French National Mind Mapping Championship

Cite des Science et de L’industrie – Paris

October 4th 2019

One of the most wonderful things about being asked to attend as Chief Arbiter to the National Mind Mapping Championships around the world is that you never quite know what your “office for the day” will be like.

But you do know that on this day you will make someone’s year by crowning them the new National Mind Mapping Champion. I remember how excited it was to win my first championship and its a honour to watch others do the same.

Each National Championship is a special moment in place and time .. and this one in Paris is proving to be very memorable – around every corner there are uniquely French accents to revel in.

A light, bright, airy and comfortable competition room .. plenty of room to mingle, spread out and get creative. Far enough from the hustle and bustle of the building .. a little oasis of calm … and of nervous excitement!

The views are industrial .. evocative .. and grey urban architecture and skies contract wonderfully with the ultra-colourful preparation for the Championship.

Mind Mappers love colour – and they love their pens! We all have our favourites and one of the joys of travelling the world is getting to trial other peoples “secret stash” of writing implements.

Registration happens and people begin to take their seats .. knowing that soon the “unexpected” will happen!

The first event is a 25 – 30 minute live presentation from a mystery speaker – the competitors must take live time Mind Maps notes and after only an additional 20 minutes to refine their Mind Maps must submit them for marking.

It’s considered to be the most difficult discipline – its always a challenge to Mind Map a completely unknown subject from a completely unknown speaker.

Today it was from a gentleman who combines his love of magic and memory techniques – and although my French can best be described as “a work in progress” – I could follow along after a fashion too.

It’s a real pleasure watching Mind Maps appear on the page .. to see the colour and creativity fly off of the fingers and onto the black sheets.

And how enjoyable to sit in a puddle of sunshine and create a work of art that demonstrates “the flowering of intelligence”

The second discipline in a National Competition is the “Creative Mind Map” – a Mind Map on any topic with any content that is conjured up out of the brain of the competitor .. and there were as many gorgeously creative Mind Maps as there were beautiful brains in the room!”

Whilst the Creative Mind Maps flow and develop our team of Arbiter are busy marking the first set.

We grade Mind Maps according to the new “Paris Marking Scheme” – a scheme refined by Tony Buzan, Phil Chambers and Elaine Colliar in 2018.

Two trained Arbiters mark each Mind Map – and we know that the scheme is especially robust as most Mind Maps come with just a few marks of variance.

Verified Scores are fed into the database … and its getting close to finding out who our next Champion may be!

A ten minute pause whilst the certificates are written in advance of the Award Ceremony …

Where we meet our new French National Mind Mapping Champion – Shomie Alam from Team Pakistan.  A set of truly wonderful Mind Maps indeed.

A great day, at a truly memorable venue, full of contrast and humour and friendship.

Calm, organised and professionally staged – so thank you to Nicolas Lisiak and Jermone Hoarau who took on this massive task with ease, elegance and massive amounts of competence.

I can’t wait to return in 2020

Elaine Colliar X

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