Buzan popularised the idea of mental literacy, radiant thinking, and a technique called mind mapping, inspired by techniques used by Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Joseph D. Novak's "concept mapping" techniques.
He was a promoter of mnemonic systems and mind mapping techniques. He launched his own software programme to support mind mapping called iMindMap in December 2006 with Welsh entrepreneur, Chris Griffiths. The Buzan Organisation holds trademarks on the phrase "Mind Map" in the context of self-improvement educational courses in the UK, the USA and Germany. The trademark does not appear in the records of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information into a hierarchy, showing relationships among pieces of the whole. It is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank page, to which associated representations of ideas such as images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those major ideas.
Buzan's specific approach, and the introduction of the term "mind map", started with a 1974 BBC TV series he hosted, called Use Your Head. In this show, and companion book series, Buzan promoted his conception of radial tree, diagramming key words in a colorful, radiant, tree-like structure.
Cunningham (2005) conducted a user study in which 80% of the students thought "mindmapping helped them understand concepts and ideas in science". Other studies also report some subjective positive effects on the use of mind maps. Positive opinions on their effectiveness, however, were much more prominent among students of art and design than in students of computer and information technology, with 62.5% vs 34% (respectively) agreeing that they were able to understand concepts better with mind mapping software. Farrand, Hussain, and Hennessy (2002) found that spider diagrams (similar to concept maps) had limited, but significant, impact on memory recall in undergraduate students (a 10% increase over baseline for a 600-word text only) as compared to preferred study methods (a 6% increase over baseline). This improvement was only robust after a week for those in the diagram group and there was a significant decrease in motivation compared to the subjects' preferred methods of note taking. A meta study about concept mapping concluded that concept mapping is more effective than "reading text passages, attending lectures, and participating in class discussions". The same study also concluded that concept mapping is slightly more effective "than other constructive activities such as writing summaries and outlines". However, results were inconsistent, with the authors noting "significant heterogeneity was found in most subsets". In addition, they concluded that low-ability students may benefit more from mind mapping than high-ability students.
Joeran Beel and Stefan Langer conducted a comprehensive analysis of the content of mind maps. They analysed 19,379 mind maps from 11,179 users of the mind mapping applications SciPlore MindMapping (now Docear) and MindMeister. Results include that average users create only a few mind maps (mean=2.7), average mind maps are rather small (31 nodes) with each node containing about three words (median). However, there were exceptions. One user created more than 200 mind maps, the largest mind map consisted of more than 50,000 nodes and the largest node contained ~7,500 words. The study also showed that between different mind mapping applications (Docear vs MindMeister) significant differences exist related to how users create mind maps.
There have been some attempts to create mind maps automatically. Brucks & Schommer created mind maps automatically from full-text streams. Rothenberger et al. extracted the main story of a text and presented it as mind map. There is also a patent application about automatically creating sub-topics in mind maps.
Mind-mapping software can be used to organize large amounts of information, combining spatial organization, dynamic hierarchical structuring and node folding. Software packages can extend the concept of mind-mapping by allowing individuals to map more than thoughts and ideas with information on their computers and the Internet, like spreadsheets, documents, Internet sites, images and videos. It has been suggested that mind-mapping can improve learning/study efficiency up to 15% over conventional note-taking.
The following dozen examples of mind maps show the range of styles that a mind map may take, from hand-drawn to computer-generated and from mostly text to highly illustrated. Despite their stylistic differences, all of the examples share a tree structure that hierarchically connects sub-topics to a main topic.
Kids, teens, and adults find it easier to discover solutions to problems, make goals, or take notes when using mind maps because of these connections and associations. For additional information on how to set goals using mindmaps, check out MindGenius.
Kids find it is easier to memorize information using mind mapping. When studying for a test or taking notes in school, drawing a mind map helps everything to connect so it is easier to absorb, retain, and retrieve information (all components of memory).
Many people including educators, psychologists, engineers, scientists, and artists have used mind maps and have left behind their mind map notes. For instance, Leonardo da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Ludwig van Beethoven often drew mind maps to solve the problems they encountered.
It is possible that the earliest form of mindmapping dates back to the 3rd century B.C. with Porphyrius' classifications of Arisotle's categories including the classification of substance: referred to as the Prophyrian Tree. Later work on Sematic Networks (computer science) and Idea Sunbursts (education) have contributed to the development of mind mapping techniques in use today.
A mind map tends to have a single main concept, while a concept map may have several related and interconnecting ideas, themes or topics. Mind maps tend to develop as a brainstorm on a theme, while concept maps tend to develop in order to answer a central question with a series of related propositions.
First, it can be used to generate ideas for projects or for problem-solving. On a personal level, you can use mind maps to help you determine personal goals, bucket lists, what you want to accomplish next year, or what you want to accomplish in life.
In the workplace, you could create a mind map of your yearly project commitments. Write the current year on the center of the page and circle it. Add spokes for all the months, January through December. List all your project deadlines on the months they occur in.
Read more about mind mapping at Wikipedia. If your preference is for an app to do your mapping for you, Wikipedia also has a long list of free and proprietary mind mapping software you might choose from. If you have a gmail account, Google has a free mind mapping tool called Coggle, which you can install on the Chrome browser.
I think mind maps are an easy and convenient way to organize and digest information.They are easier to view than outlines or a series of paragraphs. I made mind-maps of some basic terms used to describe plants, leaves, stems, flowers, and fruits. The information in the mind maps is from two pdf files that I downloaded from the internet: Basic Botany by Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and Botany Basics by David Shibles, Master Gardener Coordinator, Polk County Cooperative Extension.
Leonardo is immortalized in his famous notebooks. He took notes, sketched inventions like the helicopter and drew beautiful images of the human body. He loved nature and was both intensely curious and exceptionally observant. He memorialized all he saw and all he thought. In his notebooks, the maestro would often connect drawings and words, in a free flowing tree-like branch structure. With a glance, you could quickly understand his meaning and impressions. That model was the inspiration for mind mapping techniques that can powerfully substitute for classic outlining, with its mechanical roman numerals, topics and subtopics.
A mind map is a diagram used to visually organize information. A mind map is hierarchical and shows relationships among pieces of the whole.  It is often created around a single concept, drawn as an image in the center of a blank page, to which it is associated with images, words and parts of words are added. Major ideas are connected directly to the central concept, and other ideas branch out from those.
As with other diagramming tools, mind maps can be used to generate , visualize , structure , and classify ideas, and as an aid to studying  and organizing information, solving problems , making decisions , and writing.
In addition to these direct use cases, data retrieved from mind maps can be used to enhance many other applications; for instance expert search systems , search engines and search and tag query  To do so, maps can be analyzed with other methods of information . 
Beel & Langer (2011) conducted a comprehensive analysis of the content of mind maps.  They analyzed 19,379 mind maps from 11,179 users of mind mapping SciPlore MindMapping (now Docear) and MindMeister . Results include that average users create a few mind maps (mean = 2.7), average mind maps are rather small (31 nodes) with each node containing about 3 words (median). However, there were exceptions. One user created more than 200 mind maps, the largest mind map of 50,000 nodes and the largest node contained ~ 7500 words. The study also shows the difference in mind mapping (Docear vs. MindMeister ).
There have been some attempts to create mind maps automatically. Brucks & Schommer created mind maps from full-text streams.  Rothenberger et al. Extracted the main story of a text.  And there is a question about the creation of sub-topics in mind maps.  2b1af7f3a8