Mind Mapping is a Great Way to Brainstorm

Ian Gowdie did this great (!) and creative mind map.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been afraid of the concept of brainstorming.  So long, in fact, that I had forgotten that brainstorming exercises in elementary terrified me.

Now I list brainstorming as one of my strongest abilities. So, when a co-worker pointed out that the practice in question can be intimidating to people it was something of an ‘Aha’ moment for me.

Brainstorming implies that you need to have a genius moment,  a light bulb turning on over your head. Certainly, I can understand why this strikes fear into some of our hearts.

A parallel, but less intimidating process is Mind Mapping.

Mind mapping is a graphical method for taking notes.  Generally it starts with an idea, thought, task, etc. in the center and sub-ideas will branch off of that central idea. The map can be as ornate or as simple as you’d like it.


Mind Mapping can be less intimidating as a process for brainstorming as the need for a ‘genius’ moment has been neutralized. The connotation is different. Mind Mapping can and will create genius moments based on the knowledge already in your head.  It will provide a graphical representation of your ideas to easily move around and manipulate.  You’ll be surprised what comes out of your mind mapping session. Give it a try!

Mind Mapping can be used for:

  • problem solving
  • framework design
  • outlining
  • collaboration
  • structure representations
  • team building
  • studying
  • data visualization
  • planning
  • memorization
  • inspiring creativity
  • gaining insight
  • research
  • note taking
  • presentation


 How to make a Mind Map

  1. start with an idea, problem or task in the center (draw it or write it down)
  2. draw branches in a radial or heirarchical pattern out from your central idea
  3. at the end of each ‘branch’ put another idea, problem or task that relates in some way to your central idea
  4. rinse and repeat for the ideas you placed at the ends of your initial branches

Mind Mapping is a process created by Tony Buzan : http://www.thinkbuzan.com/us/.  Tony advocates the usage of images and color when creating a mind map, but for those without access to pens and markers, or those who are not interested in drawing, written words and lines will suffice!


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