Perhaps one of the most powerful applications of iMindMap and Mind Mapping is the generation of new ideas for creativity and innovation. First of all let’s just get those two terms right in our minds. For the contenxt of this post, “Creativity” is the generation of ideas and “Innovation” is the implementation of ideas to solve a problem.
So why is Mind Mapping such a powerful creative tool?
Well it boils down to the the way a Mind Map is structured – it consists of a radiant flow of branches and sub-branches emanting from a central idea. This structure mirrors the way the brain organizes its information which is through relationships by association. Now there are two ways association is organized within the brain (and the Mind Map). The first is through chains and the second is through hooks.
Association by Chains – if you think of one idea and allow you mind to freely associate, it will think of another, then another, then another and so on. The connection between the two might be very tenuous, it might be obvious. It does not really matter because for some reason your brain triggers each idea stimulated by the previous idea. Imagine it is like walking through a long corridor and each time you generate a new idea, you have to open another door to go further down the corridor.
Association by Hooks – The other way we organize our associations is using hooks. One idea can trigger several related ideas, each one associated to the original theme. Using our door analogy again, imagine standing in a circular hallway that has multiple doors leading off from it.
The brain then combines these two processes to create its “map” of its information and this is reflected in the way iMindMap structures its representation of information.
The Generation of Ideas
Generating ideas is really very simple – all we need to do is let the mind do what it naturally does and then capture whatever comes to mind. Okay that is a bit of a simple way of looking at it but in reality that is all you need to do provided you have primed the mind to focus on a particular challenge or problem you want to solve, stimulate it with ideas generation activities and then capture the output.
When you use Mind Mapping to do this what happens is the capture of the ideas in Mind Map form triggers the generation of yet more ideas which compounds leaving you with a staggering burst of creativity.
The Speed Mind Map Mode
Capturing the generation of ideas by hand is possible but can lead to problems deciphering what you have written with messy handwriting that you can’t read later on (remember you will be scribbling the ideas down as fast as they come!). Fortunately in iMindMap, it has a speed Mind Mapping mode to help you with this (more about this in another post). You can access by going to the Mode Icon in the menu bar.
The Secret to Creativity
There is no real hidden secret to creativity despite the heading to this particular section however I can reveal that improvements in your ability to generate amazing ideas is not about doing something extra, but it is about stopping doing something that is holding you back. You see as you start to generate ideas, it is likely you will judge them as they come to mind and will edit them by discarding them when they appear because they might not appear relevant.
This is a big mistake. The Secret to Creativity is the generation of a huge QUANTITY of ideas and not lots of QUALITY ideas. The quality of ideas often come when we think we have exhausted all possibilities and are possibly a combination of two or more ideas that might have been considered poor or irrelevant when they first appeared. So DON’T EDIT!!
Other Creativity Tools
As we have already pointed out, Mind Mapping is a powerful creative mechanism in its own right so when you combine it with other creative processes (for example De Bono’s 6 Thinking Hats) you can develop a potent idea generation mechanism.
The only way to find out for yourself is to try it. Let us know how you get on.