Mind Mapping & Creative Thinking

Strategic Planning using Mind Mapping Software

There are many different definitions of strategic planning, but the most common is always  “big picture thinking.”  The biggest problem is of course being able to see and then to consider the bigger picture.

In education the systems, like many organizations are usually   hierarchical, both with in and outside of the individual school or college. However there are many examples where this is simply not the case.

The DfES states that there is no nationally prescribed format for a SDP or SIP, however a number of LEAs have issued detail guidance on the content.

The management and leadership team will undoubtedly have their view of their strategic picture; this hopefully covers everything within the school and the external influences.

The head of section/head of department should have a view of their strategic plan, which covers all their bases and sits within the whole school plan.

An individual subject teacher should have their strategic view, which sits within the department and the whole school plan.

Rarely are these plans produced in a coherent and organised fashion.  They certainly not reader friendly document. So how can everyone within the organization actually see the big picture? How can the managers and leaders ensure that the strategic plan is coherent, joined up and achievable? The answer is with great difficulty and only after a considerable amount of time and effort just checking that the plans jigsaw together effectively.

Most organisations produce a development or strategic plan, which consists of pages linear notes and tables or grids. From these it is virtually impossible to get a strategic overview quickly and easily.

The ideal tool for strategic planning, in my opinion, is mind mapping. There is simply no better way to conceptualize, refine, compile, organise and share strategic-level ideas generated from the meetings and committees and other creative exercises, which will have tied up staff time and productivity.

A visual representation of the whole plan can communicate far more effectively and powerfully than thousands of pages of linear text. It is easier to add information as required and see how this will affect the overall plan.

In addition to being valuable for the strategic planning process, software-generated mind maps also can be shared digitally which means that it can be circulated and communicated effectively.

iMindMap Ultimate v4 allows a Mind Map to be converted into a standard Gannt Chart (project plan) which can is dynamically linked to the Mind Map at the click of an icon. A time based plan is then available for scheduling tasks and seeing the links and effects between tasks.

Using the same Mind Map a text-based document can also be generated if this is required to add justifications or additional notes.

The completed strategic plan can be easily communicated to all stakeholders and members of the organisation to build their plans with the structure, removing the chances of areas being missed or duplicated unnecessarily.

Mind Mapping is the answer for coherent strategic planning.

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