Mindmapping is probably the best-known brainstorming tool, but it quickly reaches its limits in terms of overview and flexibility. Concept maps, pinboards and note boxes have compensated some of mind map’s disadvantages, but they still do not offer the desired overview while maintaining the details in more complex topics. Learn in this article how Infintiy Maps, an efficient and creative alternative to mind map tools, solves the drawbacks of the previous methods, and how this smart visual map enables you to optimally graph your thoughts, your knowledge, your project – accessible, expandable, and clearly arranged at any time.

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Mind maps – limited in size and in depicting the actual relations

Beyond linear thinking, mind mapping quickly sparks off new ideas. But when it comes to larger and complex topics, a mind map can quickly become confusing. Furthermore, the stable but also rigid tree structure only allows hierarchical, and therefore vertical relationships. Mind-maps leave out relational structures between items, horizontal structures, so to speak, although they are usually crucial in regards of content. As a result, reality can only be mapped inadequately, and the focus on just one key term as the main topic can restrict the flow of ideas.

Concept maps – key elements are not discernable

While mind maps tremendously lack horizontal cross-connections, concept mapping inherents this feature as its core strength. It focuses on representing the relationships between concepts by using arrows. These arrows are usually annotated with a verb that explicitly defines the relationship. In this manner, the connections can be read as simple sentences, e.g. [Concept Maps] –have–> [network structure].

Although these labels clearly illustrate the nature of the individual connections, the networks can also quickly become confusing in the process of growing. The graphical, intuitive representation of a topic is therefore restricted, and it is re-verbalized with the consequence that the creative flow of ideas can break off. Moreover, the networks lack any hierarchy, which makes identifying a higher-level structure very difficult.

concept map German

Spatial hypertext – detailed knowledge falls by the wayside

spatial hyper text

The so-called spacial hypertext is a simple and widespread principle of visual representation of content, which is for instance mostly used for pin boards, notice boards or walls with sticky notes. In comparison to mind maps and concept maps, spacial hypertext completely dispenses with the explicit representation of relationships. Instead, the relations between items of content are simply illustrated by their spatial arrangement. The closer items relate to each other in terms of content, the closer they are placed on the board. Conversely, greater distance means less connection from a content perspective. Terms and concepts can therefore easily be structured into clusters. This provides a lot of space for the development of new ideas, but precise details concerning the relationships between items cannot be represented.

Note box – lots of information, no overview

Another approach is the slip box, which operates without any graphic visualization. Both in its classic form and in its digital counterpart, such as Evernote or OneNote, large amounts of notes can be collected. However, they are often stored there without any structure. The depiction of relations and links can only be done in the form of references on the cards, but a superordinate structure of the relationships is never visible.

Note box

Infinity Maps – structured, infinitely expandable and yet clear

Think big and don’t compromise on important detailed knowledge, that’s what Infinity Maps is all about. The Infinity Maps approach combines the advantages of the four methods described above. The knowledge map is infinitely expandable while always offering a clear overview. The ideas can bubble freely, and thereby they can generate even more. How it works? Basically, knowledge elements are recorded in a card. Subordinate information also comes in a card, which is then inserted into the higher-order card. Using this nesting function, hierarchies are mapped efficiently, just like with mind maps – but effectively. Details can be viewed simply by zooming in whereas zooming out reveals the big picture at a glance. Unlike in mind mapping, valuable cross-connections between knowledge elements can be established by drawing arrows between the cards in Infinity Maps. To maintain clearity, they normally only pop up when you touch the card – this keeps even complex knowledge networks comprehensible.

The video shows the simple handling of Infinity Maps, which allows complex topics to be visualized quickly and easily.

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