At aFrogleap we love to think about the perfect end user experience of our clients products. This sometimes has the implication that we struggle with the strategy or the lack of strategy behind these products. To help create these strategic frameworks, and to successfully provide a solid strategic and tactical base behind our products and experiences we started a strategic team 2 years ago. In the strategy series we will give you insights in how we help our clients with their strategy challenges. In this episode we are trying to help you capture the flow of ideas with some tips around mind mapping. Many new ideas might seem rather vague or too big, and sometimes consequently overwhelming. If you recognise this feeling and you need something to make ideas more concrete, keep reading...
A great idea
To think of creative, smart, surprising and innovative ideas is something we love to do at aFrogleap. While working for different clients we need to understand quickly what really adds value to their products and services and be able to easily adjust to what they ask for. Every concept we create starts with brainstorming and collecting a lot of ideas. Great ideas arise from working together in multidisciplinary teams. Therefore, we combine our knowledge and skills from several fields of expertise. Knowledge that varies from omni-channel marketing strategies to mobile design and hardcore iOS and Android development.
Visualize your thoughts
Mind mapping is a tool to structure and visualize your thoughts. Using mind maps makes you able to organize and break down your ideas into smaller pieces of information which are more manageable. By doing this, you make it easier for yourself and for someone else to follow your train of thought. What you basically do, is explore a main idea or topic and see if you can connect related things that come to your mind. It is totally up to you how small or big, and more broad or specifically in depth your mind map is going to be. It helps you to keep track of the ideas that come up and to get a clear overview. This overview makes it more simple to choose further directions or to decide what the main focus will be within your first – more abstract – idea.
Connect your ideas
Mind mapping is a way to stimulate non-linear thinking and something you can do individually or in a group. Both ways can work out perfectly; either you want to keep your ideas to yourself to get a clearer vision on the subject, or you want others to join in the creative process. For example, mind mapping with your colleagues at work can create synergy because you have more points of view and a variety of people who have had different experiences around a specific topic. They may come up with things you have not thought about before and give a twist to your original idea. As a result, you will connect ideas and increase the level of creativity by collaborating.
Start mind mapping!
All right, enough descriptive explanations for now. Let’s start mind mapping already! Follow the steps listed below and see for yourself how this works out. Firstly…
- Get a large sheet of blank paper
- Get color marker pens or pencils
- Place your main idea in the center of the paper
- Place primary ideas linked to your main idea around the center
- Place secondary ideas linked to the primary ideas and connect these
- And so on… continue this process until you feel saturated
Besides these steps we would like to add some tips and tricks to make mind mapping exercises more lively. You can make it more fun if you draw an image instead of writing down your idea in keywords. Visualising your ideas makes it more associative. Also, use different colours to immediately structure and group ideas that are connected. The blank paper is yours… but remember to keep it short and simple. Mind mapping is more powerful if your explanations are concise.
It is possible to mind map digitally if you don’t feel like drawing or if you do not have the time and space to put things on paper. There are lot of online mind mapping tools which you can use to do this exercise. Here you can find an article on the 15 best brainstorming and mind mapping tools to use on your laptop. If you prefer to use your mobile device, you can check out the apps described in this article for some mind mapping on the go. One of our favorites for mobile is the (simple) but fun Ideament app for iOS.
A helpful thinking tool
The idea of mind mapping may seem very simple but in fact it is a very effective thinking tool to kick-start great ideas individually or as a team. Why it is helpful? It gives you the opportunity to…
- Make ideas more accessible and easy to understand
- Manage your thoughts and information effectively
- Get new, surprising and different insights
- And last but not least… it improves your memory.
So, consider drawing a mini mind map next time when you find yourself waking up in the middle of the night having the next best idea ever!