What is a Mind Map?
A Mind Map is a hierarchical visual diagram used to structure and organise information. It is built around a concept, depicting relationships between associated ideas and the core concept. The most common representations of a mind map are a sunburst pattern or a spider diagram, branching pathways from a central theme.
A term coined by Tony Buzan, mind maps have grown in popularity to become a mainstream tool used in academics, business and by individuals.
Why use a Mind Map?
The average Human brain has the capacity to store vast amounts of information. Where it tends to fall short is the ability to recall this stored information after a period of time. Using a mind map to create visual associations between concepts, words and ideas can make remembering this information a lot easier as it improves one’s visual thinking capacity.
They can be an incredibly useful study tool in a variety of ways;
- Help to structure an essay or assignment by building out from the main argument
- Understand how multiple theories can interlink
- Use it as a study guide, mapping out the topics or papers you need to study for a particular subject.
How to create a Mind Map
Start with a concept or theory in the centre of the page, Product Price here as an example. Now just write out all the words that come to mind when you think of the concept or instead by writing down the key words you want to link to the concept. Using labels on the line to show the type of relationship is also a great way to reiterate certain key ideas that tie back to the concept. Labels can be ’causes’, ‘effect’, impacted by’, ‘contributes’ etc. Finally, arrows are a good way to show in which direction the relationship flows.
- Related associations to Product Price can be; market demand, cost of goods, marketing spend, competitor pricing, market maturity, brand positioning etc.
Labels can then be used to establish the nature of the relationship;
- On the line between Cost of Goods Sold to Product Price note ‘contributes to’
- On the line between Market demand and Product Price note ’causes’
- On the line between Competitor pricing and Product Price note ‘impacted by’
The next step is to use arrows to indicate direction;
- Show an arrow pointing from Cost of Goods Sold to Product Price
- Shown an arrow pointing to Market demand from Product Price
- Shown an arrow pointing from Competitor pricing to Product Price
These steps are the basic tenets to creating a Mind Map. While computer generated mind maps have gained in popularity, recall is strengthened when physically writing things down. For this reason, especially when used as a study tool, it is recommended to always hand draw the Mind Map.