Idea Mapping is a powerful whole-brained visual thinking tool that enhances memory, note-taking skills, thought organization, planning, creativity, and communication. It uses color, keywords, lines and images to connect thoughts. Idea Maps are the natural expression of the way the brain processes information.
Idea Mapping is a simple and profound tool that helps individuals and organizations improve productivity, clarify thinking, save time, and enhance learning, while simultaneously producing incredible results.
An Idea Map is a colorful, single-page diagram that visually captures ideas in a non-linear format and engages both hemispheres of the brain. This technique gives people the increased ability to more competently plan, organize, communicate, remember, innovate, and learn -- and accomplish these faster than ever before!
Sometimes referred to as mind maps, they are often created around a single word or text, placed in the center, to which associated ideas, words and concepts are added. Major categories radiate from a central node, and lesser categories are sub-branches of larger branches. Categories can represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items related to a central key word or idea.
The term "mind map" was first popularized by British popular psychology author and television personality Tony Buzan when BBC TV ran a series hosted by Buzan called Use Your Head. In this show, and companion book series, Buzan enthusiastically promoted his conception of radial tree, diagramming key words in a colorful, radiant, tree-like structure.
Buzan says the idea was inspired by Alfred Korzybski's general semantics as popularized in science fiction novels, such as those of Robert A. Heinlein and A.E. van Vogt. Buzan argues that while "traditional" outlines force readers to scan left to right and top to bottom, readers actually tend to scan the entire page in a non-linear fashion.
Buzan also uses popular assumptions about the cerebral hemispheres in order to promote the exclusive use of mind mapping over other forms of note making.
When compared with the concept map (which was developed by learning experts in the 1970s) the structure of a mind map is a similar radial, but is simplified by having one central key word.
- 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 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.
- Develop your own personal style of mind mapping.
- 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.