I’ve used mind-maps for myself for years when writing reports, planning holidays, events and major projects – and during Covid-19 lockdown. I have now used it with a client for the first time to conduct an online session. It was terrific – definitely my go to tool for a fact finder, and worked so well to get to the heart of the issue.
I cannot recommend this enough as way to capture everything that may or not be relevant to just get the ideas down, follow all the swerves in the conversation and, most importantly, leave nothing out! You can park random ideas, dead ends and gradually move them around until at some point they tend to emerge as a pattern, a little like those 3D reveal pictures.
The mindmap generated acted as the minutes for the call, and gave my client plenty of food for thought, and an easy way to see the strands for further consideration before our next session.
For me, this initial mindmap creates a checklist for when I’ve made more concrete plans – checking that all the original ideas, concerns, risks, stakeholders have been incorporated into the final version, and not strayed from the original objective of whatever that first conversation was about. It’s been a lifesaver so many times.
In my opinion, simple software helps far more than any books or theories – just pick one and start playing. (Mindjet my current favourite, though it’s not cheap after the trial). The important features are the ability to move whole chunks of ideas into groups, or park outliers, which you can then drag into place as some form of hierarchy comes to mind.