Why mind map?
The short answer is that we, as human beings, think in a chaotic manner. We don’t think serially, e.g. A to B, B to C, etc. Novelists don’t write a story in order. No-one can just type out beginning, middle, end. Stories have sub-plots, twists, character profiles, the creative process is back and forth, left and right.
In practice, our brain fires neurons in multiple directions. Mind maps mirror this process. They enable us to literally draw out our thoughts at they occur. We can then re-arrange our ideas, spot which ones belong together, find better ways of organising them. Mind maps are for everyone, and are useful for lots of different types of projects.
This includes, but is not limited to, the following.
- New projects
- Business plans
- Social events, such as parties or weddings
- Stories and essays
- Research notes
However, there is no project that is not suitable for mind mapping. They are brilliant technique for everyone and everything. Mind maps have even been used for TED talks. They allow the audience to see the bigger picture of the topic being discussed.
Mind maps aren’t just for individuals. They are equally beneficial for groups. This ranges from a simple meeting, both for setting the agenda and capturing discussions. Mind maps can be created quickly, in real-time, and help everyone involved to visualise what is being discussed. One problem of a traditional meeting is that individuals within a group might interpret the discussion differently. By creating a mind map, it is easier to ensure that everyone is literally “on the same page”. The resulting mind map can also act as the minutes of a meeting. Participants can re-visit the mind map at a later date to review what happened.
Visualisation is fantastic for people with learning difficulties
A large portion of society live with learning difficulties such as dyslexia. Often this can make it more difficult for them to communicate or contribute. Mind mapping is a proven method of overcoming this. The visual nature of mind maps is easier for dyslexics to comprehend and create. It engages both the logical and creative parts of their brains, and provides a canvas for visualising and connecting their ideas. Apart from the social benefits of enabling those who think differently, there is a great benefit to getting opinions from a wide variety of diverse people.
Mind maps are a starting point. Once created they can be used for planning and executing. Several online tools, such as minddoodle.com, also provide task management tools that integrate. For example, tasks can be added to each individual idea in the mind map, be assigned to team members, prioritised and scheduled. The resulting project plan can then be managed in a normal manner, be linked back to the original mind map.