Mind mapping

Mind mapping is a technique commonly used by creative corporations.

Developed by Tony Buzan in the 1970′s, mind mapping uses pictures and/or word phrases to organize and develop thoughts in a non-linear fashion. It helps people “see” a problem and its solution.

Many people use mind mapping when:

  • Brainstorming;
  • Taking notes; and
  • Refreshing their memory.

Mind mapping can also be used to generate new products, solve a problem, plan strategy, or develop a process. The key to its effective use to generate ideas and solve problems is to not necessarily think logically. If one idea triggers another, don’t try and analyse it, just mark it down on the mind map – the crazier the association, the better! That’s how the truly innovative solutions come.

Making connections that aren’t obvious or linear – that’s the secret to how the minds of the world’s most creative people work. But it can be the hardest thing for most people to do because we tend to impose a “logical association” upon the ideas we connect. Unfortunately, this hinders innovation. The good news is that expanding our “associative horizons” will gain breakthrough ideas.

A completed mind map can look either like a tree diagram used to solve statistical analysis problems, a multi-armed octopus-like alien, a state/province map, or a work of art. All of these types of mind maps can be equally effective.

Here’s How You Do It

  • Take a sheet of plain paper and turn it sideways (if using flipchart paper you don’t need to turn it sideways – it is large enough);
  • Using colored felt pens, draw a small picture (or write a phrase) in the centre of the paper representing the issue you want to solve;
  • Draw lines out from the main problem (it helps to use different colors for each line).
  • Each line should represent a different aspect of your problem or issue;
  • Write down what each line represents either on top of or on the line;
  • Add other lines flowing off these main lines;
  • Write a word or short phrase on the smaller lines indicating what each new line represents (you may find that mind mapping works best for you if you write down the phrases or draw the images first and then connect them with the lines); and
  • If you want, add images next to your main line that illustrate what each line means to you (some people think better with pictures, others with words).
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