snapshot - problem solving using mind maps

No, there’s nothing wrong with your eyes. The mind map snapshot above is intentionally blurred because it represents a very personal problem solving session. Okay, so what’s the point in showing the map then? Well, take a look at the mind map’s node colors first, and we’ll get back to the map in a moment. It’s easier to “see” the colors without them being obscured by text, and they are part of the key to problem solving using mind maps.

Problem Solving
At some point in your life, you’ve possibly encountered a problem, either personal or at work, that you need to think about extensively to solve. If you’re like most people faced with a difficult problem, you either try to (1) ignore it; (2) solve it in your head; or (3) make a list of “pros” and “cons” for various options. This might be sufficient to solve the problem, but there’s an option (4): mind mapping, is a much more effective way to explore your options.

By the very nature of the mind mapping process, and because of the visual elements, both your logical and creative sides are stimulated, and you might come up with solutions that you had not previously considered.

The Color Scheme
For example, in the mind map above, the central element (pinkish map node) has five main branches. Each main branch represents a problem-solving option/ solution. Each of the main branches in the mind map has sub-branches exploring pros and cons of the option.

Going with a traditional coloring scheme (at least for North America), I’ve used red to indicate a negative/ unacceptable side effect and green to represent a positive/ acceptable side effect. Pinks and purples represent various shades of “caution”, and light greens and blues represent positives that are not as significant as a dark green. Note that the main node of a solution/ option branch can take on any of the colors indicated. Just because it has sub-nodes that are dark green does not make the solution a good one because any important negatives will play a role in reducing the option’s validity.

I chose red/green color scheme because it was easiest for me to work with. The scheme you use should suit your needs. E.g., factor in red-green color blindness, if you suffer from that affliction. Or if you prefer oranges and blues, that’s fine too.

The Result
The net result is that not only have I mapped out my problem-solving options, but I have a fairly clear view of which ones are most acceptable, simply by looking at the node colors. Any main branch with lots of green and blue sub-nodes is a potential solution. However, you have to decide what color a main branch node should be, from the sum of its parts.

Now, just by looking at the (blurred) mind map up top, can you pick out which branch represents the best option for solving my problem? It’s the one on the bottom right.

Related Content

WP Engine

Subscribe to the post comments feeds or Leave a trackback