Mind Maps® are an excellent vehicle for effective group working. There are several different ways in which Mind Maps can be used by groups. One way is to use a process called ‘Brain Blooming’ as an alternative to Brain Storming. The steps are as follows:
1. Use a Mind Map to capture your individual thoughts.
2. Blend your thoughts with others from a small group. All ideas are added and considered equally. Discuss the Basic Ordering Ideas (BOI’s) to converge and catch all the input. Make sure that every one feels as though his/her individual ideas are included. Remember all ideas are accepted at the initial stage. Depending on the purpose of the Mind Map, you may want to experiment with different ways of working with the BOI’s:
- Agreeing BOI’s before you start working on your individual Mind Maps makes combining Mind Maps easier, but can restrict creativity.
- Don’t discuss BOI’s in advance so that different approaches and perspectives are promoted. Do ensure that you allow enough time to discuss and agree BOI’s that accommodate everyone’s ideas.
3. Amalgamate all small group Mind Maps onto one large Mind Map for a true representation of the group’s thinking.
4. Have a ‘Miscellaneous’ branch for ideas that do not ‘fit’ anywhere else to ensure that ALL ideas are captured.
There are a number of advantages of Group Mind Mapping over brainstorming:
- Each person has thinking time to generate his/her own ideas.
- The ideas are shared equally and BOI’s that will capture the meaning of all concepts are agreed.
- The radiant hierarchy means “judging” is reduced e.g. top, bottom or lost in the middle.
- Ideas are grouped as they are collected on the main theme branches.
- Connections may be seen between branches and ideas.