Mind Maps are the ideal tool for effectively accessing natural creativity and harnessing that creativity for effective problem solving. The main branches of the Mind Map can be used in a variety of ways to support thinking. The only limit to the ways in which Mind Maps can be used is the imagination. Some of the ways the main branches can be used are as follows:
Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats – This is a well known technique for getting ‘out of the box’ of habitual thinking. It originated as a way of helping groups to get away from the conflict that characterises many meetings by adopting different thinking modes. See the Mind Map and notes on the following pages.
Edward de Bono’s PNI approach. This is a simple way of approaching problems by analysing points on the basis of whether something is ‘Positive’, ‘Negative’ or ‘Interesting’ .
Questions. Making the main branches questions can often act as an impetus for effective problem solving. The usual questions are Who, What, Where, Why, When and How.
Checklists. One way of using checklists would be to take an item and use the checklist to stimulate thinking about alternative uses. Typical branches may be: Magnify, Minify, Substitute, Rearrange, Reverse and Combine.
Forced Relationships and Analogies. One of the main challenges for anyone wishing to be creative is in provoking their thinking away from existing paradigms. There are a number of ways of doing this, such as thinking of similarities to or differences from some of the more or less random words. The choice of words is arbitrary since the key here is to provoking thinking. Typical words (branches) may be: Animals, Transport, People, Textures, Shapes etc.
Attribute lists. Again, primarily used to provoke thinking by looking at existing problems, objects or situations in new ways. The way this technique works is simply to list different attributes and then use the natural process of the Mind Map to think divergently.
Most of these techniques are covered on our course – Creativity for Logical Thinkers