Mind Mapping – A Tool for Creative Thinking

Innovative thinking is a rare gift. Many of these people use mind mapping. They are well-suited to using mind maps since mind mapping involves imagination, creativity, flexibility, and the organization of ideas. Some psychological researchers postulate that creative thinking has 4 elements: the use of shapes, colors, unusual elements, and dimensions. If you want to promote creative thinking, mind mapping can be a very effective tool.

Mind mapping can often aid the thinking process. If you can apply the appropriate techniques and you use them correctly, you can generate lots of innovative ideas; often more than a group brainstorming session can generate. These are the five stages to creative thinking:

• Mind mapping burst (Quick-Fire) – after selecting your topic, draw a central image to represent it. Write down on the page with the image the ideas that come to mind. Spend at least 20 minutes generating ideas. Even if some of them seem absurd, jot them down. Often, even absurd ideas can cause you to come up with new perspectives.

• 1st Reconstruction and Revision – Take a short break then return to the ideas you’ve generated. Create another mind map, building off the first one. In this new map, try to categorize the earlier ideas. You can build hierarchies and identical ideas should be given attention.

• Incubation – leave the revised ideas for several hours, or even overnight. This time allows your subconscious to further develop the ideas -- providing you with innovative ideas and breakthroughs.

• 2nd Reconstruction and Revision – Once again, redo your original mind map. Incorporate any fresh ideas or perceptions that you've gotten during your incubation period. Integrate all the ideas and concepts found in the earlier mind maps and organize it all into a final comprehensive mind map.

• Final – Take the organized second revision and apply it to the situation that you were facing.

These five stages are essential to creative thinking. There are now tools and books that can help you in attempting mind mapping, including computer software that will do much of the work for you. This software is widely available online and you can purchase them anytime. Computer-based mind mapping is very similar to the traditional method of mind mapping.

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