Monday, August 20, 2007

theRealizer-MindManager Add-in

theRealizer is a clever add-in to MindManager that is elegant in its design and execution. When installed, theRealizer is accessible from a panel right within MindManager. theRealizer will work with MindManager 6 as well as MindManager 7. When you first launch theRealizer you are struck by its playful simplicity and its whimsical style. theRealizer is intended to help individuals and groups brainstorm new ideas, innovative products, and or new processes. While traditional brainstorming can become mundane and predictable, it is with the assistance of theRealizer that the brainstorming process takes on another dimension. Using lateral thinking prompts along with the structure built into theRealizer, allows others to expand their brainstorming sessions so that it is not business as usual.

As part of the process of using theRealizer you first click on the Setup Map which adds the following topics to your mind map: Define Challenge, Generate Ideas, and Prioritize. From there you select Define Challenge, which lets you type your challenge into an input dialog box. theRealizer also lets you select your challenges from a predefined list if you prefer. After you type your challenge you simply click on the Add button to add it to the Define Challenge topic. You can add as many challenges as you like and you can also use the whimsical set of cards that are intended to invoke some lateral thinking as you formulate your challenges. Once you formulate and have defined your challenge you can mark it on the mind map. This moves you to the next phase in which you can generate some ideas. Once again you can type them within theRealizer Input box which are then appended to the Generate Ideas topic. At any point in the idea generation phase you can use the Idea Impulse cards that make you look at the brainstorming ideas with a different twist. There are over 400 impulse cards with different prompts that can help to generate new and exciting and yet to be thought of ideas.

Once you have generated the ideas now it is time to prioritize them. You do this by simply clicking on the Prioritize button on theRealizer panel. This brings up the Prioritize Grid which allows you to sort your ideas according to the dimensions of Creativity and Realism. You can now drag your ideas around on the grid and when you are done theRealizer will sort the ideas on you mind map according to your placement. You can follow up this step in the process by clicking on Add Sorting branch which sets up a structure for you to drag your ideas around. On the Sorting branch you will find: Do It. Develop Further, Give Away, Save, and Throw. Simply drag your ideas on these subtopics to help determine which ideas you will work on. For the last step in the process, simply click on the idea you selected and add the Add Concept branches which helps you to further think through the benefits of the idea, the primary target, how to make money, and the slogan.

Once completed it is easy to distribute your mind map to communicate your new ideas. theRealizer is a simple put thoughtful add-in that adds a new dimension to brainstorming. It takes you out of the traditional brainstorming mode and lets you enter a realm that engages you to think about new ideas in a unique and creative fashion.

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