Creativity Information

Mind Mapping

Ever been on a project where you had trouble keeping all the 'if' questions straight? "If this happens," you say, "we'll do one thing. But, if that happens, we'll do something else instead, but only on a Wednesday."

In cases like these, especially with high stakes, you may have drawn a diagram on a piece of paper. That way you could visualize the forks in the path ahead, while still seeing the objective at the end.

Diagrams map our reasoning and can be as simple as a few lines on a napkin, or as complex as computer models. Called mind maps, these diagrams help us make better decisions, or make difficult decisions more easily.

But, let's also think of them as a system for better communication. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words, as the saying goes.

Mind mapping helps us communicate in at least three ways: to illustrate the components of complex situations; to show the outcomes of a series of actions; and to highlight otherwise unrecognized linkages.

Whenever I redesign my website, I'm dealing with a complex situation. So, I draw a simple diagram, with boxes representing pages and lines showing their connections. It's only a modestly complex website, but keeping track of the hierarchy and connections can drive me crazy.

So, you can imagine how hard it is, not only to work with a more complex situation, but also explaining it to someone else. However, a simple visual outline of the components and their relationships can effectively communicate even the most Byzantine of structures.

You can also apply mind maps to track the outcomes of a series of actions. By way of an example, some manufacturers of consumer products wonder about selling directly to consumers on the Web. First they ask themselves whether or not they think such an initiative would be profitable. Second, if it will be profitable, how much will they have to spend, and how long will it take? And the list goes on.

By now, though, you're getting the picture. One thing depends on another, and the answer to it depends on the answer to a previous question. Mind maps illustrate the actions and consequences, and give us a way to forecast possible outcomes.

Now, let's turn to highlighting unrecognized linkages. One of my former newsletter clients is a major printing company, and part of our newsletter mandate involved explaining changes in the work world to employees. On some occasions we found it helpful to create diagrams of the forces behind the changes, and of our responses to them. We might show how technology relates to globalization, for example, without overwhelming our readers with words and abstract concepts.

In summary, mind mapping, or diagramming our reasoning, helps us communicate by simplifying complex situations, showing the possible consequences of a series of decisions, and highlighting linkages among seemingly unconnected events or players.

Robert F. Abbott writes and publishes Abbott's Communication Letter. Learn how you can use communication to help achieve your goals, by reading articles or subscribing to this ad-supported newsletter. An excellent resource for leaders and managers, at:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at


Four Ways Creativity Turns Your 'Job' Into Your Life's Work
We are born with all of the creative gifts we can ever use. Then they are systematically programmed out of us by the demands of modern life. In 1965, a thoughtful researcher named George Land developed a creativity test for NASA to help select ...

Want to Nurture Creativity? First, Get the Culture Right
Is creativity inborn or can it be taught? David Yager, CEO of the University of the Arts (UArts) in Philadelphia, believes it can be taught. It's one of his main areas of focus at the institution. Yager is working on building a Ph.D. program on ...

Grand Island Independent

Chapman students showcase teamwork, creativity as part of Destination Imagination
Grand Island Independent
CHAPMAN — Five Chapman School students are able to put their creativity, teamwork and problem-solving skills to the test as part of the school's Destination Imagination team. The Chapman School Destination Imagination team consists of fifth-graders ...

Team behind RJ campaigns shines again at regional creativity ...
Jordan Times
AMMAN — The marketing team behind the now famous Royal Jordanian (RJ) media campaigns once again put Jordan's creativity under the regional spotlight, seizing the Grand Prix at the Dubai Lynx Festival of Creativity for the second year in a row.

and more »

Laralyn McWilliams on rediscovering creativity following trauma
Emotional distress caused by uncontrollable life events robs us of our creative power. This was the message from Laralyn McWilliams, chief creative officer at Skydance Interactive who, at an emotional talk at GDC 2018, recounted her experience ...

Workplaces must embrace creativity to enhance productivity | Expert column
With productivity and efficiency gains in decline, how does a business continue to succeed, grow and compete in the marketplace? The answer is creativity. Whether it's a new product, a new process or a new service, finding and developing that next ...

Business Day

Joburg festival: Africa, the one source of humanity and creativity
Business Day
To celebrate the transformative power of African creativity in music, fashion, art and photography, the One Source Live festival brings together artists in Johannesburg. The event is inspired by Absolut Vodka's "one source philosophy" — the brand is ...

and more »

ECM Publishers

Finding creativity in science
ECM Publishers
The innovation center is less than a year old, and Westlake is already working on improvements. Next year the center will offer capstone type classes where students will work on a project to present at the end of the term. Westlake said he would also ...

Santa Clarita Gazette (satire) (press release) (blog)

Creativity Advocacy – Divine Drivel
Santa Clarita Gazette (satire) (press release) (blog)
When I worked with Bette Midler for a short stint in 2016, she affectionately called my Creativity exercises “drivel.” After all, she's an industry veteran and a can-do professional. She is well aware that no one ever gets anywhere in entertainment ...

and more »

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

Ingenuity, creativity and Plan A
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Ingenuity. I've always looked up to MacGyver. I can't say I ever watched the show, but I understand the concept. You can do anything with a little ingenuity and a paper clip. Right? The thing I want to talk about today is creativity. Some have it. Some ...

Google News

home | site map | Ocean Art
© 2006