Using Mind Mapping For Problem-Solving

Mind Mapping for Problem-Solving

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Mind Mapping is a tool that can be used for multiple things: brainstorming. planning, notetaking, simplifying or unpacking ideas, organizing ideas, making attractive presentations, and more. The focus of this article is using Mind Mapping for problem solving.

Some background on Mind Mapping

Before we look at this specific use for it, I want to address a question you may have: Why does Mind Mapping work? In a mind map, information is structured in a way that mirrors exactly how the brain functions – in a radiant rather than linear manner. In fact one of the early books by Tony Buzan who popularized the tool was The Mind Map Book: How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize Your Brain’s Untapped Potential. This is a great description:

“It literally ‘maps’ out your thoughts, using associations, connections, and triggers to stimulate further ideas. They make it easier to extract your ideas from your head into something visible and structured.

Research shows that the brain likes to work on the basis of association, and it will connect every idea, memory or piece of information to tens, hundreds and even thousands of other ideas and concepts. This is why mind maps are beneficial for countless tasks.” Why mind mapping works: the benefits of mind mapping – Ayoa Blog

(If you are new to mind mapping or need a refresher, you can look at two of my previous post: Mindmapping as a Multi-faceted Tool or Five Useful Applications of Mind Mapping . )

Why Mind Mapping is Good for Problem Solving

Why is Mind Mapping effective for creative problem solving? Because it lets you bypass your conscious mind and your reactions to having a problem to solve. That reaction is often to get stressed or anxious. Or both. Mind mapping avoids this issue.

Your mind map will be a visual map of an issue – in this case, a problem to be solved and all its constituent parts, that shows the linkages between all of them. It also shows connections between the problem and outside forces.

This visual ‘map’ lets you see a problem and all the things that go into it by simply glancing at it. It makes it easier to take in the information and see connections that might otherwise go unnoticed. Here are the steps to use mind mapping for problem-solving.

First Create A Mind Map for the PROBLEM

 Start by writing down the central problem or idea in as few words as possible. It goes in the center of the map. Put each additional issue down as a keyword or short phrase around the center and link them together with a line. This is known as a branch.

Do this for each component of the problem. You can use different colors or thicknesses of lines to indicate how important a branch is or how strong the connection is between the problem and its component. You can also use images instead of words. Consider outside forces that impact this issue and add them. Connect them to the keywords or phrases where they belong.

 This visual map allows you to use word association, which is an important method of problem-solving that cannot be used when writing out problems in long form. As you expand your map, additional thoughts will come.

Create A Second Mind Map for SOLUTIONS

This one will be slightly different. The central idea will simply be the word ‘Solutions.’ Write it down. Now, add branches for every possible solution you can think of. Add subbranches to these to include resources, people, and other components you would need to have to implement this solution. Again, use colors, thicknesses of lines and images.

You can add more branches to ideas you need to explore further as well. When you are finished, look over all the proposed solutions and select the best one(s) of them to explore further. Create a new mind map with to further explore details for putting your solution(s) into action.

Mind mapping is an incredibly powerful tool for problem-solving! It can help you find the best and most practical solution simply by looking at the visuals you have created. Give it a try and see how it works for you. Use it more than once to see the results for you.

Here are some items you may find helpful as you explore the tool or expand your use of it.

Mind Map Journal with Templates

Mind Map and Brainstorming Log Book with Multiple Templates


I’m Carol Brusegar, author, photographer and curator of information. My focus is on gathering and writing on topics that enhance all our lives – regardless of our age. Topics include health and wellness, personal development, innovation and creativity, and a variety of helpful, practical tools and practices. I have a special interest in helping people over 50 years of age to create their 3rd Age – the next stage of their lives – to be the best it can be. Visit my Amazon Author Page to find my published books:

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