role is? What does your job involve on a day to day basis?
I’m the director for global business transformation process engineering at Elekta. My job, day to day, is about working with representatives and thought leaders across the company to find ways to improve harmonization and collaboration across our product development centers with the goal of improving time to market and customer delight.
When and why did you first start using mind maps in your working world?
I actually started mind mapping back in the early 90’s. I first started using it to both organize my thoughts on projects and activities and to engage participation dynamically for brainstorming and planning.
What type of tasks are you using mind maps for?
Brainstorming approaches to problems with stakeholders, planning activities and projects, organizing my own thoughts for papers or presentations.
Can you explain how mind mapping helps you with these tasks, and with your job overall?
Mind mapping has an inherent fluid organization to it; I can regroup and recombine ideas in a very dynamic way as my perception and interpretation changes. That means my concepts can group and regroup to higher levels of abstraction as they evolve rather than fitting ideas into a preconceived structure at the onset. Also, the technique is very visual so it is ideal for engaging other participants. The visual nature encourages them to contribute in ways that an outline or bullet list doesn’t (similar to the way sticky notes encourage involvement)
What has your experience been of introducing others to mind mapping?
Very positive. Even if they don’t pick up the technique themselves and start doing it on their own, they enjoy participating in creating mind maps.
What do you think can/should be done to increase adoption of mind mapping?
I think the tooling options are readily available. Finding ways to do mindmapping collaboratively with remote participants would really help in today’s world – having one person drive over a WebEx session for example doesn’t have the same engagement as if someone can add a leaf to a node in the mindmap on their computer or iPad and have the entire audience see it happen in real time. I think also some people hearing about mindmapping think it is some specialized skill or technique – it sounds bigger and fancier than it really is – and that makes it hard for people to approach sometimes. Maybe as a community we can help people see it is just a simple technique and not rocket science.
Is there anything else you'd like to include/share?
I’m glad to have found this community of like-minded people and glad to promote this approach. One of my daughters has already shown me a mindmap she created to help with a recent paper she was writing for a college course and the other will be generating one next week to structure some laboratory experimental results for a paper she is writing for her graduate work.
Thank you to Jeff for sharing his story with us! Find Jeff on Biggerplate for more great maps, and follow him on Twitter. If you would like to share your mind mapping experiences with us, get in touch via Twitter or leave a comment below!