There has probably been a time where someone has asked you to come up with an idea. You spent hours just trying to come up with something from the top of your head. Sometimes you get that ‘Eureka!’ moment fairly quickly, other times you’re just scraping the end of the bowl. There is actually a method that you can use to systematically come up with not just one, but a plethora of ideas. It is called ‘Mind Mapping’.
What is Mind Mapping?
Mind mapping is a thinking method that helps solve, expand upon, or structure ideas of a specific topic. It involves using visuals like diagrams to branch out from an original point to the next related one. This process keeps repeating until all the information is presented as a whole with every point showing its associations.
During a mind mapping session, individuals are free to let their minds wander to create on-the-fly connections, link ideas and elaborate on these ideas into more details. The best part about this method is that you don’t need to have any formal training and there isn’t a clear rule on how it should be done. Everyone involved will have different ideas and no two people will have the exact same thoughts.
…let your mind free to make any type of association possible
Why Mind Map?
Mind mapping can be used in a variety of tasks such as generating ideas, memorising a chapter in a textbook, planning for a project, organising facts and problem solving. By illustrating your mind map, you are able to see everything as one large picture made up of individuals points.
One of the best parts about starting a mind map is that your bare minimum requirements are:
- A place to draw the mind map like some paper or a white board
- Writing materials such as pencils, pens or markers
- Yourself! Or if you’d like to collaborate, a group
How Do I Mind Map?
Did you think of the colour yellow? Perhaps another fruit or a sundae? Congratulations, you have taken your first step in mind mapping (it’s that simple).
First and foremost, you’ll need to understand what you’re trying to map. Start by writing down the topic at the center of your drawing area. From the top of your head, think about all the associated things you can figure out about your topic and write these just around the core.
At this point, let your mind free to make any type of association possible. Once you’ve got a number of these written, connect all these points to the main one. Each of these sub-points that you’ve written down can branch into more and more ideas, and don’t let a linear branch determine your mind mapping. Keep expanding as much as you can and you’ll get something that looks like this.
An example of how a mind map looks like. Results can be appropriate or down-right ridiculous but this is where unexpected or new ideas appear.
With all of these points written down, you’ll be surprised on how much you’ve expanded your core topic. With all this information, you can use it to generate new ideas for a fruit marketing campaign or the many uses of bananas.
Wrapping it Up
By all means, mind maps are nothing new and great thinkers have been using this technique in their brilliant work for a long time. While is it not the only method to form ideas, it is certainly one of the best ones humankind has figured out and implemented.