I cannot remember when I first discovered mind mapping. The technique is similar to functional decomposition, which I was introduced to during the 80s, when I first learned to program and design business systems. At that time, the PC computer was just emerging, and no fancy programs with graphical interfaces existed as yet. So all structuring was done by hand, with pen and paper. Later on, in the 2000s, when the end-user applications flooded the market, I started to use a program called Inspiration. It is still available, and I think it is great. Originally aimed at schools and education, it has a great workflow and anything you might want from a mind mapping programming, including layouts, templates for different kinds of thinking and use of graphics. Plus an Ipad version and not terribly expensive (around 45 euro for a lifetime license).
So why am I not longer using Inspiration? Well, it may be a temporary lapse. As a student I was able to purchase Mindmanager by Mindjet for next to nothing. And being a succer for a bargain, I succumbed. Mindmanager is packed with functionality which many people rave about, but which I do not need. Like workflow, collaboration with team, projectmanagement, file management etc. The only thing that I really like about it and which Inspiration does not have, is the ability to create HTML5 maps. Unfortunately a) there is a big MindManager logo stuck on them and b) MediaWikia will not allow me to upload HTML5 files, so in fact is it a bit useless to me. So, in terms of basic functionality, the basic kind that I need, there is not much difference between Inspiration and MindManager.
Having said that, I cannot stress enough how important it is to have some kind of mind mapping tool in your life. I never ever write anything with any complexity without using a mindmap first. Juniors at the office I tell not to write, but to mind map first. It saves so much time.
Below an example from my skills class (part of the Research Master), Tanesini versus Rescher on what is philosophy?