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What is Mind Mapping?
When we talk about mind mapping, we have to salute the inventor of mind mapping. He is Tony Buzan. He is such a great mind to invent and introduce the concept of mind mapping and how our brain functions to the world that has benefitted more than millions of people worldwide since 1970s. It is the ultimate thinking tool that has transformed the life of many individuals from the pre-school children to the corporate giants.
“Mind Mapping is a creativity and productivity enhancing technique that can improve on learning and efficiency of individuals and organizations. It is a revolutionary system for capturing ideas and insights horizontally over the paper.”
- Anthony J. Mento and Raymond M. Jones, Loyola College, and Patrick Matinelli, Johns Hopkins University, on their executive MBA program
Of course there are certain rules that we shall follow in mind mapping. There are many proto mind-mapping techniques that encourage people to mind map their thought. Some may take from flow chart or other business mechanism to present a mind map tool. However, these proto theories may fall into a trap that no one knows what to follow for actual mind mapping that was first invented 40 years ago by Tony Buzan.
We would like to share on some basic mind map technique so that it could benefit organizations and individuals who want to think more innovative and creative. A Mind Map can be a hand-drawn or computer generated graphic presentation of what our mind is actually thinking about. Our brain comprises millions of millions of brain cells that try to find connection and association for every single piece of information that choose to receive. As such, when we want to take down our thinking on the paper, we would use the mind mapping technique to achieve it. Following the proper mind map laws, we may find that the graphic presentation of our thought is clearer and radiantly growing.
Mind Map focuses on a central idea. This central idea is the defined problem, challenges or subject matter that the user is facing. By identifying a central idea, it is therefore able to branch out to form the basic ordering idea of central idea. It is similar to the tree where the central idea is the main trunk and it branches out from the main trunk.
Mind Map is a colourful, memorable and highly organized diagram that represents our brain work, naturally and radiantly. We then use colour, pictures, diagram, curved lines, keyword and symbols to make it easier to create a visual image that put into our memory.
Since we are now in the computer age, we are having the advantage of using computerised version of mind mapping on top of a hand drawn mind map. There are advantages and disadvantages of using computerised mind mapping technique. However, we can decide according to what our audience will perceive it. We may want to use a computerised version of mind map for business presentation as it can portrait better use of visual aid instead of bullet point outlines of power point. On the other hand, we could hand-drawn a mind map for pre-school children and teenagers who are more creative when drawing with colour pencils which is their favourite activity.
How our brain is thinking and memorizing
As the subject is about mind mapping, we have to understand our brain and our mind as first priority. It is about how our brain functions to memorize and structuring our thinking pattern. It is how our brain cells connect and associate with each other to form the memory in our brain. We could extend the memory and enhance its thinking power radiantly. For example, we may get a basic idea, with the association with thinking power; it could expand the basic idea into many ideas or even infinitive with ideas generation. Our brain is just to do the right thing to achieve its unlimited power.
It was found by Professional Roger Sperry of California in the 1960s that our brain is apparently divided into two hemispheres to remember different intellectual functions between them. The left-side is called scientist and the right-side is called artist. The Scientist side remembers and analyzes intellectual inputs logically, calculative and dealing with huge numbers, lists, words and sequences. The Artist side remembers and analyzes intellectual inputs such as music, emotion, colour, rhythms and imagination that are sensual. When we judge on an individual capability, we often judge whether the person is a left brain or right brain thinker. By limiting ourselves to use only one hemisphere of our brain, we are limiting our ability to develop new uncharted area of memory mind.
Whole-brain thinking concept was brought as one of the mechanism to expand our thinking power. We achieve the synergistic thinking by using both two hemispheres that we “storm” our brain cells in finding new connection and creating limitless new thought during the process of thinking. With the new discovery and association that the brain was “stormed”, this in turn leads to greater intellectual power. It opens up multiple synaptic connections amongst creativity, thinking and memory through whole-brain thinking and brainstorming processes.
Our brain has five major thought-processing functions; receiving, holding, analysing, controlling and outputting information. We receive information that we want to hear and see, we select what information to receive and what information that we try to ignore. Our memory will then choose the information which has an impact in our life to hold and remember. Sometimes we wonder why we can recall certain information very fast while other information is difficult to recall. We have different patterns of processing the information based on individual belief, culture and personal bias and education background. We analyse the information in such a controlled environment that we could not think out of the box. Our mind is being locked by external forces physically and mentally. This affects the output or the thought by way of communication.
In order to overcome the inherited old thinking habits that are bias and judgmental, we look for a thinking tool which could provide better ideas generation process using GRASP the solution. GRASP is equivalent to Generate, Responsive, Analytical, Selective and Proactive thinking in finding a solution to the challenges and problem that we have identified. Generative thinking is to generate a mass quantity of ideas, regardless the background, own belief, culture and many other factors for each individual. The outcome is to get as many ideas as possible, whether it is crazy, wild, unusual or creative. We brainstorm our mind without prejudice and judgment to bring any odd ideas in front of everyone. The ultimate goal is quantity.
We are therefore reactive to the ideas generated and we would react to any external forces and influences that may affect our evaluation of the ideas and selecting the ideas. We will continue to analyse the ideas to reach a practical solutions from a few options. We have to strengthen our selection of the factor that shall put into consideration. When the final ideas are selected for action, we think proactively to execute a strategy to achieve the solution.