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bbc pinballMind mapping applications are usually bone dry, decision making tools. You don’t expect them to be bear a likeness to an arcade style game complete with sound effects. To add to that, you might ask yourself, what’s a mindmap-like decision making tool doing amongst the online offerings from BBC Scotland?

Mind maps diagrams are great tools to organize information, solve problems, and decide on a course of action.

If this is the first time you are coming across talk of a mind map, do take a look at the mind map tools we have covered before.

BBC’s Pinball is actually a set of online tools (a mind map is just one of the four) that aim to aid the process of creative thinking while tapping into the fun centers of your brain. The name matches that of the arcade game because the online application takes its looks (and effects) from the traditional arcade game.

There’s no iron clad reason why the BBC would set up a Pinball style mind map utility; except perhaps to make it available to the general community for coming up with creative ideas in a fun way. So let’s play with it for a bit.

The first thing you sense is that Pinball is not a mind map tool in the conventional sense. No toolbars, no menus, and no central area to plot ideas. What you have are four tools and the familiar arcade sound effect.


Four Ways To Get Creative Ideas On Pinball

bbc pinball

To bounce ideas around, you get play Pinball in four different ways. And just like the game, everything seems spontaneously natural. But if you want, each tool comes with colorful instructions.

Dot Dash For Firing Out Ideas

bbc pinball

Dot Dash is like a usual mind map except that it’s loads more fun. Type in your idea, press enter to create space for more interlinked ideas, change the color of your thought bubbles or move them around, insert pictures from your computer, or try to break your mental block by clicking on Lucky Dip. Lucky Dip brings out a random picture or word which sometimes helps to break the logjam in your brain.

When you click on Finish, the whole mind map is displayed on full screen. You can now review it, save it (as a JPEG file), print it, or Flip it to one of the other three tools. Flip helps to connect your ideas generated in the four tools.

Drop Zone For Quick Decisions

mind mapping brainstorming

If you are stuck in Catch-22-like decision situations and unable to pick one, prod your instincts by putting your ideas in front of you and moving them around. As the decisions scroll in front of you, trust your gut feeling and just pick one. For your choices, you can add words, images, or the random Lucky Dip. Drop Zone helps you to choose a maximum of four critical tasks out of all the ones you write down.

A click on Finish gives you the options as in the last tool.

Snap Shot For Playing With Images

mind mapping brainstorming

If you would rather doodle or draw to flesh out your idea, then Pinball’s Snap Shot tool is for you. Snap Shot is like a drawing board with tools that lets you fiddle with an image or a word in an attempt to look at it from different perspectives. You can liken this to mindlessly scribbling on a pad till the Eureka moment strikes you.

Wild Reels For Mixing Up Ideas

mind mapping brainstorming

Wild Reels helps you try out sequences to see how they will look in different orders. The tool is like a slot machine where you put in your ideas and spin them to see the sequence in which they come up. It helps to mix up ideas and see how they might look in different combinations. You can keep any of the spinning boxes fixed while the rest spin around.

Pin Down Your Impressions

Is the Pinball a serious mind tool? Well, that’s open to our individual judgment. I see it as an interesting educational tool that can help teach youngsters a bit about decision making skills. But its greatest feature is its absolute ease of use. When you need to quickly knock your ideas together, learning commands and tools could be too much of a bother. Bounce your ideas around in Pinball and give your feelings a fillip.

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