Frustration with Innovation Rises

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Boston Consulting Group surveyed 3,000 executives worldwide and found out that a growing number of executives were frustrated with the return on their innovation investments.  Top factors contributing to diminished ROI in innovation were:

Difficulty picking right ideas for commercial development.

Long development time.

Lack of internal coordination.

Clearly, somebody needs to talk about idea mapping with these executives!

As promised, two more portraits from the IM workshop in Ft. Lauderdale.  Dreamy Merlin Monro is by Miroslava Litwak; the older gentleman is by Carol Rinaldi.




Awaken an Artist Hidden Inside You

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During an Idea Mapping workshop in Ft. Lauderdale, research librarians learned various techniques to improve memory, enhance thought organization and bring team collaboration  to the next level.  All participants unanimously agreed that a non-traditional workshop format and innovative teaching method of engaging both sides of the brain helped them unlock creativity and innovative thinking.  One of the workshop’s brain-boosting activities required participants to draw a portrait in 50 minutes.  Except for Carol Rinaldi, who had drawn portraits in the past, majority was rather skeptical.  Picking up Andy Garcia, Donald Trump, Merlin Monro and other faces from the pile of portrait samples, people seemed to just go with the flow. Nevertheless, aplying a learing model introduced in the first part of the workshop, they lost themselves in the creative process, and the results were spectacular!  They were all amazed with realistic portraits they though they’d never be able to draw.  It was incredible to see how far our creative minds can take us if only we allow ourselves to be more creative.  See yourself: here is Donald Trump drawn in less than 50 minutes by Martin Wood.  I’ll share more portraits in the future posts.


Librarians Learn Idea Mapping

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Franklin Templeton librarians in Ft. Lauderdale attended a two-day Idea Mapping workshop to learn the benefits of the whole-brain approach to thinking, learning and planning. That was my very first workshop as a Certified Idea Mapping Instructor, and it was a lot of fun!


Idea Mapping, also known as Mind Mapping, is a whole-brain visual tool used by business people around the world to improve productivity, innovation and performance. Idea Mapping is based on discoveries made in neuroscience. It is effective because it mirrors how our brains naturally process and associate information making meaningful connections between pieces of data.  It creates synergy between right and left cortex skills integrating logic, lines, words, lists, numbers, and sequence with color and images. Using an idea map, thoughts and ideas can be effectively captured on a single sheet of paper making it easy to see and understand a big picture while still providing a way to include important details. 

  Using Idea Maps to Learn Faster

Idea maps can be used to accelerate learning and get new employees up to speed faster. Miroslava Litwak, who joined the library a few months ago as Digital Services Analyst, is using idea maps to learn about investment concepts behind charts and graphs she creates for the library clients.  Her map of the David Dreman’s book “Contrarian Investment Strategies” demonstrates key principles behind idea mapping such as using key words, images and color.


As you can see, creation of a map begins in the center with a main topic as a key word or an image.  Branches that represent key information related to the topic radiate from the main topic and spread clockwise throughout the page so that key ideas can be seen instantly.  Color, images and symbols activate creative areas of the right brain adding more fun to the thinking process and improving information recall.


Idea Mapping Book

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There are many ways to learn about Idea Mapping (IM) and how this visual thinking and learning tool can help people from all walks of life to become better at what they do, both in business and personal lives.  If you Google “idea mapping”, you’ll get over 46000 hits.  There are many books written on the subject, particularly by Tony Buzan who’s written prolifically on the topic of mind maps, memory and creativity.  There are dozens, if not hundreds, of blogs from the idea mapping practitioners around the globe.  

Today’s growing interest in the Idea Mapping is no accident.  With increasing complexity of the world we live in, we all are looking for the right answers and better decisions, for clarity and connections.  We want to learn faster and be more effective .   Perhaps, the best way to start learning about IM is to read the Idea Mapping book by Jamie Nast.  It includes everything a beginner needs to know, with a lot of practical exaples of IM applications.  The attached idea map is the book’s visual outline demonstrating key IM concepts.  Get the book – it may become one of your best investments. 

2008 SLA Conference

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Held in the beautiful Emerald City, the 2008 SLA Conference was one of the best I’ve attended.  There were 5000 attendees and 283 exhibitors of which 50 attended for the first time demonstrating huge interest among both librarians and vendors.  The sessions and learning opportunities were outstanding, not to mention world-class speakers and presenters. I was particularly energized by the SLA vision for the library profession in the 21st century.  I thought that closing remarks delivered by Janice Lachance, SLA’s CEO,  were the conference’s highest point, showing deep understanding of our challenges as a profession and at the same time inspiring us with the vision of opportunities and possibilities.  I am thrilled about the Alignment Projectthat involves Outsell and Fleishman-Hillard, as well as futurists from Social Technologies, to improve our ability to better communicate our values to the world.  I love the concept of Innovation Lab,  and all the tools and resources we can use to become “cutting edge”.   A few distinguished people, including Vint Serf, Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist, made a point that the notion that knowledge is power is myth, it is sharing knowledge that matters.  To share what I’ve learned during the conference with my colleagues, I put together this idea map.

Using Idea Maps for Presentations

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This year, my paper “Doing Library Business in India: A Success Story” won the Best Conference Paper Award at the Special Libraries Association’s annual conference held in Seattle June 16th through 19th.  This year’s conference theme was “Breaking Rules, Building Bridges”, and my paper was honored for innovative ideas and contribution to the scholarship of the SLA organization.  In line with the theme,  the paper describes how Franklin Templeton Library turned challenges of globalization into opportunities while breaking some rules and building bridges between the U.S. and Indian information professionals. 

To present the paper at the conference, I decided to “break another rule”: instead of PowerPoint I used idea maps.   And it worked!  Using MindManager, I put together two simple maps: a cover map and a presentation map.  Instead of a dozen or so PPP slides, I had two slides with a single click in between (helped me to stay focused).  I also think that more holistic and visual representation of key points helped my audience to see a big picture and details at the same time.




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