Think different: The power of Mind Mapping

Add this to your website

Mind mapping is the "art" of capturing and exploring your thoughts in a diagrammatic form, without necessarily using a linear path. Developed by popular psychology author Tony Buzzan, you may have seen these spider web looking structures online or in reference books and pondered what they might be. For something that can appear vastly complicated, mind maps are surprisingly easy to construct and a highly potent personal development tool.

How's it done?

You start with the problem or idea "bubble" at the centre and begin by drawing a branch out from that idea, which is a thought that you have associated with this centre starting point, i.e. (SUCCESS)--(FULFILMENT) Then, split that branch endpoint into multiple lines and associate a new thought or idea with that individual strand and so on and so on.

Each new prong evolves the map and leads the imagination off into a new potentially unexplored direction. This enables ideas and perspectives to be explored "laterally" and in very different directions. Here's a very basic example:


How's it different?

Highly complex business models have been developed and inspired in this way, there are numerous studies that indicate that this way of capturing thought processes, very much reflects how the human brain physiology works and the mind feels comfortable with the process, speaks the same language if you like.

I find mind mapping to be an incredibly gratifying and more importantly, fun way of elaborating on an idea and exploring potential new ways of looking at familiar problems. It's a great way of untangling an issue or planning a project - laterally instead of the usual step by step, analytical problem solving methodology. The process offers you an easy way to unwind the "ball of wool" and come up with surprising, alternative view points on the issue, you'll be amazed at how de-cluttered your thinking will feel afterwards as well.

I mind map for myself and frequently introduce mapping sessions with my clients, either there and then in the coaching session or as an inquiry for homework. It's a great way to capture a metaphorical concept visually and if you are at all creative (and that means you!) you can go to town with introducing symbols, imagery and multiple colours where and when you decide to, the mind loves to play with new ideas, imagination should be allowed a free reign, at last a legitimate excuse to dig the felt tips out!

Here are some more elaborate examples:








Great! What do I need?

The flow of new ideas and potential revelations are coming to us all the time, every great leader will be constantly considering new approaches and ways of thinking about stayed methods of business. Make sure you have the basic equipment to quickly capture and explore these with mind maps where ever you may be!

Essential kit includes: a pen and pad (A6 size or so) for when you are out and about, a white board and selection of coloured pens for the office or home. In addition to this, a digital solution, there is a vast selection of amazing mind mapping software available for almost every digital platform now. A solid application for both Mac and PC is "XMind" (and it's free) . If you have an iPhone you are spoilt for choice, personally I use "Mindnode Touch"

Truly inspirational ideas sprout from these wonderful organic structures, next time you are struggling to untangle the possibilities, try diving into a mind map.

Article by Phil Askew, Business and Leadership Coach

For more information on Business Coaching please contact 0203 303 0468.