Mind Mapping– Create a Visual Map That Sees Things Clearly: Capture–Concepts, Ideas, Plans, Strategy…

Mind Mapping: Mind mapping is the most effective, ‘brain friendly’ way for you to turn your unorganized, fleeting ideas and thoughts into a structured, visual ‘map’. A mind map resembles the visual aspects of a flow chart and the organization structure of an outline…

Mind mapping is a creative and logical means of note-taking and note-making that visually ‘maps-out’ your ideas. All mind-maps have some things in common: They have a natural organizational structure that radiates from the center and use lines, symbols, words, color and images according to simple, brain-friendly concepts. Mind mapping converts a long list of monotonous information into a colorful, memorable and highly organized diagram that works in line with your brain’s natural way of doing things...

One simple way to understand a mind-map is by comparing it to a map of a city. The city center represents the main idea; main roads leading from the center represent the key thoughts in your thinking process; the secondary roads or branches represent your secondary thoughts, and so on. Special images or shapes can represent landmarks of interest or particularly relevant ideas. The mind-map is the external mirror of your own radiant or natural thinking facilitated by a powerful graphic process, which provides the universal key to unlock the dynamic potential of the brain…

The technique of ‘concept mapping’ was developed by Joseph Novak at Cornell… Concept maps have their origin in the learning movement called constructivism. In particular, constructivists hold that prior knowledge is used as a framework to learn new knowledge. In essence, how we think influences how and what we learn.

According to Grayson Walker; concept maps identify the way we think, the way we see relationships between knowledge…

mind2 imagesCAQ063CZMind Mapping and Strategic Planning: There are many different definitions of strategic planning, but the most common always includes the phrase– ‘big picture thinking’… And, the ideal tool for strategic planning– viewing the big picture– is mind mapping; there is simply no better way to conceptualize, refine, compile, organize and share strategic-level idea…

The possibilities for developing and visualizing business strategies are limitless. Start with a theme – long-term planning, medium term goals, or even something specific like ‘increase market share by 25% in 180 days’… Then let the ideas start flowing. Keep the primary ideas connected to the central idea, then within subtopics let additional, specific thoughts radiate outward.

Don’t over-think – let the ideas flow as long as there’s energy in the room to continue. At some point in the strategic planning process take a step back and look at your mind map. If something stands out as really valuable, make that the center topic of a new map and start the process all over again… keep going until the creative energy is diminished. The end result will be more useful and infinitely more elegant than straightforward idea generation. Relationships will be visible, associations are clear, in short; the big picture will be right there in front of you…

The term ‘mind map’ was first popularized by Tony Buzan– who argued that while ‘traditional outlines’ force readers to scan left to right and top to bottom, readers actually tend to scan the entire page in a non-linear fashion. When compared with the concept map the structure of a mind map is a similar radial, but is simplified by having one central key word… Mind maps are used for– personal, educational, business situations… and some applications include; note taking, problem solving, brainstorming,  framework design, relationships, team building, collaborations…

In the article Mind Map Your Strategic Business Plan! by Fred E. Miller writes: When working on a business plan, one of the challenges is to include and expand upon, as many inside and outside factors that have, or could have, an impact on your success. Putting all these together, showing how they connect, inter-connect, and not leaving out anything is a major challenge…

One of the best tools for getting started on your strategic plan is by using– mind mapping. The simple definition of– mind mapping is that it’s non-linear brainstorming… It’s a visual technique that works the way our brains work by bringing together the left linear and right creative, sides of the brain.

Traditionally, planning is done in a linear format, which means that you are, essentially, trying to organize thoughts before you develop them. Your brain doesn’t think this way. Mind mapping works the way your brain works. Very briefly the steps are this:

  • Start with the paper in the landscape mode.
  • Place your main subject, e.g., ‘strategic plan’, in the middle.
  • Radiating from the center out, place your subtopics.
  • Use keywords, pictures, and symbols to trigger more ideas. Our brain does this naturally!
  • Use colors to show themes and associations.
  • Reorganize, edit and prioritize your map.

Revisit and revise the map often– very often– as business conditions are very fluid. The strategic plan should be able to change and reflect this. Mind mapping is one of the best ways to develop the most ideas and solutions to everyday challenges and opportunities, and definitely a great tool to get started on a ‘strategic business plan’. There are several reasons developing a strategic plan with this tool can be especially effective:

  • Everything, meaning all elements of your plan, can literally and figuratively be ‘on the same page’, thereby giving all stakeholders the ‘big picture’.
  • Seeing how all the pieces fit together can be paramount to implementing and succeeding with your plan.

Visually seeing everything will trigger far more, than when you are just looking at a linear, black and white outline of a business plan. Seeing everything helps eliminate being blind-sided when conditions change. A business, and everything that affects it is organic; meaning things are not static, but are constantly changing. An effective strategic plan must take this continuous change into account, and constantly be tweaked to reflect those changes. Regularly looking at a mind map, which is easily understood and easily modified, just makes sense.

In today’s radically changing economy; a business plan developed six months ago may not contain the correct contingencies and if not revisited often– could be mostly worthless. For example, changes in financing, payment plans, product lines, personnel, marketing… must be factored into the plan and regularly revisited, and when necessary, modified. Sometimes these modifications are not just simple ‘tweaks’, but major paradigm shifts… Mind mapping and other forms of visual communication helps people ‘get it’, quicker and more effectively…

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In the article Mind Mapping Makes Marketing More Meaningful by Cliff Allen writes: Success in any area depends on having a clear, sound plan and then acting on that plan. Mind mapping is a process of starting with a central concept and graphically adding links to greater and greater details. Most mind maps are drawn around a central concept, but mind maps are drawn in lots of ways, such as; a traditional organization chart.

Basically, a mind map is visual way to show a hierarchy… However, it turns out that with graphical mind maps you can more easily see– both, the high level view plus the details and their relationships– much better than with a linear outline. Of course, some times the linear prioritized nature of an outline is more effective… but in marketing so many programs affect other programs that the multi-dimensional approach of mind maps works very well.

Mind mapping is more than a way to draw charts, it’s used to capture ideas and concepts as they are discovered, and show their relationships. The actual mind map drawing is just a way to visually express thoughts and make them more meaningful. For example, in some organizations managers and team leaders use mind mapping for creating a common way of communicating the status of– projects, plans, performance… Mind mapping is especially useful in marketing where:

  • Marketing strategy is based on how multiple groups of customers think and feel about products.
  • Marketing has become increasingly complex as the number of communications and sales channels has increased.

These challenges have made it difficult to connect a set of marketing strategies with day-to-day marketing programs. At the same time, potential customers are being influenced by these multiple marketing channels. This means that marketers need to take advantage of the marketing leverage that an integrated marketing program can provide. It’s too easy to become focused on a few tactical marketing activities and miss other opportunities so as to influence potential customers.

One technique to keep a strategic view of a company’s marketing it to create a graphical mind map that shows: How marketing strategy guides all tactical marketing programs? How all marketing programs reinforce each other? The immediate benefit of using a strategic marketing mind map is that every manager knows how their team fits into the overall strategy– and what they need to do to support that marketing strategy. In other words, everyone understands how the marketing strategy is related to their individual marketing tactics…

Mind mapping is a strategic tool for catalyzing creative and expansive conversations while keeping the conversations grounded in the reality of the situation. By literally mapping out the details of your– technology, marketplace, strategy… you and your team have the opportunity to step back– see things better, see things more clearly, see the big picture, see things together, see things differently…

A good strategic map and the process of bringing people together in constructive dialog can help your team grapple with the complex and difficult issues… Navigating the future without a good map can be difficult and dangerous, i.e., difficult to see where you are, and if you are on the right track to reach your goal… A good map can help reveal your strategic reality and thus position you to create the future you want. A good map can generate understanding and insight, agreement, action…

The mind mapping concept is very flexible, and it can be used in a wide range of settings, including; creative thinking, writing, strategic planning, group brainstorming, life management, goal setting, training, education, business process mapping, event planning, research, SWOT analysis… and, the biggest benefits that people cite are; clarity of thinking, managing information overload, improved productivity and being better organized…

According to Alicia McWilliams; the mind mapping process is actually an advanced method of illustrating a vast variety of specific words; unusual tasks, concepts and ideas, which are effectively connected to and radically arranged around one chief idea…

Mind mapping represents a powerful and vivid method of comprehension which provides a general key towards unlocking the skills which are often hidden within the framework of the human mind. Mind mapping is a technique that can be practiced in all facet of one’s life, where enhanced learning and a more creative method of thinking would tend to improve understanding and performance…