Mind Map

Mind Map


What is the Mind Map workshop tactic?

This tactic turns your jumbled thoughts into an interconnected map; a great starting point for idea generation.

Filling a page with ideas is hard. Starting with one thing and letting ideas branch off can lead to new and unexpected pathways. This exercise is a great way to warm up everyone’s creative minds (and it’s a fun window into the different ways people think).

Before you start, give focus to your Mind Map by framing your problem as a How Might We... question. Mind Maps are a good warm up prior to Idea Eight. They help ideas come more easily.

Mind Map Miro Template

How to use the Mind Map tactic in your workshop

1. Distribute paper and marker pens to the group.

2. Ask the group to write the topic or question to be explored in the middle of their paper.

Tip: consider using the How Might We... question format as a starting point.

3. Give a time limit of 10 minutes for the group to write down anything that comes to mind on that subject.

4. Follow up immediately with Idea Eight to take advantage of a creatively warm brain!

Tips to help the group succeed with this tactic:

  • This is an exercise in dumping everything in your brain on to paper, and letting any associations naturally occur.
  • You don’t need to try and think of ideas at this stage; just let your mind wander and write down what comes to you.
  • It can be helpful to draw lines between any ideas that connect to help spur more thoughts.

Origin: Tony Buzan, 1993

Not sure if this is the right approach for your team at the moment? Try a different idea generation workshop. Then, you can try an evaluation tactic to help you ensure you’ve got the right ideas/solutions.

Why is mind mapping so useful?

It seems so simple, but that’s precisely the beauty of it. Here are some of the reasons why this is among the ‘must have’ tactics for every workshop facilitator.

  • Mind mapping gives your brain a chance to make connections you might miss if you only use more structured tactics.
  • It can be quite a meditative experience. You allow your mind to present an idea, word or anything - and you impartially write that thing down. Then let your mind wander to whatever comes next. Repeat.
  • It’s not about trying to come up with ideas. It’s about allowing what is floating around in your head to emerge on paper. This is a collecting thoughts exercise. Not a thinking exercise.
  • This is almost a non-negotiable prior to ideation. Without it, coming up with ideas is hard and painful.

How to make the most of your mind mapping experience

  • Circle each idea to give it room to breathe on the paper. If you feel your next thought is connected, draw a line between them.
  • The time limit is essential. Pressure creates diamonds. When your time is up, pore over what you have just written. This is where the magic happens; you can start to cross-pollinate thoughts that have previously not been written down, or have never been connected before.
  • Now you are wielding a powerful artefact. This mind map is your secret to coming up with lots of ideas. Instead of staring blankly into the air when doing Idea Eight, for example, you can now consult your written brain dump!

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Mind Map is one of 54 workshop recipe cards inside the Workshop Tactics card deck.

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