The Creative Power of the Mindmap

I was back in college the first time I heard about the concept of mindmapping. My Project Management professor showed it to us, as a way to brainstorm all the things that needed to be done to successfully complete a creative design project. That day, my eyes were opened to a new way of doing things.

I’ve always been a visual thinker. I can write up lists till the cows come home, but nothing really solidifies in my head until I see it represented in pictures. That’s why my notebooks often look more like abstract art than handwritten notes. Boxes, arrows, squiggly lines and doodles help me to really understand what ideas look like.

I teach creative subjects in a creative environment to creative students. Many of them are just like me – they think in pictures. Many of my students are also like me in that they sometimes have a hard time getting focused. Their minds wander, they get too many ideas, and they end up not realizing their full potential. I’m sure you have students like this too, especially if you’re teaching creative types in a creative setting.

For creative project development, there is no better tool, in my opinion, than the mindmap. Mindmapping is far and away the best method of getting out of a creative rut, focusing on the right ideas, and the first step in kicking off any sort of creative project. It’s useful across fields of study and for any kind of project. It’s a technique that I think all teachers should really consider passing on to their students.

So, where to begin? Well, I could send you searching all over the Web for mindmapping tools, techniques and how-to’s to pass onto your students. But like me, you don’t have a lot of time, so my friend and colleague Mark Dykeman has done the hard work for you.

For those of you who don’t know Mark, he’s the Brain behind the award-winnning blog Broadcasting Brain, and the head of the Ka-tet at the creativity blog Thoughtwrestling, at which I’m privileged to be a contributor.

Mark is an expert on mindmapping techniques, and he’s compiled his knowledge into a wonderful e-Book called Unstuck, Focused, Organized – Using Mind Mapping. It’s an easy to follow, step by step guide that will help you learn the techniques required to use mindmaps to their full potential. The steps in the book can be easily passed onto your classes.

Here are some of the things people are saying about Unstuck, Focused, Organized – Using Mind Mapping:

“Dykeman’s new book is for people who are at their wit’s end, who don’t know what to do, or are having trouble getting started. It’s a book intended for people with the very messy challenge of — what to do with my life. It’s also a book for those of us who are more visually/diagramatically wired. Not all of us can run our life from a plain old fashioned to-do list!” — Gregg Fraley, Jack’s Notebook

If you choose to pick one up, not only will you get the 50 page e-Book, but also the added bonus of Mark’s audio interviews (and transcripts) with three creativity and content experts – mindmapping guru Chuck Frey, Remarkablogger’s Michael Martine and entrepreneur and creative super hero Chris Brogan. These interviews provide tremendous insights into creative process and are the perfect teaching aids.

The eBook is available to purchase for just $37.00. But, Mark decided that mindmapping is such a valuable skill for educators and their students, that he’s decided to offer the eBook to to teachers and students between now and December 31st, 2010 for just $30.00. So, you can purchase the book here (affiliate link) and enter the promo code suzemuse7 and you’ll qualify for the discount.

I really hope you enjoy the e-Book, please leave a note in the comments and let me know what you think!

[photo credit: sirwiseowl]

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  • October 10, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I have been using mind mapping for a while… So long in fact that it has transferred into my note taking. Pictures, lines, boxes and acronyms fill my note book when meeting with clients – it helps me visualize a project and next steps much better than a list can. I believe creativity can be unleashed and the thought process flows effortlessly with mind mapping. I couldn’t agree more that it can be applied across all fields and projects.

  • October 10, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Thanks a ton, Suze!

  • October 12, 2010 at 9:03 am

    I too am one of those creative types that prefer to visualize and construct my ideas. Mindmaps really are amazing tools as they can take you in directions you probably never would have stumbled across without that element of play that I feel makes visual tools so unique.

    I am also a big fan of sticky notes. Something about being able to allot a thought/idea its own space and then to be able to move it around as need be really helps me out.



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