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Evolution of Mind Mapping


By Judith E. Glaser | innovationexcellence.com
Published: May 20, 2012

FOTW-ConsumptionSeeing the World in a New Way

Tony Buzan’s mind mapping and techniques changed my life. They gave me the tools to start to think differently — not only about how to manage my own mind, but also how to help my clients innovatively transform relationships, teams and even their whole organization.

Mind mapping is a visual approach to thinking. It is visually organizing information around a central idea, then adding branches of related details (ideas, notes, images, tasks, hyperlinks and attachments) to flesh out the idea. You end up with a big picture clearly before you, and branches for tracking all the details.

What is so exciting about mind mapping is that its framework offers a way to think both analytically and creatively at the same time. A common analytical framework is to organize material around big ideas and sub‐ideas ‐‐ big concepts and then bulleted sub‐topics. Yet for people who have creative minds, it’s very difficult to think in a linear fashion. Creative minds make links that others don’t think of or see right away. Having the freedom to create links that don’t follow any type of logical order ‐‐ and to do it visually ‐‐ is at the heart of the mind mapping approach.

The Evolution of Mind Mapping

My company has evolved over the years to include mind mapping as part of the work I do with all my clients. When using mind mapping, I started noticing that drawing ideas in visual maps or “mind maps” facilitated my client conversations and enabled us to work out challenging ideas in a highly collaborative way – even when there were potential conflicts amongst team members. When we were graphically mind mapping, we could feel an organic shift take place that turned foes into friends, and ‘my idea’ into ‘our idea.’

Our conversations were so powerful, I gave them a special name ‐ Co‐creating Conversations®. The conversations seemed to simulate an experience of mind melding – a shift from I to WE — that had the power to quell the fear centers of the brain, and activate the partnering centers of the brain. As a result, people began to innovate and co‐create at levels far beyond what they had ever experienced before.

Recent studies have shown that when we feel deeply connected with others, our brains produce oxytocin. Nicknamed the “love hormone,” oxytocin has been shown to contribute to behaviors such as relationship building, bonding and collaboration in teams. Our brains also start to mirror each other’s brains — which scientists can even show on an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), a scan of the brain’s activity. When people are really connecting, they also are activating a special category of neurons called mirror neurons – which truly enable us to ‘see the world from another person’s’ eyes.


The combination of mind mapping and Creating WE, the philosophy behind my work, has been ideal for helping clients with some of their biggest challenges – for example, team members behaving like competitors and/or forming silos or exhibiting “us/them” thinking.

These two technologies give clients a way to create a safe space for breaking down barriers to trust.

One technique I invented using mind mapping tools I call Double‐Clicking. I gave it this name because the process mimics the ‘double‐clicking’ that we use when opening folders on the computer. When I use Double‐Clicking with teams, I ask them to delve into — or double‐click — on their individual mindscapes to share and compare word meanings and perceptions with each other.

Using Mind Mapping for Team Engagement

Double‐Clicking is one of the most powerful ways to create team engagement and shift conflicts into co‐creation. Here is a great example of the application of Double‐Clicking to create business success.

Most people define “success” very differently, but don’t realize it. One person may view team success as a lack of conflict, another as the ability to share differing ideas, and another sees it purely as a financial measure. By double‐clicking on success, individuals can begin to understand each other’s perceptions better and dramatically improve how they work together. Breaking down barriers and creating bonding is the secret behind double‐clicking.

Try This Double Clicking Exercise!

Here are a few things you can do to experiment with Double‐Clicking and mind mapping:

  1. Gather a group of people, or a team that are going to work together. Have them sit at tables — five to seven people per table, ideally.
  2. Pick a few key words or concepts that are vital to your organization’s success.
  3. Ask each person to individually mind map one key word – and when they get stuck or run out of ideas, to double‐click on an existing idea to discover other embedded ideas.
  4. Then ask them to share and compare the mind maps, looking for words and concepts in common.
  5. Work as a whole group to identify the most important linkages that emerge from the mind mapping process and merge them together in one big map.
  6. Repeat the process with other key words.

image credit: asiancorrespondent.com

Recent Appearances on CBS This Morning

Test aims to assess what students learn in college

Test aims to assess what students learn in college – Judith Glaser, workplace and productivity expert, joins “CBS This Morning: Saturday,” to explain the value of this new test and why employers want it.

Watch it online on CBS.com

Conversations Successful

What makes a conversation successful? – Psychologist Bernardo Carducci, director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast and Judith Glaser, CEO of Benchmark Communications and author of “Conversational Intelligence,” discusses how to learn the appropriate skills.

Watch it online on CBS.com

CBS Addicted to Being Right

Your Brain is Addicted to Being Right – You may not want to admit this about yourself, but many people are addicted to being right. It can be seen as an off-putting character trait, but the good news is you can retrain your brain to be rid of the compulsion.

Watch it online on CBS.com


“Vacation” from email helps worker productivity: Study – Ever cower at the number of unread messages in your work email inbox? Jeff Glor and Rebecca Jarvis talk with workplace and productivity expert Judith Glaser, CEO and founder of Benchmark Communications, about techniques to tackle your emails.

Watch it online on CBS.com


Male bosses’ marriages affecting female workers? – A new study indicates a link between bosses and the mistreatment of their female subordinates – the bosses’ wives. Rebecca Jarvis and Jeff Glor speak with Benchmark Communications CEO and founder Judith Glaser about the possible connection.

Watch it online on CBS.com

Creating WE Special Edition


By Judith E. Glaser | Leadership Excellence
Published May 2012

Creating WE Special Edition

Leadership Excellence has selected Judith E. Glaser as one of the Top 20 Thought Leaders on Leadership and Culture. Her groundbreaking work, exemplified in the The DNA of Leadership, sets her apart as a pioneer in linking neuroscience principles to the understanding of what makes great leaders and great organizations. Through her signature work on Conversational Intelligence™—first introduced in Creating WE: Change I-thinking to WE-thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization—Judith offers leaders the principles, practices, frameworks and tools for shaping, architecting and influencing culture to achieve higher levels of performance and world-class business results.

Downlod and read the complete 12-page Leadership Excellence PDF supplement.

Drexel Honors Ahrendts

burberry denton bw

By Marni Prichard Manko | Women’s Wear Daily
Published May 3, 2012

Courtney Denton

PHILADELPHIA — Drexel welcomed to campus Burberry chief executive officer Angela Ahrendts, who received the inaugural Westphal Award, honoring a leader in the fields of design, media or arts.

One of Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s highest honors, Ahrendts was tapped for the award not only for her leadership acumen at the British luxury brand, but also for her humanitarian work through the charitable Burberry Foundation. Ahrendts was also deemed the 2012 Distinguished Speaker of the Year.

“Angela Ahrendts is a forward-thinking business leader and an important role model for Drexel students,” said Roberta Gruber department head, fashion, product design and design & merchandising, on Wednesday.

Posing a formidable presence in a tailored white jacket and slim black pants, Ahrendts, a graduate of Ball State University, spent the earlier part of her day meeting with faculty members and students, attending some design critiques in the process. But the highlight of the visit was her informal one-on-one chat with long-time friend and former co worker Judith Glaser, a Drexel alum and ceo of Benchmark Communications.

Before a standing-room-only crowd of more than 400 students and benefactors, Ahrendts and Glaser briefly discussed Ahrendts’ early career stints at Liz Claiborne and Donna Karan, but the discussion soon led to Ahrendts ruminating on her journey of succeeding Rose Marie Bravo at Burberry and continuing to drive the brand forward.

“I turned the job down three times,” laughed Ahrendts, outwardly musing that she’s never publicly admitted to such. “But then I was asked, ‘Do you not realize how few opportunities there are for women ceo’s in the world today?’ I knew then that this was a big thing.” Invigorated by the challenge, Ahrendts uprooted her three kids and husband and relocated across the pond.

“I thought, ‘How can we get together and create the world’s most modern brand?'” she responded when asked how she propelled the company further forward. Together with Christopher Bailey, Burberry’s chief creative officer, “We realized that this social thing is changing the world and we needed to turn Burberry into a social enterprise,” she said.

With stylized images of Burberry campaigns, runway shows and look books flashing on a massive screen behind her, Ahrendts detailed the virtual platforms on which Burberry engages with its customers. “We stream live videos so tens of millions of people across the world can watch runway shows,” she said proudly. “We created Theartofthetrench.com where over five million people have uploaded pictures of themselves in our trenchcoats,” she continued. “And we get over one million people visiting our site a week. We’re not just getting market share,” she said, “we’re getting mindshare.”