We’ve all seen mind mapping and brainstorming tools that claim to be the best – probably because there are thousands. Most of them are great software with many useful features that allow you to easily create and rearrange your mind map. However, all of these apps are more or less the same. Although they may look different or have various features, they all follow the basic structure of mind maps as we know them. This is why Jon Ward developed Braincat. You can call it a mind mapping tool, but it is more than that. Braincat is based on a new way of thinking and organizing complex ideas.
The Braincat Process
Typically, mind maps start with the main idea, right? You title the whole thing, and then add subtopics and supporting details as you work outwards from the center. Braincat, on the other hand, works in the opposite direction. You start with the details and work upwards. This helps you sort out all the moving parts and avoid making assumptions about the project as you’re working. Many users report making new discoveries or seeing new perspectives when using Braincat. Here’s the main process:
Step 1: Discover
This first step is optional, but you might be surprised at how useful it is. Before you begin mind mapping, you can choose a set from Braincat’s library of questions that are tailored to your project type. Making a big decision? Writing an article? Developing a product? There’s a set for you. These questions are designed to get you to think about a variety of perspectives, but you can skip any questions you don’t want to answer.
Step 2: Input
After answering (or skipping) all of the questions, you can simply type all of your thoughts into Braincat. Any details or ideas you have about the project – write them down. The order doesn’t matter, as this is the ‘brainstorming’ stage of the process. In doing this, you should be able to clear your mind. This step of the process is especially helpful for those who often find they have many cluttered thoughts, or they keep thinking about work throughout the day. Additionally, if you have an existing CSV file you can upload it directly to transfer the information.
Step 3: Categorize
Now, Braincat shows you the entire list of information you just entered, and you can decide what category or bucket each item belongs in. You create the categories, and you can edit, delete, or add new items at this stage. This step will show you how your thoughts are related and may reveal the main structure of the project.
Step 4: Sequence
With your categories created, you now determine the order of these categories, or how they relate to each other. Put them in any order that makes sense to you, whether it’s steps in a process or an order of priority. Now you will see how all of the main components of the project fit together. At this step, you also get to name the ‘big idea’ or title the project. By this step, you may have made new realizations you didn’t consider before you started, and that’s why this step comes last.
Step 5: Output
Braincat now shows you all of your information in a variety of formats, including a standard outline, and of course, a mind map. You can easily export and share these outputs or edit the project further.
The Braincat process is useful for any kind of project that involves complex ideas or decisions. Many users find the app helpful for planning speeches, fleshing out large projects, developing a strategy or plan, scheduling the week, or even processing emotions. Beyond that, as you use Braincat, you can actually change the way your brain works and adopt some of the organization strategies that the Braincat process teaches you.
Who Would Use This?
The website seems to target writers, project managers, educators, and business owners. But identifying a target audience for something like this seems rather limiting. The person that could use Braincat is more of a style of brain that can use Braincat. Certainly, anyone with ADD or dyslexia would be a prime candidate to diffuse piles of notes and ideas into digestible and productive formats. And yes, anyone about to tackle any project that needs to make a plan or an outline – that applies to nearly all of us. On the personal side: planning a party, a wedding, a vacation. Or making a decision. On the business side: Making a presentation, planning a project, developing training materials, collaborating on a new marketing idea, installing a new department.
On the flip side, someone whose brain already operates in outline mode may find the tool less useful. The brainstorming questions may highlight some overlooked elements.