"A wonderful emotion to get things moving when one is stuck is anger. It was anger more than anything else that had set me off, roused me into productivity and creativity.", Mary Garden

Project Outcomes

Find a creativity technique
New creativity technique

What are the success factors?

Mind Mapping

3. What are the success factors?

http://www.appladesign.net/domains/create//documents/MC900367538_642.jpgIt may be appropriate to put an item in more than one place, cross-link it to several other items or show relationships between items on different branches. Coding the colour, type of writing etc. can do this. Alternatively you could draw instead of writing and this may help you bring the diagram to life [3]. Is this sentence complete???

There is no "right" way to do mind mapping. It is a purely subjective tool that is best used when altered to fit the user's style and personality. However, to aid such alterations, the following points may prove important.

Go beyond the wall. Models don't do much good unless users are willing to chase their own thoughts beyond the comfort of their current religious beliefs, political ideology, societal norms, understanding of science and nature, and normal protocols of civility. Words will pop into mind that may even cause one to blush. Instead of repressing them, record them and see where they lead. In fact, some people prosper with the model by disciplining themselves to seek and record, on purpose, ideas, words and stances that they find personally repugnant.

Find a comfortable method. Some people prefer to do mapping in the described fashion. Others like to generate one initial impression, follow it through to exhaustion, then repeat the cycle by generating another initial impression., Alternatively, the whole process can be done in reverse, listing final snippets of thoughts and observations, then working backwards by combining them into ever-enlarging clusters until an "original" proposition is generated. Others prefer a very controlled approach that imposes preordained topics on the original proposition, rather than using free-floating impressions. This usually diminishes the range of ideas discovered, because preordained topics impose blinders. But if the method provides the user with a solid jump start, the trade-off is worth-while. The point is, you should use the model – don't let it use you.

Prepare for complexity.It is best to start a mind map in the middle of an immense chalkboard so ideas don't prematurely cease upon reaching the edge of a piece of paper. The space limitations in a journal format really don't do it justice. Consequently, one map is rolled out in stages and the thoughts are selectively recorded, showing only bits and pieces of a much larger map [5].


Benefits of mind mapping in meetings

1. It creates a much higher level of engagement among meeting participants. This has to do with the way the mind works. When our minds see a work in progress – such as a sketch or a mind map – they want to fill in the missing details. This tends to result in a much higher level of engagement by team members than without graphical facilitation.

2. It enhances the group's ability to do systems-level thinking. Some people have an innate ability to hold a large number of ideas and concepts in their mind simultaneously and can "see" the connections and relationships between them.And some people, the majority, don't have this ability. By creating a visual map of the discussion and displaying it as a work in process for all to see, all meeting participants can share a higher level of thinking and understanding. Often, it enables the group to do systems-level thinking, which tends to lead to better ideas and solutions.

3. It captures a "group memory" or history of what has been discussed in the meeting so far. This comes in handy when a senior-level executive comes into a meeting late - which would normally threatens to derail the group's momentum. The visual map radically speeds up the process of getting this late-comer up to speed on what has transpired in the meeting [7].


Mistakes to avoid with mind mapping [6]

A poorly-designed visual map can take an open-minded, left-brained person and completely turn them off to the idea of representing information and ideas visually. To help ensure that your mind maps don't fall into this category, here are mistakes you should avoid when using mind mapping to produce visual maps:

1. Don't include too much detail in your mind maps.It's too easy to create topics with unnecessary amounts of detail, which tends to create visual "clutter" and may be confusing to others, if you share your maps with them.

2. Don't be arbitrary in your use of color, shapes, line styles and other visual elements of your map.Each of these can help to convey additional meaning or context, if used consistently and systematically. Used arbitrarily, they can cause confusion.

3.  Avoid using too much text in your topics.Use specific keywords to draw your audience into the flow of your map. Keep your topic names short - 1 to 3 words maximum.

4.  Avoid over-use of visual mapping.Like anything, it's possible to take your mind mapping to its logical extreme, even using it to create your shopping list.

5. Don't create one huge map with everything in it, because it will quickly become unmanageable. Instead, leverage your program's ability to create sub-maps – multiple linked maps, each of which are easier to understand and manipulate.

6. Don't just create text-based mind maps.To get the biggest benefit out of visual mapping, be sure to include images in your maps, which will help them to appeal to both sides of your brain.

7. Avoid "map shock."An audience can be overwhelmed when viewing a complex visual map, and can experience “map shock.” Consider presenting information in both mapped and linear formats to avoid overwhelming your audience.

8. Avoid the conventional wisdom that mapping is simply about inspiration and creativity.It's actually so much more. It's a powerful tool for managing information overload, developing and implementing projects, making better decisions and has many other business benefits! [6].

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication
reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any
use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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