A mind map is a great way to brain-dump and represents ideas, concepts, topics, and other areas and the relationships between them. Mind-maps excel because they show abstract data in a story form, which makes it easier to comprehend and associate how everything fits together.
What is Mind-Mapping?
Mind-mapping is a highly effective problem-solving technique. Mind mapping is a creative and logical means of note-taking, that literally “maps out” your ideas/thoughts.
One simple way to represent mind map is to consider the representation of a city map. In a city map, it is drawn beautifully with terrain, roads and buildings highlighted. This gives the user (tourist) of the main route to reach his destination. This resembles the fact about the mind map we use in product strategy where we plot the use case to meet the end goal.
Representation of Mind-Map
A mind-map is an illustration for representing tasks, words, concepts or items linked to and arranged around a central concept or subject using a non-linear graphical layout that allows the user to build an intuitive framework around a central concept. A mind map can turn a long list of monotonous information into a colorful, easy-to-remember and highly organized diagram that works in line with your brain’s natural way of storing/retrieving information.
- The main idea, subject or focus is crystallized in a central image.
- The main themes radiate from the central image as ‘branches’
- The branches comprise a key image or keyword drawn or printed on its associated line
- Topics of lesser importance are represented as ‘twigs’ of the relevant branch
- The branches form a connected nodal structure
Why we use Mind-Mapping?
Our mind is a complex system which is in a constant battle of thoughts over thoughts where we will be jumping over each thought without any productive end results. This is because we don’t have any control over these thoughts. When you go and consult a psychiatrist for having sleep troubles, the first thing he/she going to prescribe you is to write down your thoughts in a piece of paper so that your mind will be less cluttered more peaceful with good thoughts. When we write things down, we will free space for more thoughts. This will get us more ideas that connect the dots.
Since I’m learning how writing our thoughts can increase the creative and logical thinking of our brain, now whenever I start with a project or task I usually gets near a board with a marker and dump all my thoughts. This really helps me to arrange my thoughts and to get a better understanding.
For example, from a single thought you can end up with several concurring thoughts:
“The art of solving problems lies in the ability to take the problem and dissecting it into the smallest chunks possible that you can then start on solving”
What is my first experience doing mind mapping?
I have been tasked to solve the monitoring and managing task of operation manager for an Enterprise Shuttle Cab Service. I was puzzled with how should I start to solve the problems the end-users face. I know who my users are but, I don’t know how to expand my view on all of their problems/pain points and connect the overall story them to find a solution around the problem statement.
This is when I was introduced to brain-dump and arrange all my thoughts on a canvas and then connect all these data points to create a story so that one could find the important tasks they have to solve. This action helps me to free each thought and to connect that node with another one. When I create a node after another, I was able to find the “why’s” of creating the experience. It helped me to get into the core of the problem.
I started the mind mapping journey with the main user in the center, then write what his actions are, what is he trying to do on a daily basis. When I write each term I have to rationalize each of my choices. If the choice doesn’t have a rational, that node is not going to grow. Next node will define why he wants to do the task, let’s say if he wants to monitor some task. My next node should find the reason behind why he wants to monitor, maybe it is to increase the current market, or to know if the product is influencing the market.
One of my findings was that the user wants to grow the market. So know we now his motivation behind the monitoring. Now we want to think about how the user can grow the business. If we don’t write these thoughts or nodes down. We will be going round and round on the same thoughts that’s why structuring your thoughts makes a difference. When you structure your thoughts, your brain will be focusing to solve a single issue at that point, which is more effective. My next focus was how to grow the business, need to think about what helps the user to grow the business. This helped me to find solutions like planning, yield, forecast. Which are like a categorized version of different types of information. So we need to specify what lies under each of this so that we can define what should be the interface detail that my user needs to see to take the necessary action that will help him to grow the business.
This is how I used mind mapping technique to get an understanding of the problem space and the reason why we build the experience for the end-user. By knowing the “Why’s” I got to find out what should I define to make the problem solving easy for the user.