Mind mapping is a concept used to stimulate the brain. By using brainstorming techniques to come up with a variety of ideas, then mapping the ideas out on paper, connections can be made that may have been overlooked with more traditional linear thinking. The concept can be applied to your personal life as well as in the business world.
The purpose of mind mapping is to open up your mind to a more creative way of thinking, as opposed to the more traditional process of strictly using logic to solve a problem. This is a form of "thinking outside the box" and can stimulate the brain to come up with less-obvious solutions.
To begin a mind map, a central theme or idea should be written on the center of a piece of paper. This theme could be a problem that needs to be resolved, a concept that needs to be developed or a topic for which a better understanding is desired. The concept can be understood by thinking of it as a tree, with the trunk representing the central theme.
Once the central theme is determined, the next step involves brainstorming, which is simply the process of coming up with as many different ideas as possible that relate to the central theme, then arranging them on the sheet of paper around the central theme. It is important to do this as quickly as possible, without pausing. These ideas will project from the main theme much like the branches of a tree project from its trunk.
After the branching-out process is complete, the next step is the development of smaller ideas. At the top of separate sheets of paper, write the subject of each of the "branches" from the previous step at the top. Again, without pausing to think, jot down as many ideas that come to mind. These ideas are similar to the twigs that emanate from a tree's branches.
Connections can now be made by examining each of the branches to discover similarities and looking for patterns. It can also be helpful to draw pictures or create diagrams, as this can help you visualize the concept, which can cause a solution to become more readily apparent.