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An experiment, which measured patterns of brain activity, showed that office workers are wasting 20% of their mental resources by using traditional office software, when compared to visual mapping techniques. The analysis used QEEG (Quantitative electroencephalography) technology and was conducted by Mindlab International, a British neuromarketing company, who worked on behalf of collaborative work management provider Mindjet.The results concluded that storing, sharing and managing information through visual maps (rather than in separate spreadsheets, text documents, emails and server files) leads to more accurate and faster information processing and uses fewer mental resources. The experiment showed that:

  • During everyday office tasks, participants needed 20 per cent less mental resources when using visually displayed information compared to traditional office software
  • Individuals were 17% more productive when using information displayed visually compared to using traditional office software
  • Participating teams used 10% less mental resources and were 8 per cent more productive when using visualisation tools compared to traditional office software

Chris Harman, Regional Vice President at Mindjet, comments: “As most office software was developed in the 1990’s, before the advent of big data and social media, this is hardly surprising. We’ve entered an exciting new phase in the digital revolution but most of the office tools are stuck in the last century and need to adapt to deal with this surge and acceleration in data. New technologies, such as collaborative visualisation software, are being designed to solve these problems and the results of this experiment prove their value to businesses today.”

While the experiment was obviously a clever and essential part of Mindjet’s marketing activity, the results are pretty interesting indeed, and probably make us rethink the whole concept of our digital office environment.