The Christian Mission for Eastern Countries foundation is committed to supporting people in disadvantaged regions around the world. The premise is to help people to help themselves and to reinforce their abilities and chances.
One of the organization’s primary objectives is to encourage people to build up local businesses in their own countries – be it a farm, a shop, or a service. What’s more, the organization also supports education projects or and provides purely humanitarian aid, for example in war zones.
The amount and variety of their international projects (which includes projects in locations such as Nepal, Moldova, Ukraine, and more) makes keeping track of everything involved a difficult task for the persons responsible at Christian Mission for Eastern Countries. Planning, implementation, and budgetary control present major challenges as well.
From their head office in Worb, in the Swiss canton of Berne, they must not only manage all their projects but also justify the financing of the projects to the foundation council. Looking for more transparency and above all, more creativity and support in the planning and implementation of his projects, Gallus Tannheimer, Mission Director and Managing Director of the Foundation and passionate mind mapper, decided to introduce the mind mapping methodology to the organization.
“We have been using MindManager since 2021,” says Gallus Tannheimer. “The usage scenarios are multiple and varied, and the software is an integral part of our day-to-day work. It is particularly helpful in brainstorming and preparing meetings.”
He and five of his 16 staff members regularly work with MindManager. Tannheimer particularly values one increasingly important aspect – the process planning. “I love to use the swim lanes for process descriptions to show how a project develops”, he says. “The swim lanes are helpful for the targeted communication and implementation of projects and project elements. With this cross-functional flowchart, you can beautifully visualize what needs to be done, who is involved and what milestones and objectives need to be achieved.”
The director finds it helpful that the swim lane diagrams convey the most important milestones without including excess information, which is why he often uses this type of diagram to present his plans and projects to the foundation council.
In addition, he and his colleagues love to use the platform for brainstorming sessions. “We are currently tasked to plan the 50th anniversary of the Christian Mission for Easter Countries. As a first step, we gathered our ideas in a map, organized them, and added complementary information. The ability to show dependencies with MindManager is particularly useful. All this helps us to make more informed decisions about what ideas we implement and in what way and with which budget,” says Tannheimer.
They also like to use the pre-built templates. Over the many years they have been working with MindManager, they have developed templates and checklists for various projects and tasks.
“Today, we are able to access our saved templates, which makes our work so much easier and accelerates many things,” adds Tannheimer. This leads to reliability in terms of budgetary planning, timelines, or the allocation of resources. Their years of experience ensure that their templates function extremely well and the planning, implementing, and controlling of their humanitarian projects goes as smoothly as possible.
It is difficult for Tannheimer to specify all the benefits of using MindManager, as he cannot imagine working without this solution. He feels, however, that MindManager offers great added value because it consistently involves people intensively in a project or task. “The visual appearance of the maps corresponds so well with how humans think that you can use it as a working base everywhere–it works in Switzerland as well as in Nepal or Ukraine,” says Tannheimer.
In its Ukraine project, the Christian Mission for Eastern Countries currently benefits from the capability of building on a network of over 500 children’s clubs. Through this network, they are now distributing more clothes and food. Since the outbreak of the war, they have been using this capability even more extensively to support the Ukrainians.
“With the increasingly complex and dynamic situation in Ukraine today, the mind maps help keep us on track. They facilitate the discussions and meetings that are necessary in all of our projects to make these kinds of support activities at all feasible,” says the head of mission.