Mind Maps as a Brainstorming technique

brianstorm_mindmap

I hope all of you had a great new year bash. I am sure all of us are eagerly looking forward to having a great year ahead. Once again, a very happy and prosperous new year to all you you; may 2017 bring all your dreams and wishes to a reality.

As mentioned earlier, I am hoping to write every single day this year in this blog. I expect most of them to be short tidbits about a new learning, concept or topic I come across for that day. In alignment with the theme of this blog, most of them will be related to Business, Life and Technology (BuLiTe).

If you are a content marketer or working in a publishing firm; I am sure this will be the time you are finalizing your editorial calendar or brainstorming the themes, plans etc. In my previous role, this used to be busiest timeframe with new marketing messages, Go-To-Market plans, overall goals and other high level marketing & communications tasks are charted out.

One of the tools generally used by teams; be it new product development team or project team is a mind map.Mind map is a concept popularized by Tony Buzan.Though the concept of visualizing thoughts and ideas is there for centuries; he made it more structural.

What are Mind Maps?

As you know, a picture is worth 1000 words. A mind map is nothing but a free-form visualization of your thoughts. The benefits of mind maps are mainly around its easy comphrensibility and representation of ideas, complex concepts and so on.It also increases engagement of the users.

How to create a mind map?

It is suggested to use as many pictures as possible along with multiple colors. One start with the central idea and then branch to various sub-tasks or requirements. Each branch must have only a linear; multiple topics/suggestions need to be splitted a level down. As the branches spread across, it becomes more detail, and simpler conceptually.

You are free to use interlinking lines, sub headings and add more details to each branch. The aim is to understand in one quick look, how the idea works.

Mind Maps v/s Structured Diagrams

While mind maps are free-flow diagrams used in brainstorming; other similar visualization techniques like conceptual maps or UML diagrams add rigidity to how the diagram is constructed. For example, conceptual maps allow more text and hierarchies to be added at each level. UML diagrams comes in the next level structuring your ideas with more information such as dependencies, inheritance and so on. Such sophisticated techniques are used in later stages of product development.

Software tools for mind mapping

Multiple software applications are available for mind mapping. This range from desktop applications like iMindMap to browser extensions like coggle it. Applications like bubble us or Stormboard extends mind maps with more features helping in brainstorming and development. Having said that, it’s always better to use a plain paper and few sketch pens to create your mind maps. It’s more engaging and appealing 🙂

What do you think about mind maps? Do you use it in your brainstorming sessions?

Parting you with a good research paper written by Martin Davies on why and how to use mind maps & conceptual maps. Also here is a rough high level coggle mind map on what I intend to learn / write in 2017 in BuLiTe!

BuLiTe_Mind_Map

About Vijay Sankar 42 Articles

A techie turned business professional; presently living in Cochin, India. For bread and butter, exploring the domain of marketing attribution. I hold an Electrical Engineering degree from College of Engineering, Trivandrum and Executive MBA (PGPEM) from Indian Institute of Management Bangalore

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