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An intelligence card is an assistant for an overloaded brain with information. The methodology is equally effective for high school students, students, marketers and managers. You can draw a mind map on a piece of paper or in any of dozens of special services. Their number is the best proof of the popularity of the method. In the article we will look at how to make an intelligence map and share the services for its creation.

What is an intelligence map

Intelligence maps are a visual flowchart of an idea with a visual representation of information that structures and describes things that are difficult to understand. With the help of a mental map, it is convenient to determine the main idea of the project, the directions of its development, and auxiliary elements. The relationship diagram is always individual and reflects a person’s thinking.

Usually a mind map is a flowchart with clearly defined elements and relationships. Mandatory components of the intelligence card: the core or central block, branches and additional blocks. The arrangement of these elements can be any, so ready-made schemes look different, depending on the goals and objectives of their authors.

Advantages and disadvantages of the method


  • it is easier to perceive information and remember data;
  • it is better to generate ideas, as the map activates the thinking process;
  • it is easier to organize voluminous topics and questions, to see the whole picture.

The disadvantages of intelligence cards are that they imply an individual format. If you take another person’s scheme, it will be difficult to understand: you need to spend time creating your own. Since associations change over time, it can be difficult to work even with your own card after a year.

Connect the CallTouch Predicate speech analytics to understand what interests customers and which calls lead to sales. Automatic speech recognition technology will determine the gender of the caller and the type of appeal, making a text transcript. Transcription converts speech into text, which will look like correspondence from messengers. You will save time on listening and analyzing the content of calls, you will be able to reduce routine and devote time to more interesting and creative tasks, for example, creating intelligence maps.

Intelligence cards be used by:

  • schoolchildren and students – make a summary of lectures or new topics in order to remember them better;
  • teachers and course leaders – explain the material using a visual diagram on the blackboard;
  • managers – plan to work on the task with their teams;
  • those who are engaged in self–development – write down thoughts from the courses they have taken or from the articles they have read;
  • those responsible for the tasks – clearly describe the solutions and consequences.

Types of mental maps

Types of intelligence cards for different purposes:

Tree diagram. The main problem or idea is placed in the center, branches of different levels lead from it. 

Structure. The main idea is located at the top. Significant paragraphs and sub-paragraphs depart from it. A classic example is the organizational structure of a company with departments and departments.

Fishbone. The main idea of the intelligence card is the head. Secondary points depart from the ridge in different directions, like small bones. Their importance is reduced in the direction “from head to tail”.

Table. The familiar option can be used to compare the advantages and disadvantages of the solution options.

Time schedule. It displays possible changes from making a decision, demonstrates them in chronological order: in a week, a month, a year.

Rules of compilation

We recommend several rules for drawing up intelligence maps:

  • observe the hierarchy – place the thoughts and points of the intelligence card strictly at your level;
  • use a large format and leave space between the elements – the more often they are located, the harder it is to perceive them;
  • write briefly – ideally, if there are 1-3 words in each paragraph; 
  • use photos and drawings – so the intelligence map will become more understandable and memorable;
  • choose your own color for each branch – at the same time, remember that the eye cannot quickly process more than eight shades at the same time;
  • include up to five levels – it’s better to make a separate map for an extensive item and add a link to it in the main mind map.

Step-by-step instructions for creating an intelligence card

Try several options for drawing up and designing a map and choose the most convenient one. Below we describe one of the optimal ones.

Determining the location of the intelligence card

Choose a mind mapping service or prepare a large sheet of paper if you want to make a map manually. The paper should be without lines, cells and drawings, so that nothing distracts. Lay the sheet horizontally – this will give more freedom for creativity, and such cards are easier to perceive. You can put it on the floor, table or attach it to the wall – whichever is more convenient for you.

Choosing a central image

Define the topic of the map: solving the problem, achieving the result, a plan for the team. After that, formulate the main idea and put it in the center. You can designate it with a keyword and highlight it, and draw a picture. To create associations and make it easier to move on, turn on creativity: use different colors and symbols.

Basic ideas and colors for branches 

Choose the main categories that will continue the direction of thought and help you see the picture more clearly. They will become the main branches. To identify them, answer the questions:

  • what do you consider the most important in the map topic;
  • what information or steps are needed;
  • what questions do you want to clarify;
  • what problems should be divided into the main;
  • if the main theme of the map was a book, which chapters would you use.

The points that you write down when answering questions will be the main ideas. Choose a color for each one so as not to get confused in the branches. Come up with a meaning for each color. For example, label labor-intensive ideas with dark. 

Adding and grouping branches

Add additional ones to each main branch: to do this, ask yourself the same questions as when thinking about the main ideas. Before applying the branch of the second and subsequent levels, take a look at all the items – make sure you have chosen the right group.

Make the branches close to the center thick and bright to emphasize the importance. The additional ones are thin. If each branch is different from the other, the information will be remembered better.

Definition of both symbols and images

To make the process fun, come up with as many images as possible. Don’t spend a lot of time drawing. The usual sketches, sketches, symbols and schematic images will do. The main thing is that they are clear to you and to those who will still view the map.

Images and symbols will help to develop imagination and perceive the map better, since pictures are easier to remember than text. Studies prove that when recognizing images, most people have an almost photographic memory.

Filling with text

Sign the main and additional branches: outline the essence, write down the associations. All words on the map should work for memorization and for achieving goals. It is advisable to use one word on each branch. So you will be able to highlight the really main thoughts. 

Make the most important words voluminous or underlined, printed and capitalized. Additional ones are small and without designations. So you will once again emphasize the hierarchy of levels.

Expansion of the structure 

Add additional elements that will help you better perceive the information. For example, show the relationship of ideas with chains, loops, or arrows. The arrows set the direction of the view, so it will be easier to move smoothly from one part of the map to another with them. Additional elements of the structure can be different in size, color, volume and shape – the main thing is that they help make the map more accurate.

Services for creating intelligence maps online

In articles on how to make intelligence maps, psychologists recommend drawing them by hand with colored markers on a sheet of A3 format and more. So a person uses creative thinking, imagination and intuition to the maximum. This helps to find non-standard solutions in various situations.

If you don’t like drawing or want to use modern technologies, use special services to create intelligence maps.


The main advantage of this program is that it supports various formats of intelligence maps: classic, fishbones, business plans, SWOT analysis and others. The user can personalize the design of the intelligence card with different colors and styles of backgrounds, blocks and arrows. It is also convenient to create presentations using this program.

Xmind has a free version with all formats of intelligence maps, synchronization with the cloud. The paid version costs from $22.49 for six months for six devices.


Among the important advantages is the ability to integrate with Google tools, that is, Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter, setting up access rights for colleagues and collaboration. The free version of this program includes three cards. This option can be expanded if you invite a friend. The service also has MeisterTask, a project management program that can be synchronized with mind maps in MindMeister.

There are three paid tariffs: “Personal”, Pro, “Business”. The cost is from $4.99 to $12.49 per month.


The service has templates of intelligence maps for various situations: from finding solutions to problems to strategic planning. The interface resembles Microsoft Word, so it will be convenient for novice users. Changing the font, color and other parameters of an element in the service is just as easy. Data can be stored in the cloud and imported from Microsoft Outlook.

The service has a trial month during which you can use all the functions and create an unlimited number of intelligence cards. Credit card details are not required for the test period. Next, you will need a license: it is perpetual, costs $300 for Windows.

ImindMap (AYOA)

This program is distinguished by a variety of work formats: brainstorming, 2D and 3D presentations, reading and editing PDF files. The service offers 130 design styles. You can add videos, photos and files to the map, create tabs in tasks, notes and checklists.

The free trial period is seven days. The premium version costs $10 per month.


Several people can work on one intelligence card in Coggle. If you have a Google account, the app syncs with Google.Disk. The finished map can be exported to PNG or PDF. To personalize their intelligence card, users can use more than 1600 icons.

The trial version of Coggle includes only one intelligence card. For personal use, the service costs five dollars a month, and the corporate version costs eight.

Registration is not required to use the program. Authorization is required if you need to save data to the cloud. The service is also suitable for creating simple infographics, flowcharts, and presentations. is completely free. Exceptions are cases when it is necessary to integrate data, for example, to a Jira server. Integration with Trello and other tools is also possible.


This service allows you to create intelligence maps, work with Gantt charts and other formats. You can choose one of 24 intelligence card templates and share it with other team members. To the created maps – add audio or video.

The free version of Mindomo allows you to work on three intelligence maps. A format with an unlimited number of associative maps and Gantt charts costs from $5.5 per month. Professional with guest mode – from 13.5. Command – depending on the number of users.


The main users of Mapul are fans of non–standard design. This service simulates handwritten drawing of intelligence maps. The lines and letters will bend exactly as they are drawn. The result can be saved in JPEG or SVG.

You can create and change only one card on the free tariff. Paid with an unlimited number of cards costs $25 for three months. There are tariffs for six months and a year with technical support.


You can work with each intelligence card in the program as a team. For customization, there are many options for colors, fonts, backgrounds, and block shapes.

The finished MindGenius intelligence card can be exported to Microsoft Office, JPEG, PNG, PDF, HTML.

An annual subscription to the online version costs $192. The perpetual PC version with annual online access is $307.20.


In this program there is only one variant of the structure of intelligence maps. The main idea is located on the left, and the sub-items are arranged in a column one under the other. There are also few options for changing the appearance of the finished intelligence card. You can send it by email or save it in SVG and PDF format.

The service has a free trial version. A subscription for one user for a month costs five dollars. Discounted rates are offered for teams depending on the number of participants.


The intelligence map is a useful tool for structuring, analysis, planning and decision-making. When drawing up a map, it is important to observe the hierarchy of levels so as not to get confused in your thoughts. Mind map can be drawn by hand or use programs. It’s not difficult to figure out how to make an intelligence card in the service: most offer training materials and free trial versions.