We’re all human so finding any little advantage that helps us to get an edge is worth a shot. I do experiment a little bit with different software to help keep track of interesting ideas I find. The ways I track things of interest varies and therein lies the opportunity – to make the most of one before the next interesting option arrives. There is so much out there that could be good.

In some ways it is best to try a piece of software that looks promising instead of doing a bit of this and a bit of that. I hate passwords and like to put little bits of info down to track things I would want to follow up later. Two simple things I use are Personal Brain and a mind mapping tool called Inspiration which is used in education. Personal Brain was software I discovered at a World Future Society conference in 2006. It allows you to create an overall structure for all the thoughts you have – a ‘Plex’ – and allows links between thoughts such as sideway links called jumps and hierarchical links in a customised parent – child relationship. Links, logons, files and notes are all managed and searchable. People publish their Brains and even talk about them in webinars so it is a great community for learning about how successful people keep their ‘stuff’ sorted.

Inspiration is fairly straight forward, but that is the beauty of it. Just a great place to put up a wall of ideas that I can shift around at will. Sometimes I dictate ideas, creating lots of electronic sticky notes which I can cluster and link a bit like open source technology in a sensemaking workshop. It isn’t particularly sophisticated but is a good way of mapping ideas until they gain their own structure. I can keep the history of an idea clearly in front of me until the themes come out. Not a bad way of noting ideas from listening to the text of interviews, recordings etc. I am interested to learn of new ‘toys’ so please comment.

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