I’m a huge fan of visualizing things. Things like data. Data is fun, sure, but not as fun as a data visualization. Pictures are worth a thousand words, and pretty pictures have gotta be worth at least 1,001.
What’s helping me visualize data these days? Mind maps.
That’s because there are two really cool web apps that make creating and sharing mind maps a snap – bubbl.us and Mindmeister.
Mindmeister appears more polished at this point, but you have to sign up to use it. Bubbl.us will have you mapping right away (before needing to register) but isn’t as slick yet. Both are pretty cool tools for visualizing some interconnected data.
I’m hoping to use these tools in the near future when I’m leading an audit planning meeting. I think this is where I could use this technology for productive purposes (rather than just messing around) and display the relationships between sections of the file and the engagement’s specific risks.
It wouldn’t take much to liven up a planning meeting, that’s for sure. I think it would encourage more participation and livelier discussion of the relevant issues, engaging everyone from the partner down to the junior staff. For juniors, it would illustrate how interconnected the issues and risks are and enable them to better understand the client and the engagement.
There’s also Mindomo, which is more feature rich than both Mindmeister and bubbl.us, but less Web 2.0ish. I’ve found so far that it’s easier to just get going with the first two apps, plus I think they’d be easier to use in a meeting to brainstorm. For more detailed maps, Mindomo is probably better.
But what do you think? Are mind maps an exciting new frontier for the staid business meeting?
2 thoughts on “Mind maps made productive for public accountants”
Neil, if you like those visualizations, you’ll love Heat Map Explorer. Go to http://www.labescape.com and download a free 30-day trial copy. Heat Map Explorer will allow you to visually see your complex numerical data sets all on one page (like seeing the forest and the trees) to find hidden risks, trends, relationships, anomalies, etc. It’s different than any kind of visualization out there. Try it and let me know how you’re using it.
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