Write down everything you know about a complex topic. Go ahead. How would you do it? Would you create a document with a list? Draw illustrations on paper? Use colors for different aspects of design, or create lists and categories?

When our world moves quickly in the midst of a global pandemic, we have less and less time to reflect on the information we have consumed. Understanding how we learn therefore becomes as important as what we learn.

Why? That’s where critical thinking, creativity, and memory dance.

Being on our screens endlessly in 2020 is causing more anxiety and headaches. What we need is not more virtual approaches to work, but one that is both productive and efficient. How can we break out of a digital spell and push for deeper innovation?

Mind mapping…

To create ways of learning that help you grow and become innovative, learn to understand information in a way that matters. In other words, experience meaningful learningover and over againthe process of acquiring new knowledge and connecting that new knowledge to knowledge you already have (1).

We believe that mind maps are one of the best, proven ways to learn meaningfully. Here’s how mind mapping can improve your personal growth and your business:

  1. By making complex ideas easier to understand — important when you’re working with different stakeholders and communicating with several people.
  2. To spark creativity — important to develop a culture that is constantly growing rather than staying static.
  3. To boost your productivity — important when you want to save time and money.
Your mind holds key ideas, concepts, images…
That we can get onto paper through mind mapping.

1. Making complex ideas easier to understand

The best kind of communication is simple. But simplifying always requires effort. If you are managing projects, knowledge, or even creating content, mind mapping can help you “distill information and reach clarity faster.

In this way, you begin to visualize connections between key ideas and systems, identify root problems, and connect core concepts to others. For example, SMART, Six Thinking Hats, Four P’s, Value Chain Analysis and any other business model can be explored in a mind map.

Only once you’ve placed all your ideas together can you begin to articulate where these deeper, interlinked connections are happening, and therefore find more concise explanations for what you’re expressing.

Two major skills that are known to drive innovation are:

  • Foresight: the ability to sense possible futures and emerging opportunity.
  • Systems: the ability to see that everything is connected to everything else.

What better to get ahead in 2021 than with implementing mind mapping as a regular practice to cultivate these skills personally and professionally?

2. Mind-mapping helps you spark creativity

Mind mapping is a system that helps you jot down ideas efficiently and visually, in a low-fidelity approach, where you can fail quickly and often. Create space to get outside of the box and write ideas and concepts down sooner rather than later.

While you note ideas that aren’t fully formed, your brain processes them. As you visually draw connections, you also process the connections between each node, concept, idea. Seeing these connections next to and around each other opens up new perspectives that spark creativity.

3. Mind-mapping boosts your productivity

On average, mind mapping software increases your pace of work by 44%, boosts your creativity by 30%, and frees up up to 7 hours in your week spent planning.

Not only does mind mapping help you distil complex issues down to its elemental parts, but it also helps you manage and organize ideas. When you use topics, subtopics, and connect them with branches, you begin to map out what needs to get done with clarity and nuance.

Whether you’re in project management, business innovation, or HR, having a clear vision, goals and tasks helps you communicate effectively internally and externally. With mind maps, you create clear hierarchies between ideas: the central node visualizes the high-level concepts and topics, and the smaller nodes visualize sub-topics and key tasks. Moving between and across these levels is seamless, especially when mind mapping tools are digital, too.

Finally, mind maps online are almost always collaborative and can be shared. By giving people looser ways of expressing their ideas, your team can boost its productivity, and get to the same page faster with less resources needed.

Mind-mapping is your oyster

When our world moves quickly, we have less and less time to reflect on the information we have consumed. Also, the reality is that understanding how we learn is more important than what we learn. Why? Because that’s where critical thinking, creativity, and memory happen.

This process of connecting the dots is not just an option anymore, it’s paramount to our success. If we are to continue drawing connections between concepts, ideas, and information, we must develop strategies that help us process, organize, and manage quickly. Hence, mind mapping: the tool that can improve the way you think in your personal life and your organization.