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MindManager as a Design Tool

Background:
When I was at architecture school, the subject that I enjoyed the most was design and the creative design process.  My favorite design tool was the sketchbook.  What I was really excelled at was computers and technology.  With that combination, I went directly into a master’s program where I studied computer-aided design tool development.  Upon graduating, I spent eight years developing Computer Aided Design (CAD) software for the building industry and then I joined Mindjet two years ago.

Design Tools:
In the CAD world there was always a very clear differentiation between what was used by architects for design and what was used to create construction documents.  What was needed for design was a tool that connected the hand with the eye to encourage a creative process.  At the beginning of the design process, during the schematic design phase, the architect used a pen or pencil to sketch and refine a design in an iterative manner.  The pen or pencil was wonderful because it put very few constraints on what could happen during that hand-paper-eye-mind feedback loop. The architect did not know what the end product would or should look like at the beginning of the process.  The paper-based design would be continually enhanced, editied, annotated, and presented during that process to build consensus around a result that worked for all of the stakeholders.  There were many software products that tried to be a design tool for architects, like Autodesk’s Architectural Studio, but they were not successful.

Engineering Tools:
On the other hand, there are quite a few successful tools for accurately drawing construction documents (like floorplans) and diagramming, like Autodesk’s AutoCAD and Microsoft’s Visio.  I use Visio all the time for drawing diagrams and user interface designs.  These types of tools are engineering tool:  when you start using them, you know what the end product needs to look like and the tool helps you produce an accurate drawing of it.

Comparing the Two:

Design Tool Engineering Tool
Used for Design Used for Production
Creative Analytical
Open-Ended Deterministic

Where MindManager Fits In:
MindManager is a design tool for people who design projects, software, plans, strategies, books, and even buildings. People love it because it doesn’t get in the way of their thoughts and lets them have a workspace for playing with and organizing their ideas.  The hand-paper-eye-mind feedback loop that architects use during a design process is reproduced as a mouse/pen-map-eye-mind feedback loop with MindManager.  It’s obvious to see that on many business users’ desktops, there is a need for both software-based Design Tools as well as Engineering Tools.  For about 500,000 people MindManager is that design tool.

Michael S. Scherotter
Business Solutions Architect