Even though I am thinking more about the future of the US economy, the significance of cultural translation in emerging markets and the symbolic significance of the Smurfs in branding, I thought something a little more practical was in order. Specifically, I am thinking about mind mapping as a great technique for pulling abstract and concrete ideas together into a holistic understanding of what people do, say and believe. A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are collections of words structured by the mental context of the actor with visual mnemonics to help in memory and organization. Therefore, though the use of color, icons and visual links is informal, it is necessary to the proper functioning of the mind map. When time is short or you need a visual and textual representation of a complex system of beliefs and actions, mind mapping is a marvelous technique.
Structure of a mind mapping session typically involves the following:
- Start in the center with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colors.
- Use images, symbols, codes, and dimensions throughout your mind map.
- Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
- Each word/image is best alone and sitting on its own line.
- The lines should be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
- Make the lines the same length as the word/image they support.
- Use multiple colors throughout the mind map, for visual stimulation and also to encode or group.
- Use emphasis and show associations in your mind map.
- Keep the mind map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.