Since our journey began in 2007, MindMeister has become the go-to collaborative online mind mapping tool for millions of teams, students and educators worldwide. From the original pioneers who tested our first beta to today’s 20 million MindMeister users, teams around the world are using the tool to brainstorm, collaborate and foster creativity — including our own. In this post, we look at how the team at Meister uses MindMeister to share knowledge, organize meetings and much more.
Our products help users be more creative, more organized and more productive. As a visual aid, mind maps structure information, allowing you to dive into complex ideas with ease, improving comprehension and recall. Simply creating a mind map stimulates creativity, while the map itself gives depth and structure to all kinds of projects.
We know this because we mind map all the time. MindMeister is central to all aspects of daily work at Meister, from brainstorming new feature ideas to managing meetings to onboarding new team members. Read on for just a few examples of how mind mapping brings out the best in us, and see how you can follow suit.
Find What You Need Fast
Managing knowledge is an essential task for any company. If performed efficiently, knowledge management processes streamline decision-making, support employee development and spark innovation. Sharing collective know-how quickly and easily — without the need for a maze of documents and folders — can help everyone stay informed.
MindMeister helps teams create easily-navigable knowledge maps that act as central repositories on specific topics, keeping information from multiple sources in one place. Better still, you can even link to the relevant folders in external storage locations, including Dropbox, Google Workspaces and more.
Meister’s Partner Management Lead, Raphaela Brandner, uses knowledge maps to great effect. As part of her role supporting partners and making sure they can get the most out of our tools, the ability to organize and share knowledge both internally and externally is invaluable.
As one of the company’s longest-serving team members, Raphaela is convinced of the benefits of mind mapping: “By organizing information in a knowledge map, our teams and partners can stay on the same page and always have a reference point to go back to. For example, the Partner Management Knowledge Map features an FAQ branch, a goals branch and a branch for important links.”
The centralization of corporate knowledge means she can go back to her map if a question arises. When new features are released or processes change, real-time updates mean everyone is brought up to speed in minimal time. Integrating with commonly-used office tools is also a huge plus: to access her knowledge maps quickly, Raphaela uses MindMeister’s Quick Access Chrome extension.
Find out more about how you can start building knowledge maps.
Put Ideas into Action
When kicking off a project, it’s always good to get ideas on the table, fast. Mind maps are the perfect tool to boost your brainstorming sessions, acting as the canvas for brilliant ideas to take shape. MindMeister is designed to be flexible — adapting to your ideas, not the other way around. After adding some key topics to your project’s mind map, you can share it with your team to get their feedback directly. Let collaborators add new branches, discuss ideas in comments or collect up or down votes directly on each topic.
Here’s a handy guide on using mind maps for project management.
Once you’ve planned everything out in your mind map, you can connect your map to a MeisterTask project to turn ideas into structured to-dos. Once connected, you can quickly transform topics into tasks: any notes, comments and assignments are automatically transferred into the correlating task.
Another long-serving team member, Head of Engineering Laura Bârlădeanu, looks back with fondness on the maps that helped spark huge ideas in her first months at the company. While the team has grown enormously since then, almost every Meister employee, including Laura, still uses mind maps at some stage during a project. She explains her own process:
“I still use MindMeister for gathering information on a certain topic, structuring this information and then sharing it with important internal stakeholders. Most recently, I mapped a plan for updating our internal versioning system, refining it together with my team.”
Meet More Effectively
Meetings always have the potential to waste time. We’ve all sat through colleagues discussing the same topic for hours on end, while others look at their phones or pretend to listen. Ineffective meetings eat up time, resources and ultimately productivity. With mind mapping, you can revolutionize your meeting culture by requesting input from participants before the meeting starts. Based on your plan, you can then allow more time to discuss contentious issues, create easy-to-understand agendas to keep the discussion on track and share meeting minutes instantly.
Need help decreasing your meeting load? Here are a few tips on how and when to decide which meetings are essential and which can be moved to the discussion board.
Laura is a firm believer in the value of MindMeister for managing meetings. “At Meister, our meetings tend to be efficient, partly because we’ve taken our own advice on how to host them,” she says. “The meeting facilitator prepares for the meeting by sending out a mind map agenda to all attendees, recording minutes and then sharing the map with everyone involved. After the meeting, the mind map works as a foundation, from which we can add more information to develop a structured plan.”
Teach Quicker, Learn Faster
In growing companies like Meister, bringing new talent up to speed on team processes takes time, patience and organization. Though onboarding meetings and training sessions are necessary for explaining the details of day-to-day work, written documentation usually fails to capture the intricacies of these tasks or show the relations between them.
When it comes to onboarding new recruits, MindMeister helps teams share essential information from the get-go beautifully and logically, track progress through the learning process and garner feedback over the first months on the job.
Raphaela welcomed a new Partner Management Intern to her team in March. In preparation, she has created a dedicated mind map that will help her newcomer through the early days: “Since this will be a six-month internship, I’ve outlined the goals and main tasks for each month in the mind map. For further context, I’ve expanded it with all the necessary links to folders on our Google Drive and related MeisterTask projects,” she says. “I hope this will help our intern understand what’s expected of them and act as a basis for our monthly feedback talks.”
MindMeister isn’t just for the employer: new starters can create mind maps to keep track of their own onboarding experience and manage the tidal wave of information that invariably comes crashing down. Meister’s Head of People and Culture, Rabea Thies, has the following advice:
“Set aside some time at the end of each workday to reflect on your notes and place them in the appropriate section in your mind map. Then, make any relevant connections with the topics you’ve already covered and add the appropriate links or other media to your map’s topics.
Once you’ve settled in, you’ll be amazed at how much you’ve learned in the first weeks and months — use the History feature to see your map blossom over time.
Make Clarity a Priority
A lack of organizational structure can lead to miscommunication, inefficient processes and ultimately lost resources, especially as companies scale. MindMeister is a useful tool for keeping an overview of team responsibilities, aided by customizable layout and color options. At Meister, we use org charts to share team hierarchy structures, employee roles and responsibilities, as well as the working relationships between departments.
Martin Babry, Meister’s Head of Marketing and Growth, created the above mind map to clarify responsibilities and make sure team members continue to be stimulated in their work. He explains, “I use the org chart as a starting point in feedback talks: it helps me make sure my team members are challenged but not overwhelmed. Many in the marketing team have grown within Meister, taking on progressively more responsibilities and new, exciting projects.”
Over to you…
We hope our experiences with mind mapping will help you get more out of your workday as well. You can use mind maps for much more than what we cover here, too — check out the extensive range of possible applications on our website.