Ric Raftis Consulting

Using AI Generated Mind Maps to Spark Ideas in Obsidian PKM

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Introduction

If there is one single critical aspect of maintaining a good note making system it is the generation of notes in your own words. Highlighted text from books and articles and even lengthy articles saved to your Obsidian vault will mean nothing unless the gold nuggets are extracted from beneath the surface. In this article, one method of extracting the gold will be explored, but with a twist.

Mind Maps

Mind maps have long been used as a means of generating many ideas within a short space of time and without consciously thinking about the process. It is all about flow, having one idea lead to another without judgement and just recording everything for later processing. Mind maps are often conducted during training sessions and conferences to spark ideas around a topic, so why not when thinking about something with your PKM. Even better when there is a tool to generate the mind map using AI so you are not sitting there trying to rack your brain for an idea.

AI Mind Mapping Tool

Yet another startup in the AI space with a different slant on things is Whimsical. This tool is more than for just mind maps. It will also do flowcharts and project maps as well. That is an area to explore yourself. Our focus here is on idea generation for use within a PKM.

How To Use The Tool

Using the tool is quite simple and follows the traditional format of generating a mind map in the real world on butchers paper or a whiteboard. Go to the site and setup an account and then create your first mind map. The following workflow sets out the process.

Workflow

  1. Create New
  2. Select Board
  3. Select AI for Mind Maps
  4. Drag box to centre of canvas
  5. Type in Subject
  6. Click on Generate Ideas
  7. The tool will go and grab some ideas and add to the mind map
  8. Click on any of the nodes and the generate ideas icon to generate more ideas for your mind map.
  9. Use connectors and sticky notes to add your own ideas to the mind map.
  10. Rinse and repeat.
  11. You can export the mind map and at twice its size. That would be handy for embedding in a modal for example so it can be expanded to a larger size for panning.
Example of mind map generated by author.
Source: Mind Map generated with Whimsical by author

Conclusion

This tool is brilliant for creative thinking, but like all AI tools, it isn’t one to completely rely on. This is one of the things I really like about this tool is that you can add connector lines anywhere and then sticky notes. This creates a collaborative effort between you and the AI model in generating the map. Of course, you can also screenshot or download the map and place it in your Obsidian note for future reference.

The tool is free at this stage, but there are upgrades available. Like so many other innovative sites that are exploring the realms of AI it is another opportunity. Well worth exploring and utilising in your workflow.

Bonus: Video

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