By: Chris Griffiths
Everyone has the power to be creative, but how can you bring your innovative thoughts to life? Discover how Mind Mapping can unlock your creative potential in this article.
The is no denying the power of visual thinking. With our brains processing visual information 60,000 times faster than text, it is an extremely effective way to generate new and creative ideas.
The human brain is capable of incredible creativity. Some of the world’s greatest inventions started out as a simple idea in someone’s head. You may sometimes feel that you have the initial seeds of a creative idea bubbling underneath the surface of your brain, but are unsure of how to materialize this into something tangible. Having a process to help draw these ideas into the light can make all the difference.
You may, at first glance, think that Mind Mapping is a rather dated process, but it is a thinking technique which has stood the test of time—and for good reason too. Proven to boost our creativity, memory and productivity, Mind Mapping is a versatile technique that can be used by anyone to not only capture and develop ideas, but to also solve problems.
Discover how Mind Mapping can help you expand your creative thinking and how you can use it as a tool to turn your ideas into reality.
What is Mind Mapping?
A Mind Map is a visual thinking tool used to capture ideas and information. Using a unique combination of keywords, images and visual-spatial awareness, Mind Maps allow you to take various interconnected trains of thought and capture them in one place.
Sometimes referred to as a brainstorm, Mind Maps reflect our natural thinking processes by using radiating branches that stem from one central idea. These branches are your way to capture any thoughts or information associated with a particular topic. Have you ever found that once you get an idea, your mind starts to spark off lots of related thoughts, until you have a whole web of connected ideas in your head? Mind Maps essentially capture this process, so you can build on your creative ideas and ensure nothing gets forgotten in the recesses of your memory.
Remove Your Mental Barriers
The limit to our imaginations can stretch as far and wide as we allow it. Think about the imagination of children, for example. Their minds are a never-ending well of creativity as they explore and learn about the world around them. As we get older, however, our experiences begin to shape the way we see the world and we naturally start to build barriers in our minds around what we believe to be possible.
When conducting a creative brainstorming session using a Mind Map, try and remove any mental barriers in your mind and capture any idea that pops into your head. Barriers can include anything from telling yourself an idea is too silly or that it’s simply unachievable. Mind Maps are designed to enhance your brain’s creative thinking power. Use this to expand on your thoughts, however wild they may be; there will be plenty of time later to edit the notes you’ve captured and rule out anything that doesn’t work. Sometimes, it’s these crazier thoughts that can spark some of our greatest ideas. Mind Maps are a great way to help you develop these initial seeds of thought and explore them in greater depth.
See the Bigger Picture
Mind Mapping is a great tool to help you come up with creative solutions to problems. Typically, when trying to solve a problem, it can be easy to succumb to stress by forcing ourselves to come up with a solution (which rarely ever works). Mind Mapping is a refreshing alternative to generate ideas when problem-solving, as it allows you to see the bigger picture.
Once you’ve set a particular topic as your Mind Map’s central idea, then captured your ideas around this, stepping back from your Mind Map will provide you with a bird’s-eye view of your situation. With all your ideas captured onto different branches, you will visually be able to see which areas of your map need developing further – so you can evaluate your problems from a whole and identify any gaps in your thinking.
Overcoming a Creativity Block
Just like trying to solve a problem, creativity can’t be forced. When faced with a creative block, it can feel like an impossible wall to pass. When trying to overcome this mental barrier, it can help to step back and try to think more broadly, rather than trying to hone in on a particular area. Mind Maps typically use one keyword per branch, allowing you to draw much more connections from each individual thought. This will help to broaden your thinking and explore limitless possibilities, rather than focusing on the finer details at this stage.
Be sure to also pair words with images as much as possible. A Mind Map is first and foremost a visual thinking tool; therefore, using visual stimuli alongside your thoughts and ideas will help your brain to process information quicker and draw more creative associations between your ideas.
The chances are, once your imagination is on a roll, you’re likely to have ideas flooding in from every angle. Capturing these is vital in ensuring no idea gets forgotten. So what makes capturing these ideas in a Mind Map any different to jotting them down in a notebook? The answer is simple: connections. By linking your ideas together with branches, your brain will be able to easily establish connections between different trains of thought. It’s these connections that will allow you to expand on your creative ideas and turn them into something tangible.
With advancements in technology meaning there are endless tools available all claiming to help make our lives easier and boost our creativity, Mind Mapping actually works with your brain to help you achieve your greatest potential – so not only can you generate creative ideas, but actually find a way to bring them to life!
About the Author
Chris Griffiths is the CEO of OpenGenius and the developer of Ayoa, a Mind Mapping app used by top thinkers to boost productivity, create, communicate and innovate – all in one place. Chris has over 28 years’ experience setting up and leading successful businesses that have ranked in the ‘Deloitte European Fast 50’ and ‘The Sunday Times Fast-track 100’.