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How do you record your brainstorms? You do not have to be a creative to brainstorm ideas and use a mind map to organize them. The combination of these two methods for exploring thoughts and gaining insight 8 Tips To Come Up With Winning Ideas When You Are Brainstorming Alone 8 Tips To Come Up With Winning Ideas When You Are Brainstorming Alone Two heads think better than one, but brainstorming is as much about individual problem solving as it is about the group. Here are some methods to build up a “storm” of ideas. Read More  are valuable in any field.

Here we share tips and tools to help you use these strategies for research, planning, and innovating.

Defining the Terms

Getting down to the bare basics of what each term literally means, Dictionary.com defines them as follows:

Brainstorm (noun)

A sudden impulse, idea, etc.

Mind Map (noun)

A diagram used to represent ideas or information branching from a central key word or idea and used as an aid in study, organization, problem solving, decision making, and writing.

So, when you combine these two, you can open up a whole new world of possibilities for your thought process. Brainstorm your ideas and do not discount any of them right away. As you do this, create a mind map with each thought as a node.

mindmap gif

From there, the diagram will allow you to explore all of the concepts on a visual level. Basically, this lets you see the whole picture at once. Then, you can add, rearrange, remove, or edit the pieces as needed.

Real-World Uses

For School

As the Dictionary.com definition suggests, you can use mind maps as study guides. In addition, you can use brainstorming and mind maps for other school activities. These tools can be especially useful when working on team projects.

For example, a project for psychology class with the central keywords as Behavioral Disorders may begin with a mind map looking like this:

school psych mind map

Remember that you can use mind maps for brainstorming projects you work on alone too. This gives you a quick way to capture the ideas the pop into your head for term papers, speeches, and presentations.

For Business

Whether working alone or with coworkers, consider adding a mind map to your brainstorming session. When you have a marketing meeting, project kickoff, or new product session, pop those ideas onto a mind map.

Say you are meeting with the advertising team to create a plan. As everyone provides their ideas, put them right into the mind map for a clear view.

business advertising mind map

Mind maps can include more than just ideas and thoughts. For project managers, as an example, you can make the project name the center node and add deliverables and tasks as children to create a terrific overall picture. You could even prepare a complete Work Breakdown Structure How to Organize Any Project with a Work Breakdown Structure How to Organize Any Project with a Work Breakdown Structure A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Every complex project consists of multiple components. The Work Breakdown Structure can help you identify all the steps and put them into sequence. Read More .

For the Creative

For authors and writers, the use of these two methods can be very helpful. For instance, as an author you may have many ideas for chapters, characters, locations, conversations, and conflicts for your book. You can toss these ideas onto a mind map for maximum insight and easy editing.

author mind map

If you are a writer and compile article ideas, try a mind map. When those thoughts about a specific article emerge, you can organize them in the order you want with a mind map.

Helpful Online Tools

When you are ready to create a mind map, you should have the right tools. Luckily, you can choose from several online mind mapping applications. The key to picking a tool is simplicity. You should be able to add and review your ideas quickly and easily so that you can concentrate on the brainstorming portion. Here are just a few great online options to get you started.

MindMup 2

MindMup 2 is a web-based tool with wonderful features. You can add nodes easily, change their colors, include notes, and attach files. When your mind map is complete, you can save it or publish it. The application also works with Google Drive Try MindMup Mind-Mapping Via Google Drive Try MindMup Mind-Mapping Via Google Drive If you've ever tried to create a mind-map for your brainstorming sessions, you'll know that using the right tool is essential. There are many sites with mind-mapping tools to choose from, and choosing between them... Read More for instant access to view or share your maps.

You can jump right in and begin using MindMup 2 for free. This allows you to create public maps up to 100 KB in size and save them up to six months. You do not have to register or sign in with this option. You can also check out the Personal Gold paid plan which lets you create private maps up to 100 MB in size and save them for longer.

WiseMapping

Another nice, free, online tool is WiseMapping. With the same ease-of-use and intuitive interface as MindMup 2, WiseMapping also provides a nifty set of icons and shapes for the nodes. You can add links, include notes, export maps, and embed them on web pages.

wisemapping main

WiseMapping offers a handy mind map of its own to get you going. You can edit it and get used to the tools available before starting your first mind map. The online application is available for free 8 Free Mind Map Tools & How to Best Use Them 8 Free Mind Map Tools & How to Best Use Them For an office worker, a mind map can be a solo brainstorming tool or a collaborative idea collection. In the right hands, a simple mind map can help make better decisions. Read More and is open source, making it useful for schools and businesses.

Coggle

One more web-based option to check out is Coggle. This is another full-featured mind map tool How to Solve Problems & Get Ideas with These 5 Diagrams How to Solve Problems & Get Ideas with These 5 Diagrams Drawing a digram is a powerful problem solving technique. The right diagram can reveal hidden relationships that lie hidden behind facts and figures. Try these five simple visualizations for everyday decision making. Read More with extras that make collaborating on projects simple. You can add comments to nodes and chat with coworkers right from the application. You can also view a history of the diagram changes and receive email notifications when edits are made.

Coggle offers a free plan with real-time collaboration and unlimited public diagrams. You can also review two paid plan options that provide shared folders of diagrams, chat history, and branding options.

Applications You Own

The online tools mentioned give you fast and simple ways to build your mind maps. However, if you find yourself without internet access, keep in mind that software you already own can often be used too.

microsoft office powerpoint mind map

Microsoft applications such as Visio are built specifically for diagrams A Free Open Source Alternative to Microsoft Visio A Free Open Source Alternative to Microsoft Visio Need to create diagrams, flowcharts, circuits, or other kinds of entity-relationship models? Microsoft Visio is the best software for that, but it's expensive. We will show you two free open source alternatives. Read More . But, you can also use Word How to Build a Mind Map in Microsoft Word How to Build a Mind Map in Microsoft Word The average person has thousands of thoughts each day. Our brainstorms are rarely strategic. A Mind Map helps you capture a mess of thoughts and bring them in order. We show you how. Read More or PowerPoint to create mind maps. The same goes for Mac users who have Pages and Keynote. While these tools are not ideal and can take more time, they can still help you when you are in a bind.

Do You Use Mind Maps When Brainstorming?

You do not have to be a visual person to appreciate the value in using these two methods together.

Have you tried the combination of brainstorming and mind mapping yet? Do you have suggestions or tools that you would like to recommend 4 Great Web-Based Mindmapping Tools To Enhance Your Creativity 4 Great Web-Based Mindmapping Tools To Enhance Your Creativity Mindmaps are a wonderful resource for brainstorming, planning, and managing ideas in a way that increases your productivity and enhances your creativity. But what if you want to create a mindmap without pen or paper? Read More ? Let us know in the comments!

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