From the September 2011 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

Mind Mapping: One Way to Think Like a Visionary

Michael Gelb recommends mind mapping in his best-selling books, “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci” and “Innovate Like Edison.” This technique uses images and keywords, rather than a hierarchical, linear format. I asked him what role it plays in creativity, and how advisors can use it.

“Mind mapping is a whole-brain method of generating and organizing ideas,” Gelb says. “It’s based on the idea that you are much more creative when you generate first, then organize. My old friend Tony Buzan, who created mind mapping, will tell you that his major inspiration came from studying the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci and Thomas Edison.”

Once you learn how to do mind maps, it can be very useful to share them with colleagues or employees.

In fact, Gelb says, many of his clients in the investment business use mind mapping to think in a more whole-brain fashion about investments. He notes, “The pension investment group at what used to be Amoco (now BP), a client of mine for many years, would begin their morning meetings by putting up mind maps on whiteboards in their conference room. It became an integral part of their process of sharing investment information. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or not, but they beat their benchmark every year.”

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