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The Proven Way to Generate Useful Ideas With Mind Mapping

The Proven Way to Generate Useful Ideas With Mind Mapping

Do you find it challenging to come up with ideas during brainstorming? You feel your thoughts could flow better to generate a range of ideas and options. However, you feel something missing. Maybe spreading your ideas on the whiteboard would help you think better instead of writing your ideas down as a list.

With the mind mapping technique you will learn to do exactly that. Mind maps are among the effective techniques to generate ideas, especially when brainstorming.

So you might be wondering what a mind map is and if it is useful.

In this article, you will learn to unravel your brain by bringing your thoughts on paper using simple mind maps. You will be able to effectively brainstorm, generate a ton of ideas and think deeper on various areas of a problem.

This article is Step 6 – Why brain mapping using a mind map leads to better ideas of Phase 2: Gain Momentum with Routine of the 3 phase transformation into superhuman productivity. You can begin right from step 1 by accessing the index here – 3 Phase Transformation into Living Your Dreams.

To understand the purpose behind the activity I recommend you to read through the article. But, for the busy bees, you can go directly to the exercise.

Planning a restaurant venture using a mind map

Let us plan ideas for your dream goal using mind maps. If you have not identified your goal yet, answer these 3 questions to find your goal.

Let us say you have made up your mind that you will open your dream restaurant. Assuming you have no prior experience of owning a restaurant, how do you go about planning the activity? How do you generate ideas for your business to be successful? Not quite an easy task, is it?

Opening a restaurant will need a myriad co-ordinated activities, one linked to another across various levels and timelines. Will you start listing all your thoughts one by one as a list? Sure, that might not be a bad way of doing the planning.

It is definitely better than planning all the nitty-gritty details in the head. Do you know what is the worst way? Telling yourself “there is no need to write this down, I will remember it”. Yeah, right! You know how many times you have forgotten things for not writing it down.

Leave a comment on how do you currently list down ideas while brainstorming.

Most people prefer to note all the ideas as a list. Even if you write it down as a list, you will face challenges. As you get deeper and deeper into ideas, you will notice jotting all your thoughts as a list does not seem very effective. When you do brainstorming over different days with different people, you will struggle to organize and collect your thoughts noted as a list.

The structure of the brain

The brain does not process elements in a sequence. The brain does not work in a linear fashion like a list. Shown below is the internal structure of the brain.

The average human brain has 100 billion neurons. Heck, isn’t that a lot of neurons? If that was not large enough, each neuron is connected to one or more neurons. Phew. Let us not even get to the number of connections now. Let us settle down with “a lot”.

All these neurons work together to keep the body functioning. One neuron triggers another neuron into action by passing a message.

For example, your eyes spot a lion causing a shiver down your spine, you step on a nail and you scream in pain. All this happens in a split second by neurons co-ordinating, passing the message and triggering the organ into action.

Our knowledge of how the brain is still primitive. Scientists are not even close to figuring out the complete functioning of the brain.

How the brain structure is related to planning

Now that you understand at a basic level how the brain functions, let us relate to how it works when you are planning your own restaurant. There are a bazillion neurons running in full gear triggering each other into action.

One thought leads to another, one unknown area encountered leads to another. In situations like these, a list of points, one after the other does not serve as the most efficient solution.

Easy to Create Mind Maps

You can make the process of brainstorming far more efficient by using a mind map. Fear not, you do not have to worry about learning how to create a complex mind map. All you need to do is start with the idea at the center and create a branch for one area. You can create branches as per your own protocol and thoughts. There are no hard and fast rules.

A mind map as simple as the one shown below works perfectly well too.

simple mind map

Even if the branches do not seem logically segregated, do not sweat it out. The purpose of this activity is to unravel your thoughts and generate ideas by triggers. 

Exercise: Creating your first simple mind map

Let’s get started now. Pick a pen and a paper(preferably A4 in size or larger). Use the paper in landscape mode(width greater than height). You are going to create a mind map to generate innovative ideas right now.

For illustration purposes, here is how you can start with a mind map for opening a restaurant. There are very many online mind map tools such as Mind Up or Free Mind. We will start with pen and paper, however.

You can later switch to online mind maps if you wish. I personally find it most comfortable to use pen and paper for mind maps. The flow of thought seems natural on paper while seeming mechanical on online tools.

Let us begin with your first mind map. You do not need to understand the concept in detail. Approach it with common sense and keep your mind map simple. The internet might show you well-drawn mind maps, but let that not overwhelm you. Keep your mind map design as straightforward as possible.

You can watch this video for a step by step visual reference on how to create a mind map.

Start with the center with the primary idea. I will pick opening a restaurant so that it serves as a simple example mind map for you.

step 1 mind map

Create a few branches which indicate each area that you need to work on such as location, menu, manpower, budgeting, promotions, etc. Feel free to create as many branches as you like.

If you are using the mind mapping technique for the first time, start with 4-5 branches. You can leave some space of the paper empty in case you plan to add more later.

branches mind map

Pick one of the branches and think if it needs more segregation. For example, promotion can be broken down into offline, online. 

To make it easier for you, pick the branch which you know the most about. I have more ideas on promoting the restaurant than any other area right now. As you can see below, I split the promotion into two parts. You can split them into two or more divisions or use a single column.

further levels mind map

Keep doing this until you finish a branch or get fed up with it. It is your choice when you want to move to another branch or if you want to come back to a previous branch.

I moved to the menu after the promotion category. Right off the top of my mind, I could think of Desserts, Appetizers, and Entrees. If I opened a restaurant, I doubt if the menu would follow that pattern. But hey, we are thinking of ideas here, not designing the actual menu.

After the menu, I visualized the restaurant in my mind. When I imagined the picture, I could think of the people required to run the restaurant. Chefs, waiters and a receptionist came to my mind. If I thought for another minute, I might have added cleaners and a manager too.

further levels mind map

Further into Mind Maps

Feel free to experiment and use the mind map as you wish. If you like, you can even connect one branch with the other, though traditional mind maps don’t do that. But you are not bound by any rules of how to create a mind map, are you? Do anything and everything which helps you unravel your thoughts. 

You can use colors, icons, crayons, sketch pens to make them even more beautiful if you like.

You can take a look at many other mind maps on Google images for inspiration.

Please note: The purpose of a mind map is not to create the most complicated one but the most effective one for your needs. I have always kept my mind maps simple like the one above.

Advantages of Mind Mapping

1. Encourages flow of thought

If you did the exercise of creating the first mind map, you would have realized the ease of thought flow. One thing leads to another and you keep generating more and more ideas.

Without a mindmap, you tend to think in one direction alone.

2. It gives you an overall picture

If you had to plan an idea with lists, you will end up with multiple lists. Imagine explaining the content of all your lists to a person who is new to the idea. You will have to pull out one list after another and try to connect the dots.

On a mind map, the connections and correlations are already there. To make it better, they are in one place under one view.

3. Speed

When you get going with the mind mapping technique, you start thinking and noting down all the ideas in your head. To generate the same ideas otherwise takes longer for most people.

4. Flexibility of thinking and noting down

Imagine planning an idea with a list. If you have different lists for different categories, you will have to pull out the corresponding list and note down your idea there. When you switch multiple times, you lose focus and attention.

A mindmap allows you to switch with ease and note down your thoughts without any trouble. Mind mapping is not the most organized way of storing ideas, it is an ideal method of generating them.

Disadvantages of Mind Mapping

1. Lack of Space

Mind maps are most effective when drawn on paper. An A4 sheet does not offer enough space to cover a wide topic.

An A3 allows enough space but a massive mindmap can appear messy once completed.

2. Lack of details

A mind map can make you forget the details by only touching the surface. This is a disadvantage only if you use mind map for planning, for which mind map isn’t a recommended tool anyway.

3. Time-consuming

The joy of putting thoughts on paper can give you a false impression of getting real work done. Sometimes, mind maps can keep going on and on without any actual action.

Again, this is more of a mindset disadvantage than a flaw of mind maps.

create ideas brainstorming


So you learned how mind maps work and why they are effective. You also went through an exercise of creating your own mind map. Mind maps area common method of generating new ideas for entrepreneurs. You do not have to wonder how to get ideas and wait for them to fall into your lap. When you get the hang of mind maps, one thing leads to another and ideas keep flowing.

The best part is, there are no standard rules for a mind map.

It is your mind, your idea, your pen and paper. Do anything that feels right and unravel your brain altogether.

When I am done with a mind map and I take a look, I feel like I split open my head and spread the thoughts inside my head on paper.

Bitmoji Image

Try it out. You will be astonished to see the ideas your brain generated.

Leave a comment on how well did the mind map activity go. Feel free to drop your mind map as an attachment to I will be happy to exchange thoughts.

This article is Step 6 – Why brain mapping using a mind map leads to better ideas of Phase 2: Gain Momentum with Routine of the 3 phase transformation into superhuman productivity. You can begin right from step 1 by accessing the index here – 3 Phase Transformation into Living Your Dreams.

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