Ideas to help you think and work more creatively
Sand for Your Inbox - November 2006
Hello... Glad you're here!
Do you sometimes wish you had an easier way to organize or gather your thoughts? Ever been working on a presentation, proposal, or to-do list and didn't know where to start or where you were going to go? A map would have come in handy in these situations...
Think the Way You Think
Mindmapping (also known as brainwriting or concept mapping) is a technique which allows you to rapidly organize, gather thoughts, as well as lay out a presentation, proposal, to-do list or anything else you need to think through.
What makes mindmapping especially helpful is it allows you to think in the same way your brain organizes information.... allows you to think the way you think.
How do you 'mindmap?'
The concept is simple - and you can get as fancy as you'd
Here are the basics: (I'll follow along with a relevant example).
- Grab a sheet of blank paper and a favorite writing instrument.
- Start with your central idea, problem, or thought in the middle of the page. Write it down.... like below... items we'll serve for Thanksgiving dinner...
- Surround your central idea with sub-ideas. Draw lines radiating from the center to your surrounding sub-ideas. To generate your sub-ideas, ask questions about the central such as... How do we do this? What are the key parts? What are the steps?
- Use each of these sub-ideas as a central idea and build additional thoughts.
- Keep building... add ideas as they come to you... It doesn't matter where... You may come up with new sub-ideas, want to change your central idea...
- Whoops, don't want to forget the apple cider and my pies are going to be pumpkin and pecan.
- Here's the finished mindmap for Thanksgiving Dinner. This helped me make sure I didn't forget any items...
You can get as fancy as you'd like... But, you can just as easily mindmap on the back of a napkin as you can with an expensive piece of software... Here are resources to help you learn and do more..
While there are many choices, Idea Sandbox recommends...
Mapping Inner Space: Learning and Teaching Visual Mapping by Nancy Margulies and Nusa Maalx. An awesome resource if you're just getting started and think you may use mindmapping often. (Once you get started it comes easier and easier to you).
Mindmapping by Joyce Wycoff - Joyce does a great job - taking you from the basics through advanced techniques and applications of mindmapping. "Your personal guide to exploring creativity and problem-solving.
While there are scores of software titles out there, I'll make some recommendations for you. (Click titles for link to software site).
- Mac/PC: PowerPoint by Microsoft - while not my preferred software-based method, nearly all of us have PowerPoint on our computers.
- Favorite for PC: MindManager 6 by Mindjet - Flexible program designed specifically for mindmapping. It is worth reading and learning how to use this application as you can capture ideas pretty quickly if you know how to use the software. (Also available on Mac).
- Favorite for Mac: OmniGraffle 4 by The Omni Group- A diagramming application with a very easy to use interface. Not solely for mindmapping, I find it a breeze to use.
No matter how you use or draw them, I hope you enjoy this technique and you find it useful.
Have you had experience with these or any other tools? Still not convinced? Read more and contribute your own ideas and experiences about mindmapping at the Idea Sandbox weblog.
professional problem solver
Idea Sandbox • Seattle | Amsterdam