Sense-making and mind-mapping tools

Sense-making and mind-mapping tools

Global Sensemaking (GSm)

Global Sensemaking (GSm) is a group of people dedicated to helping humanity address complex, interrelated global problems—such as climate change, energy policy, poverty, and food security—by developing and applying new web-based technology to assist collaborative decision making and cooperative problem solving.

Humanity faces an emerging mess of global challenges (often called wicked problems) — such as, climate change, poverty, peak oil, population pressure, water shortages, declininexternal-linkg biodiversity, and failing food supply — that are the product of patterns of thinking and behavior that no longer make sense.  We need new tools of thought if we are to adapt to the scale and complexity of these challenges; tools that augment individual intelligence with the structured insights of many minds. We are building those tools. To realize our vision, we are creating a web portal, developing open source software, and fostering international standards to create a scalable, collaborative, deliberative, and global discourse environment (e.g. web-based global sensemaking platforms) for addressing the most pressing problems of our time.

Tools associated with Global Sensemaking members

[Ed. note: descriptions taken from Global Sensemaking site.]


Cohere is an idea management tool for you to weave meaningful connections between ideas, for personal, team or social use. Cohere is part of an emerging vision of sensemaking infrastructure for crafting, sharing and disputing ideas. We hope it will contribute to effective online deliberation and debate in fields such as open, participatory learning, e-democracy, scholarly research and knowledge management.


Compendium is a hypermedia software tool, providing a visual interface for mapping the connections between people, ideas, multimedia documents and websites, to supoprt the analysis of socio/technical problems. You can customise the icons and links to anything you want, but it comes preloaded with the visual language for IBIS: Issue-Based Information System, which supports the mapping of debates in terms of Issues, Ideas, Pros/Cons/Arguments, and Decisions (see illustrations).


Debategraph is a creative commons, social venture that combines argument mapping and wiki-editing to let people around the world collaboratively map complex and contentious public issues; so that the best arguments on all sides of any debate can be freely available to all and continuously open to challenge and improvement by all.


The Deliberatorium is an implemented, evolving, web-based system developed to help large distributed groups efficiently arrive at well-founded conclusions concerning responses to complex challenges like climate change. It has been used by over 700 users, so far, on topics ranging from bio-fuels to open computing. See this movie for an overview of the concepts underlying our approach, and for more details, including results from a 300-user evaluation, see this paper.



A truthmap is an argument that has been broken down into its component parts that allows not only for very specific critiques but also through a process of revision allows arguments to evolve and strengthen or to disintegrate: all without digression and other forms of naturally occuring noise. TruthMapping compels us to interact rationally on a topic.

Mind-mapping: introductions and collections

Mind-map, Wikipedia

A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing. The elements of a given mind map are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts, and are classified into groupings, branches, or areas, with the goal of representing semantic or other connections between portions of information. Mind maps may also aid recall of existing memories. By presenting ideas in a radial, graphical, non-linear manner, mind maps encourage an unorthodox brainstorming approach that can generate ideas without regard for a more formal, hierarchical organization system. Though more freewheeling and individualized, mind maps are similar to more rigidly-structured semantic networks or cognitive maps.

List of mind mapping software, Wikipedia

Mind mapping software is used to create diagrams of relationships between ideas or other pieces of information. It has been suggested that the mind mapping technique can improve learning/study efficiency up to 15% over conventional note taking. Some mind mapping software is 3D, though full 3D functionality is difficult to achieve with the forms of interface devices readily available to users. Some mapping programs incorporate other learning optimization techniques including electronic flashcard style testing.

Software for mindmapping and information organisation,

Vic’s compendium of software that supports knowledge management and information organisation in graphical form. Includes mind mappers, concept mappers, outliners, hierarchical organisers, KM support and knowledge browsers, 2D and 3D.

Project coordinator: Richard Tanter