Using pictures for memorizing knowledge and modelling systems and processes were used for centuries in learning, brainstorming, memory, visual thinking, and problem solving by educators, engineers, psychologists, and others. The old saying, “a photo is worth a thousand words” is certainly true as a mind map with photos, sketches, and data visualizations provide an alternative way to express and share complex ideas.
Visual thinking with mind mapping has been around for thousands of years. Historians credit the philosopher Porphyry of Tyros as the first documented user of mind mapping in the 3rd century BCE. While his mind map looked quite different than contemporary computerized mind maps of today, Porphyry used visual thinking to categorize and organize the work of Aristotle. Historians have also confirmed the use of mind mapping by one of the brightest minds of the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci. He made extensive use of mind mapping to clearly articulate, reiterate and generate prototypes of his creations in science, engineering, art, sculpture, and literature. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” wrote Leonardo da Vinci.1
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