Mind Mapping: Management Funda, Aug'07

Mind Mapping: What does it mean?
Human brain works through associations. Every idea has a number of links attaching it to other ideas. Mind Mapping is a technique that utilizes this ability of our minds. By using mind maps, we can quickly identify and understand a subject’s structure, the way the pieces of information fit together. They hold information in a graphical format that our minds find easy to remember and quick to review. They help us avoid thinking linearly by opening us up to creativity and new ways of thinking. This can be best illustrated with an example.

An example of a mind map

Steps followed in making the above mind map:

  1. Write the subject title you're exploring in a circle in the page center. This is shown by the black rectangle (time management) in the above figure.

  2. As you come across major subheadings for the topic, draw lines from this rectangle. Label these lines with these subheadings. These are shown by the red lines (time wasters, effective use of time etc).

  3. As you go deeper into the subject and uncover another level of information ie., further facts belonging to the subheadings above, draw these as lines linked to the subheading lines. These are shown by the blue lines (focus, planning etc.).

  4. Delve further into the subject and uncover another level of information ie., more facts belonging to the subheadings above, draw these as lines linked to the sub-subheading lines. These are shown by the orange lines(diaries, priorities etc.).

  5. Finally, for individual facts or ideas, draw lines out from the appropriate heading line and label them. These are shown by the green lines (order of execution, allocate importance etc.).

How was it invented
Mind Mapping was invented by Tony Buzan following his research on note taking techniques. He tested how much was learned or remembered using each of the following techniques for taking notes:

He found that the ‘Least learned’ was 1 and ‘Most learned’ was 6. So, Tony Buzan came up with a new method for note taking based on the idea of making the notes brief and interesting to the eye.

What are it applications
Not surprisingly mind maps can be used in many different ways other than just simple note taking.

How can I use it
Want to show your team the big picture about the next assignment? Stuck with problem you are trying to solve? Getting bogged down by the loads of information about the topic you are researching? Want to come up with a new way of selling your product. Make a mind map! Thus you can use mind mapping to summarize information, think through complex problems, consolidate information from different sources and enhance creativity. You can easily find more such workplace uses for mind maps.

Once you understand how to make notes in the mind map format, you can develop your own unique way of making mind maps. For instance you may decide to use different colors to distinguish different ideas or use symbols and images along with words. So, try experimenting with mind mapping. I bet you will find mind maps effective.


  • ‘Mind Mapping FAQ’, http://members.optusnet.com.au/~charles57/Creative/Mindmap/mindmapfaq.html
  • ‘Mind Maps A Powerful Approach to Note Taking’, http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newISS_01.htm
  • Dunn, S, For Greater Success in the New Year Try the Miracle of Mind Mapping’, http://www.mind-mapping.org/mindmapping-and-you/basic-introduction-to-mindmapping.html