The Mind Map is perfectly suited to innovative thinking as it consumes all the skills commonly found with creativity, specially imagination, association of ideas and flexibility. Psychological research has identified several fundamental elements in creative thinking including: the use of colours, shapes, dimensions, unusual elements, the adjustment of conceptual positions and response to an emotionally appealing objects etc.
Mind Mapping principles are a peripheral manifest of all of these defined categorises: it is a peripheral manifest of the complete thinking process. The nearly identical nature of creative thinking and mnemonic (memory) principles confirms the Mind Map as the essential and natural tool for these forms of thoughts.
Applying the creative thinking Mind Mapping technique correctly can facilitate individual Mind Mappers to create at least twice as many innovative ideas as a traditional large brainstorming group in the same period of time. Tony Buzan (the father of Mind Mapping) states there are 5 stages in the creative thinking process:
1) The Quick-Fire Mind Map Burst-
Begin by drawing a stimulating central image that represents the general topic of interest. Your image should be placed in the centre of a large blank page, and from it should radiate every idea that comes into your mind on that subject. For about 20 minutes you should let the ideas flow as fast as possible. Having to work at speed unchains your brain from habitual thinking patterns, and encourages new ideas. Many of these new ideas may at first seem absurd, however do not disregard these ideas as they often hold the keys to new perspectives and breaking old habits.
2) First Reconstruction and Revision-
Have a short break, allowing your brain to rest and begin to integrate the ideas generated so far. Then make a new Mind Map, in which you identify the major branches, categorising, building up hierarchies and finding new associations between your preliminary ideas. It may become noticeable that similar or identical concepts are present in several different places of your Mind Map. These should not be dismissed as unnecessary repetitions as they are fundamentally ‘different’ in that they are attached to different branches. These peripheral repetitions reflect the underlying importance of ideas which are buried deep with your store of knowledge but which actually influence every aspect of your thinking. Following your brain’s flow, the Mind Map explores your current thought in this new centre to replace the old. In due course this new centre will itself be placed by a new and even more advanced concept. The Mind Map therefore aids and reflects intellectual exploration and growth.
3) Incubation –
Sudden creative realisations often come when the brain is relaxed i.e. sleeping, day dreaming, running etc. this is because such states of mind allow the Radiant thinking process to spread to the farthest reaches of the Para brain, increasing the probability of mental breakthroughs.
4) Second Reconstruction and revision-
After incubation your brain will have a fresh perception on your first and second Mind Maps, so it will be useful to do another quick fire Mind Map burst. During this reconstruction stage you will need to consider all the information gathered and integrated in stages 1, 2 and 3 in order to make a comprehensive final Mind Map.
5) The Final Stage-
You now need to search for the solution, decision, or realisation which was your original creative goal. This often involves linking elements in your Mind Map, leading to major new insights and breakthroughs.
With the introduction of Commuter based Mind Mapping in the last couple of years Mind Mapping has become even easier. Mind Mapping software such as Tony Buzan’s iMindMap utilises the true principles of Mind Mapping and duplicate the non-linear thinking process of the brain, creating an explosion in creativity, innovation and knowledge sharing. Computer based Mind Mapping can be just as effective as traditional Mind Mapping as a creative thinking tool, if not more!
Summery of Creative thinking Mind Map benefits:
o They automatically utilise all the creative thinking skills.
o They generate ever-increasing mental energy as the Mind Mapper moves towards his/her goal.
o They allow the Mind Mapper to view a great many elements all at once, thus increasing the probability of creative association and integration.
o They enable people’s brains to track out ideas which normally lie in obscurity on the edge of their thinking.
o They increase the probability of gaining new ideas.
o They encourage playfulness, humour and innovation thus increasing the probability of the Mind Mapper straying far from the norm and producing a truly creative idea.
o Give Mind Mapping software such as Tony Buzan’s iMindMap a go and see how it helps to further enhance your creativity.