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
- structure representations
- team building
- data visualization
- inspiring creativity
- gaining insight
- note taking
How to make a Mind Map
- start with an idea, problem or task in the center (draw it or write it down)
- draw branches in a radial or heirarchical pattern out from your central idea
- at the end of each 'branch' put another idea, problem or task that relates in some way to your central idea
- 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!
- 3 Smart Ways to Brainstorm Better(thedailymuse.com)
- A Crash Course In Creative Breakthroughs(fastcompany.com)