When it comes to the major proponents of how to mind map, there's probably nobody more active or better known in making this type of thinking popular and prominent than the author and educational consultant, Tony Buzan. It's not that he invented this technique, though he claims that he created its modern version. Making a visual map of the concepts and ideas contained in an argument or an explanation of information appears to have been used as far back as the third century of the Common Era. But there's no doubt that Tony Buzan was the driving force in bringing the technique into use in the twentieth century.
Buzan stands on the shoulders of several others who developed earlier precursors of mind map methods. Allan M. Collins and M. Ross Quillian in particular completed research on "semantic networks," exploring how learning, creativity and graphical thinking were related. But Buzan also credits the semantic theories of Alfred Korzybski as his inspiration for understanding how to create a mind map. These theories were given life by science fiction novelists such as Robert Heinlein and A.E. van Vogt, but it was Buzan who put them into popular form and made them accessible to the general public.
The Tony Buzan mind mapping technique involves taking a central word and arranging all the concepts or ideas related to that word in ways that radiate out from it. He claims that readers don't naturally absorb a page of text by scanning it left-to-right, as all English books are currently written. Rather, says Buzan, they tend to scan the page in a non-linear way. So when he teaches how to mind map, he teaches people to use their non-linear right brain to visualize related concepts on a page, as spatial ideas, and then to group them together with similar colors or by relocating them to the same place on the page. This, according to Buzan, reveals relationships and themes that the person might not initially have thought of.
In 2006, Buzan released a mindmapping software program called "iMindMap, and he has published many books on memory, speed reading, and of course on creating maps of the mind itself. He also has a website called "Buzan World," where he promotes his ideas. Over the years he has founded many organizations such as the Brain Foundation, the Brain Trust Charity, the World Memory Championships, and the World Championships of the Brain. But although he is well known for exploring all aspects of the mind, he is probably best known for his promotion and education on all aspects of how to mind map.