On Friday March 23rd I joined forces with a long-time client of mine. She is an IT Systems Thinking expert in a large automotive company in southeastern Michigan. Her job was to facilitate an internal organization through a 4.5-hour process that analyzed where they were at today and how they would co-create their future. I’m guessing there were somewhere between 200-250 leaders in attendance.

Afterwards, the entire group had an opportunity to share outcomes, responses, and their thoughts going forward. My role at this point was to create 3 Idea Maps as the group responded to 3 different questions. The idea maps were created live using MindManager software and projected on a huge screen at the front of the room so that the participants could see it grow in the moment. No one in the room had seen this method of capturing data. I made jpgs of the maps and they will be distributed to all of the participants as part of the meeting follow-up and next steps. In my book I call this “Real-Time Idea Mapping”.

I highly recommend this technique for those of you who feel very comfortable with your idea-mapping skills. I’ve done this live using hand-drawn maps as well, but in this instance there was no way for the group to see the outcome without projecting the maps. My only suggestion when capturing data live is that you need to move FAST and it helps if you can have one additional person sitting next to you who might hear something you don’t because the information comes at you so quickly. Those issues discussed in the meeting will be more memorable as a result of using this tool. Due to the proprietary nature of the content, I can’t share these examples, sorry.