Mind Mapping

If you are using the creative right side of your brain, you inhibit its potential by using the logical left side strongly at the same time. The more you focus your thinking in one hemisphere, the more productively it works, so if you are trying to think creatively you do not want to focus your left brain on recording your ideas in a structured, logical manner.

Mind mapping is a right-brain approach to recording ideas but also helps you to generate ideas because it gives your creative mind free rein. It encourages you to let go of boundaries and structures and to think expansively.

Developed in the mid-1970s by Tony Buzan, mind maps are a visual and free-form method of developing ideas using right-brain thinking. They use association literally to draw connections between ideas and to create a map of a subject.

Buzan originally developed this technique for note taking, but it became apparent that it works extremely well for generating new ideas.

The basic gist of mind mapping is to begin with a central theme, encapsulated as a key word, which you write in the centre of your page – most people prefer to turn an A4 sheet around so it is in landscape format. You can draw a circle or box around this key word, or any shape you like. If the key word is packaging, you might want to draw a 3D cube around it. If it is accommodation you might draw a house, and so on.

Now draw lines leading from this central theme as you generate ideas, and along each one write any other key words relating to the theme which spring to mind. Or you might prefer to write the key word with a box or circle around it, and link this to the central key word with a line.

You can write other words and ideas related to these key words beside them, or in lines leading off them, or whatever works for you. Just keep going, linking and relating ideas.

There aren’t any rules. Your right brain does its own thing, and the aim is to give it as much freedom as possible. As with brainstorming, anything goes. Get the ideas down first and worry later about how useful each one is. You can write the satellite key words first, and then work on the ideas leading off from them. Or just write one of them down and explore that before you move on to the next.

You can jump around the page, jotting ideas down as you think of them. You can create subsidiary groups of words leading from other groups, which lead in turn from other groups. You can write down ideas on the page anywhere you like. Don’t worry about putting them in the right place – just get your ideas down and explore them.

Some people never get to grips with mind mapping – the lack of logical structure just does not suit them. But huge numbers of people who learn the technique continue to use it, and everyone has their own style. Some people produce colourful mind maps, others have pictures everywhere. Some mind maps are neat and use only words, some are a mess with icons and personal symbols.

A mind map is very subjective, and the process of creating it is often more important than the end result. Using someone else’s just does not work.

All sorts of successful business people swear by mind mapping. Among others, the engineer responsible for Boeing’s technical publications unit keeps notes on everything he needs to know as a series of mind maps in a spiral bound notebook. He also has a 40x4ft mind map he once produced displayed on his wall.

Others use them to help them decide how and when to sack staff, to develop presentations or proposals, to predict trends, to explore markets and to develop new products and services.BOX

Mind mapping is a right-brain approach to recording ideas but also helps you to generate ideas because it gives your creative mind free rein. It encourages you to let go of boundaries and structures and to think expansively.

Developed in the mid-1970s by Tony Buzan, mind maps are a visual and free-form method of developing ideas using right-brain thinking. They use association literally to draw connections between ideas and to create a map of a subject.

Buzan originally developed this technique for note taking, but it became apparent that it works extremely well for generating new ideas.

The basic gist of mind mapping is to begin with a central theme, encapsulated as a key word, which you write in the centre of your page – most people prefer to turn an A4 sheet around so it is in landscape format. You can draw a circle or box around this key word, or any shape you like. If the key word is packaging, you might want to draw a 3D cube around it. If it is accommodation you might draw a house, and so on.

Now draw lines leading from this central theme as you generate ideas, and along each one write any other key words relating to the theme which spring to mind. Or you might prefer to write the key word with a box or circle around it, and link this to the central key word with a line.

You can write other words and ideas related to these key words beside them, or in lines leading off them, or whatever works for you. Just keep going, linking and relating ideas.

There aren’t any rules. Your right brain does its own thing, and the aim is to give it as much freedom as possible. As with brainstorming, anything goes. Get the ideas down first and worry later about how useful each one is. You can write the satellite key words first, and then work on the ideas leading off from them. Or just write one of them down and explore that before you move on to the next.

You can jump around the page, jotting ideas down as you think of them. You can create subsidiary groups of words leading from other groups, which lead in turn from other groups. You can write down ideas on the page anywhere you like. Don’t worry about putting them in the right place – just get your ideas down and explore them.

Some people never get to grips with mind mapping – the lack of logical structure just does not suit them. But huge numbers of people who learn the technique continue to use it, and everyone has their own style. Some people produce colourful mind maps, others have pictures everywhere. Some mind maps are neat and use only words, some are a mess with icons and personal symbols.

A mind map is very subjective, and the process of creating it is often more important than the end result. Using someone else’s just does not work.

All sorts of successful business people swear by mind mapping. Among others, the engineer responsible for Boeing’s technical publications unit keeps notes on everything he needs to know as a series of mind maps in a spiral bound notebook. He also has a 40x4ft mind map he once produced displayed on his wall.

Others use them to help them decide how and when to sack staff, to develop presentations or proposals, to predict trends, to explore markets and to develop new products and services.

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