Mind mapping has been around for quite awhile – especially the lo tech version (hand written on a sheet of notebook paper). I’ve used this technique many times when I want to develop an idea as fully as possible. Recently I’ve been involved in forming a faith-based non-profit organization that has a beautiful venue for our activities: our local theater which was renovated a few years ago, along with an adjacent area for classes, café, etc. Here’s my brainstorming mind map:
This mind map was my initial attempt to identify events and productions we could offer in our first year of operation. I think the hardest part of this exercise is not trying to fit ideas into a pre-determined structure and figure out immediate relationships between them. If you can get past this, it’s amazing how many thoughts and ideas emerge. Once you have them, you can start making connections and relationships because they just emerge. It’s like the right brain gives way to the left brain, as long as the left brain allows the right brains first dibs in the process.
It struck me how similar mind mapping is to writing a song or editing a photograph. Some of my most interesting pieces have come from a detachment to the end result, of just playing with things until they start to form a cohesiveness and direction. There really isn’t a formula or set of steps that always lead to this. I just randomly create/write/edit/compose until a pattern starts to form. Then it’s a matter of finishing the pattern so it makes sense and can be interpreted in some way.
It’s important to recognize the two halves of our brain and how they can work and play together. Give each of them space to work and you’ll be amazed at the results.
Here's an example of playing with something until it felt right. This photo ended up very different from the original. But it has more of the feeling I originally envisioned when I took the photo.