Mind Mapping

I recently attended a course led by Tony Buzan and others, to become a licensed Buzan Mind Mapping instructor and thought I would share how we can use Mind Maps for, amongst many other things, creativity.  Many of you will know the concept of left and right brain, the left side of the cerebral cortex dealing with words, analysis, logic etc, and the right side dealing with rhythm, colour, imagination etc. The implication of this description is that there is no connection between the two sides, which is not true; they are joined by the corpus callosum, a sort of superconductor for swapping information.

If you ask people, “Where does creativity lie in the brain?” they will typically say, “On the right”. Ask them what side of the brain Mind Mapping uses and they will typically say the right. This is wrong. In fact, the process of creating a Mind Map uses the whole brain, creating many associations as your imagination creates more ideas and branches, but also structuring and ordering those ideas.


How can you use a Mind Map for creativity? Here is a summarised version, for a full version, please buy Tony Buzan’s book.

Rapid Mind Map Burst

  1. Think of your topic. On a landscape A3 page, draw a strong central image of your topic
  2. Allow your brain to associate and imagine everything associated with that topic for around twenty minutes, noting each idea on branches and sub branches radiating from the central image. Go fast and avoid censoring yourself

Reconstruct and Revise -1

  1. Take a short break to rest the brain
  2. Make a new Mind Map from the old, identifying major branches, hierarchies and associations. Look too for repetition on different branches as these may be important concepts surfacing


  1. Take a break for a few hours after completing your second map and allow your subconscious to play with the concepts you have developed

Reconstruct and Revise – 2

  1. Do another burst of ideas, add further sub branches to your second map and seek connections between branches. If necessary, make a third map

Seek Solution

  1. Review the final map, perhaps look for more connections and add more sub branches. Seek out your solution and recognise it may require some more incubation


Review the map below and follow the instructions here to develop your own map.

Mind Map Tool

Mind Map for Article on Strategy Workshops

To Close

One of the most interesting uses for Mind Maps I have seen was related on the course. This was to help those people diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s disease or senility.  Anecdotal evidence identifies that they find it much easier to understand instructions when they are put in to Mind Map form e.g. how to use the TV remote control.  By placing them in key points around the house, the person is able to recall what they have forgotten, making their lives just a little bit easier. Although there is no research to confirm this, this example does give the impression that Mind Maps are an easier way for the brain to absorb information as well as create it.

John Brooker I Facilitate, Innovate, Transform.

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