Portland, OR (PressExposure) July 16, 2008 -- Mind mapping solutions have long been a great way of organizing the creative process and its resulting ideas. Tony Buzan's method of visualizing each individual component or thought in a brainstorming session has helped thousands of corporations make sense of creative chaos. But how do creative people develop fresh, original ideas in the first place? New software eases the process by crystallizing ideas, then forging connections between seemingly unrelated concepts.
"ThoughtOffice software brings the brains to the brainstorming process," says Mark Alan Effinger, founder and CEO of ThoughtOffice Corporation, makers of ThoughtOffice Innovation Software. "We add associative thinking and smart questions to the graphic organization of mind mapping. Users can quickly multiply their creative output."
Associative thinking software (http://www.thoughtoffice.com/?page_id=37) is relatively new; it was pioneered by Marsh Fisher, founder of Century 21 real estate. He began developing the original program, IdeaFisher, in 1976. When publicly released in 1988, it met with rave reviews and an eagerly receptive audience. The application used the now-familiar process of "6-degrees of separation" to help users find less-than-obvious yet powerful associations based on a word or phrase. To help clarify ideas, Marsh Fisher (http://www.ideafisher.com) discovered a system of using targeted questions to drill down on an issue. Then he developed packaged, expert-level processes by asking industry leaders to share the questions they ask to resolve specific types of problems.
Tony Buzan published his thesis on visual thinking at about this same time. Buzan (who holds a trademark on the name "Mind Map") showed how to clarify ideas by beginning with a central point of focus, branching out from it with major topics, then continuing to branch out into increasingly finer detail.
Buzan's firm, among others, has developed software to support the mind mapping process, and help users to visualize information.
"ThoughtOffice elaborates intelligently on the visualization process. The program provides deep, broad access to up-to-the-minute information and associations vital to the brainstorming and creative processes" says ThoughtOffice Corporation's Product Specialist, David Lockman. "ThoughtOffice provides essential idea-generating elements by working side-by-side with mind mapping software. It provides the breakthrough references necessary to move from problem solving to true innovation."
The ThoughtOffice application incorporates three simple interfaces into one program:
1) A list-style outliner collects & sorts "thought particles": the many idea fragments and concepts generated when using ThoughtOffice.
2) A "Topics Browser", where users explore up to 13,700 problem-solving questions and comments organized across 16 topical areas, from Public Speaking, New Product Development, and Conflict Resolution, to Advertising and Marketing, or even Screenwriting.
3) The software also includes an integrated Idea Search Engine. This IdeaBrowser accesses real-time online language and image databases, providing over 7,691,000 word associations, quotations, lyrics, keyword-tagged images, definitions, hypernyms, & synonyms.
When combined, these interfaces allow the user to rapidly expand on ideas and quickly solve problems.
"We've always had an excellent experience working with clients using mind maps," says Effinger. "By adding intelligence to their visual diagrams, ThoughtOffice completes the picture for users who are striving to create smarter results."
ThoughtOffice Brainstorming Software can be obtained through dealers and distributors worldwide, or by visiting the company's web site (http://www.thoughtoffice.com).
About ThoughtOffice: ThoughtOffice Corporation was founded in 2005, to provide solutions for individuals and corporations needing to generate effective, creative ideas & innovations quickly and efficiently. Founded by Mark Alan Effinger, one-time apprentice to & developer for Marsh Fisher, the company's solutions are used by most of the Global 5000, NASA, Homeland Security, hundreds of advertising agencies, Inc. 500 firms and consulting organizations. ThoughtOffice -- a team of creative professionals, experienced executive coaches, and software developers -- is based in Vancouver, Washington. The company can be reached at http://www.ThoughtOffice.com or by phone at 360-609-9272. Mind Maps is Â© The Buzan Organisation