Yes, I have been on vacation and playing hookey from my blog. Then, when I was ready to write my blog post – nothing came out. Try as I might, the font was dry.
Fortunately, I know a few tricks to conquer writer’s block and build creativity. One such idea is Mind Mapping. With Mind Mapping, a brainstorming technique, you create diagrams of relationships between ideas, problems or concepts. Mind Mapping can improve brainstorming and learning success up to 15%. This is undoubtedly because you form data links and create neural connections which increase the brain’s ability to recall information, enhancing learning and retention of information.
Mind Mapping begins with selecting a central idea or theme. New, related ideas are connected from the central idea in branches. Subtopics can, in turn, branch further. Embellishing with color and pictures, as mnemonic devices, will improve the efficacy and memory retention.
Mind Mapping works best in team environments where ideas are tossed out quickly without discussion or vetting. The goal is to get as many ideas down without judgment. This allows for creative thinking ‘outside the box.’ Not all ideas will be practical or possible, but they allow for creative ‘what-if’ thinking that may lead to a breakthrough. If, after completion of a Mind Map, there is no breakthrough, select a subtopic and start anew with it as your new central node, essentially going down a rabbit’s hole.
Mind Mapping Characteristics
- The subject is the central node.
- Themes radiate from the central node.
- The branches comprise a key word or image associated to the central node.
- Subtopics can radiate off the relevant themes.
- The branches form a connected nodal structure.
There are a number of consultanat, software packages and websites that allow the creation of, or otherwise support Mind Maps. Or, you can pull out your Crayola crayons and go old school. Whichever technology level you use, you are sure to see the problem in a new way.
What creative ideas do you use to brainstorm? I welcome your comments and advice for future topics.
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