Mind Maps, Myths and Misconceptions

Mind Maps, Myths and Misconceptions



phil Chambers Mind Map

Mind Mapping is one of the key thinking tools that we apply at Rikki Hunt Associates.

As World Mind Mapping Champion, it saddens me when people have been exposed to poor training or inferior visual thinking tools that purport to be Mind Maps but in fact are not. As a result, they come to believe myths about the limitations of Mind Maps. In this article I aim to tackle some of the unfair criticisms that occasionally arise.

1) Mind Maps can’t be used for technical or logical analysis in business.

Mind Maps are very structured and follow a strict set of rules. So it should be no surprise to learn that they can lend themselves to technical analysis. One of the aspects of logical thinking is the categorisation and breaking down of a problem. Mind Maps are ideal for this. Another aspect is following a process. Once again, this can be represented directly on a Mind Map or you can always add a diagram, flow chart or graph on a branch where appropriate.

2) Images and colours are childish and have no place in business.

The most successful businesses and entrepreneurs are those that continually innovate and think creatively. The use of images and colour on Mind Maps stimulate and promote creativity. They also massively aid memory. The old adage that a picture is worth a thousand words is true. A visually rich Mind Map, once memorised, allows you to have facts at your fingertips whenever required. A truly invaluable business asset.

3) Mind Maps, concept maps, process maps, fish bones, ishikawa diagrams, bubble and spider diagrams are the same.

If you type ‘Mind Map’ into Google you get 51 million results. Many of the apps and software packages that claim to be Mind Mapping tools break most of the true Mind Mapping Laws and lack colour, images and the correct branching strucure. The laws are there for a reason and are based on psychology so the more you break, the less effective your thinking will become. The iMindMap Software is the exception in that it follows all the Mind Map Laws and creates true Mind Maps.

In ‘The Mind Map Book’ Tony Buzan warns of the danger of Mind Maps that aren’t really Mind Maps, “At first glance, they look like Mind Maps and seem to obey the fundamental Mind Mapping principles. There are, however, a number of differences. As both figures develop, their structure becomes increasingly random and monotonous. Furthermore, all the ideas are reduced to the same level and each one becomes disassociated from the others. Because the laws of clarity, emphasis and association have been neglected, what appeared to be developing into order and structure has in fact resulted in confusion, monotony and chaos.”

non Mind Maps

4) Mind Maps don’t appeal to logical thinkers.

A Mind Map works as either a ‘top down’ or ‘bottom up’ process. For a holistic thinker you can start with a serious of main branches and dart about the Mind Map adding ideas as they come. In this case you start with a ‘big picture’ approach and refine it as the Mind Map develops. If, on the other hand, you prefer to think is a logical step by step approach you can draw the first main branch and fully develop the ideas from this before moving on to the second, and so on. The resultant Mind Maps are much the same regardless of how they were created. One of the most powerful features of a Mind Map is that you can see the details, interconnections, relationships and overview on a single page.

Despite the fact that I have a scientific and computer programming background making me very analytical and methodical, I have learned the flexibility to switch between holistic and logical thought depending on the situation.

With the right approach Mind Mapping can be a great asset to a very wide range of business challenges.

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