It’s mid-afternoon. You’ve been in this brainstorm session for half an hour now. After a brief introduction and a flurry of ideas, your team has fallen silent. Once eager, excited eyeballs start to scan the room frantically. For someone—anyone—who can set off a spark and reignite the conversation. Yet the ideas have faded to smoldering embers. The flicker is gone. The connections are lost.
And there’s still 30 minutes to go.
We’ve all been there: a brainstorm session that starts off promising, but ends up underwhelming. This means settling for ideas that aren’t as strong as they could be, or trying to squeeze a regroup into everyone’s busy schedules for one last push. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Enter: mind mapping.
Using graphical representations of ideas, concepts and the connections between them, mind mapping unlocks the remote corners of your brain that a “normal” brainstorm might not ever reach. By capturing every thought—no matter how big or small—as you build off the center topic, you can weave strands of seemingly simple connections into a fortified web of strong solutions, ideas, passion points and much more.
Not only that, as you can see from the video above of an actual mind mapping session at Seed, this technique produces a unique layout that allows for optimal organization, analysis, synthesis and comprehension.
And remember, mind mapping isn’t just for brainstorming. It’s a great way to present an idea to clients or to get them involved in the ideation process. You can even use a little “solo” mind mapping for anything from note-taking, to jazzing up your personal creative projects, to solving some of the society’s most pressing challenges. (Like… how can we get the cheese and wine pairing business from this Fast Company video in the United States!?)
The opportunities for mind mapping (and the solutions that arise from it) are truly endless. No matter how you choose to utilize it, the most important thing is to not question the process. Like Dave Evans says… there’s no “whys” along the way. Pick a few connections—or maybe a few oddballs—and trust your brain. And the approach.
So, what are you waiting for? Pick up those colored markers and show off those highlighting and drawing skills. Or if you’re more of a digital native, check out these mind mapping apps. And just remember… when you’re mind mapping your way to effective solutions, new ideas and life-changing revelations… you literally can’t go wrong!
Adam Siegel is the Editor of The Accelerator and VP, Creative at Seed Strategy where he draws upon his diverse experience in advertising, research and innovation to craft breakthrough creative and winning concept copy.