Learning Technologies Newsletter

ISSUE 70 - April 2011 - by Phil Chambers


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Welcome to the April 2011 issue of the Learning Technologies Newsletter. Please continue to forward it to friends and colleagues who you think would find it useful.

This issue we focus on a very important application of Mind Mapping, plus the regular quote of the month and what I’m up to.

April's Quote of the Month

"The greater difficulty, the more glory in surmounting it.
Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests."

~ Epicurus (Greek philosopher, BC 341-270)

More quotes here


What's Phil Up To?

Phil's Photo

Two weeks ago I qualified as a Mind Map Leader in iMindMap5 – one of a very small number of trainers able to teach all the new features of the software prior to launch.

Later this week I will be in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne overseeing the North East Regional Final of the Schools Memory Championships.


Mind Mapping for Disaster Recovery

I am sure you will join me in thinking of the people of Japan at this difficult time. They are a resilient and hard working people and I am confident they will recover from the recent natural disaster with its tragic personal, economic and environmental consequences.

When disaster strikes, it is important to rapidly formulate a clear action plan that enables all agencies to work together in a coordinated and effective way. It is vital to consider all the different facets of the problem and how they interrelate.

Traditional brainstorming or note taking places limits on the process and it is very easy to miss important issues.

However, a Mind Map’s structure, allows you to split out individual issues, develop each one, see connections and clearly communicate the plan to others. It allows you to see the big picture without losing sight of necessary details.

During the attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11th 2001 an electricity substation was destroyed leading to a power outage across much of Manhattan. The utility company responsible, ConEdison, had to act fast to restore power to the city – Tony Buzan explains how they did it...

“…Con Edison, the major utility for New York City, provides electricity, gas and steam services to more than 3 million customers. Immediately after the attack, Con Edison's chairman sent a simple order to all company forces to ‘Get the lights back on’.

Con Edison used mind-mapping software of the day (before iMindMap) to develop their action plan and to manage the enormous volume of data and documentation this cataclysmic event generated. Real-time data was displayed on a large, high-definition plasma monitor to facilitate accurate decision-making, updating and follow-through. The Mind Mapping and strategic planning were led by Al Homyk, Director of Compliance.

The 'mega' Mind Map that was created included eight, which addressed the following issues:

1. Sampling - What samples were required, where they were taken, and the data that resulted from these.

2. Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) inventory control - What protective clothing and respiratory equipment was required and the logistics of getting it to the workers.

3. Communications - Memoranda and letters informing workers on work area hazards and procedures.

4. EHS support - Detailed 24/7 manpower coverage schedules.

5. Safety - Inspection tours to enforce procedural adherence.

6. Accounting - Tracking spending and ensuring vendor availability.

7. Electrical generators - Over 100 temporary electrical generators were installed and connected to a temporary street grid to repower lower Manhattan.

8. Regulatory notifications - Temporary waivers for asbestos work notifications and work-hour limits were sought and granted in accordance with regulations.

Mind Map branches were hyperlinked to spreadsheets and documents containing hun¬dreds of pages of data. The Mind Map became a roadmap for quickly finding detailed information and managing the overall EHS response effort.

A sense of fear was widespread in the early days after the 9/11 attack. A normal reaction to fear in many people is for the emotional side of the brain to become 'hijacked', which interferes with rational thinking. The mind-mapping technique helped workers to unlock themselves and focus on the positive action of how they could best respond to this unprecedented event.


The original 9/11 Con Edison Mind Map

After the 9/11 destruction of the New York City World Trade Center, Lisa Frigand, a project specialist in economic development for the city's utility company Con Edison, was closely involved with the rebuilding of downtown Manhattan. Her efforts often revealed difficulties caused by the web of individuals, groups and organisations involved. This could have been overwhelming, but fortunately she knew mind-map¬ping specialist David Hill, also of Con Edison, who had already introduced her to the technique. Frigand and Hill worked together gathering information from hundreds of sources, including reports, brochures, magazines and the internet, to create a poster-sized 'Proto-Mird Map' of all the parties involved in the restoration of lower Manhattan. The main branches they created were government, civic, infrastructure, properties, victims and memorials. They also identified what was created after 9/11.

When the Proto-Mind Map was completed it showed everyone involved and their connections in a brain-friendly manner. People involved with the rebuilding effort were able to see not only the big picture, but also the detail of this enormous effort.” Click here to see the Mind Map.

(From Mind Maps for Business by Tony Buzan with Chris Griffiths)

Today Japan faces a crisis of comparable magnitude with the, as yet unsuccessful, attempted containment of fallout from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Click here to see the thoughts of Mind Mapper, Hans Buskes on the crisis.

That’s it for this month. Look out for the next newsletter at the beginning of May and feel free to be in touch in the meantime.

My contact details are here.

Best Wishes