Our mental model affects how we think. If our mental model is wrong, we will fail to see the thing that we should or make a wrong decision on the inputs we receive. So far, the most effective way to capture our mental model is through a Mindmap. If you are good at programming, you can even capture your mental model as a Prolog program and it can help you make inference and do decision making. For most mortals like me, we can at least take the 1st step to draw out a mindmap.
There are many good free Mindmaping software available. Here are some of my recommendations and comments.
1. Freemind. http://freemind.sourceforge.net
2. Compendium. http://www.compendiuminstitute.org/
3. Cmaps. http://cmap.ihmc.us/
For the commercial ones, there are
1. Mindmanager from Mindjet
2. Axon http://web.singnet.com.sg/~axon2000/index.htm
and many others.
Mindmapping is the easiest and faster to use to relate ideas. In future posting, we will discuss about the types of relationship between ideas. Concept Map, CMaps, is a more rigorous than mindmap. It imposes the requirement of a linking-word between concepts. Compendium is a specialised mapping for IBIS. Mindmap are typical hierarchical or Tree-base and hence easier for automatic drawing. Cmaps and Compendium are Network based – i.e. a node can have more than one parent. They are more flexible but it takes more time to draw them. However, you gain control on how you want to layout the map.
Axon is an interesting combinations of many things … a drawing tools for various types of maps, a simulation tools, an idea generator etc. Because of it computational capability, it can be used to draw Influence Diagram … Excel formulas in Pictorial forms. It can be used for presentation and so forth. If you need processing and diagramming together without much programming needs, then Axon is a good software to use.