This is an adaptation of a reply I made to a post on Linkedin on the Mind Map Users Group (MMUG) on Sept 8 2014.
You are getting advice from some of the biggest “names” in mind mapping and ignoring them. You are being told that the introduction phase for the same-old/same-old approach to mind mapping is over. Your response was to point out that your new mind mapping program will implement “new” features that are actually just the most recent features several dozen programs have implemented in the past 18 months.
The three development leaders in mind mapping are iMindMap and iThoughts as well as the hybrid mind map/business app/data base approach of MindManager. Periodically these programs come out with something new and everybody else (the 30-50 active developers) copies them.
The real development work (and financial opportunities) are in two areas not being opened and exploited by any of the existing companies.
1) Niche products. Do you really think any of the existing programs is optimized for anyone other than an MBA management consultant? Different optimizations are needed for scientists, healthcare professionals, everyday users, those needing assistive devices, patients with cognitive impairments (cognitive decline “typical or not,” dementia, ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, etc.) and hundreds of other categories including just ordinary folks keeping journals, spending their money wisely, investing in the future, keeping appointments, remembering the birthdays of their friends. Note that being able to tie the suggested methods back into scientific research especially for patient groups is HIGHLY desirable. You need to add some flavors to the vanilla ice cream currently being offered as Roy points out, by 140 or so other mind map program developers.
If no-one else establishes a dominant position in these areas I would expect to see iMindMap jump into many of the niche markets. MindManager is heavily entrenched in the IT segment and seems willing to ignore the other niches.
2) Generalization of the mind mapping model to a general thinking environment. Mind mapping is but part of careful, detailed, efficient visual thinking. Mind mapping is an important part, but only a part. A generalized program covering more parts of the entire process of directed visual thinking is the next evolution of Buzan’s model. I believe his most recent books hint at this and that is just a matter of time before he or a colleague presents an expanded model.
Several companies are moving toward this general thinking environment. MindManager is probably closest but blind-sided by their too mechanical approach and insistence that everyone in the world should think like an MBA. iMindMap is probably going to make it there first because they have been adding modules to their program which represent new ways of programmatically manipulating, processing, and displaying ideas. iMindMap also has the advantage of exclusive access to Tony Buzan’s latest thinking which will be a huge part of the next model. TopicScape is the dark horse as it is a much smaller company, but may have the best underlying model for representing data in mind maps AND a general and useful way of thinking. The Brain (and to a smaller degree MindManager) could have been a big contender but its text-based, hierarchical, underlying model precludes non-linear, recursive processes that promote creativity through successive approximation.
From a financial standpoint and from the standpoint of having the greatest impact on the worldwide population, the development of niche products will have the highest ROI.