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Brainstorming & MindMapping

Keyword Technique

  • To begin KEYWORD brainstorming, place the subject keyword at the top of a sheet of paper.

  • Make sure that you are not going to be disturbed, and set yourself a time limit.

  • Then start to write down all of your ideas that the start word prompts you.

  • Just focus on the start word, not being judgemental on 'what's coming out'.

  • Only write key words. Just enough to be able to trigger the thought in the future.

  • Write as fast as you can.

  • Write in a list form, not worrying about spelling, word choice, etc.

  • Get as many ideas on paper as quickly as possible.

You can take this further by choosing a fresh keyword from this list to start a fresh list,
allowing yourself to get deeper into the subject.

You can also set yourself a minimum number of responses to come up with.
The first few will be easy, but the last will really make you think!

Example of how a KEY-WORD brainstorming page may look like:





Free drawing

The FREE-SKETCH technique begins with a picture or a drawing of an idea.

By looking at the drawing or sketch, as well as bringing your creative brain into play, you will prompt yourself to think of varieties of ideas.

Jot all of your ideas down. Do not prejudge them.

Draw lines, move quickly, doodle, experiment.

Anything that comes to mind is okay.



SWOT Analysis

SWOT Analysis - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats SWOT Analysis is an effective method of identifying your Strengths and Weaknesses, and to examine the Opportunities and Threats you face. Often carrying out an analysis using the SWOT framework will be enough to reveal changes which can be usefully made.

To carry out a SWOT Analysis write down answers to the following questions:

What are your advantages?
What do you do well?
Consider this from your own point of view and from the point of view of the people you deal with.
Don't be modest, be realistic. If you are having any difficulty with this, try writing down a list of your characteristics. Some of these will hopefully be strengths!

What could be improved?
What is done badly?
What should be avoided?
Again this should be considered from an internal and external basis - do other people perceive weaknesses that you don't see? Do your competitors do any better? It is best to be realistic now, and face any unpleasant truths as soon as possible.

Where are the good chances facing you?
What are the interesting trends?
Useful opportunities can come from such things as:
Changes in technology and markets on both a broad and narrow scale
Changes in government policy related to your field
Changes in social patterns, population profiles, lifestyle changes, etc.
Local Events

What obstacles do you face?
What is your competition doing?
Are the required specifications for your job, products or services changing?
Is changing technology threatening your position?
Do you have bad debt or cash-flow problems?

Carrying out this analysis is will often be illuminating - both in terms of pointing out what needs to be done, and in putting problems into perspective.




What is PMI?

PMI stands for 'Plus/Minus/Interesting'. It is a valuable development (by Edward de Bono) of the 'pros and cons' technique used for centuries.

PMI is a basic decision making tool. When you are facing a difficult decision, simply draw up a table headed up 'Plus', 'Minus', and 'Interesting'. In the column underneath the 'Plus' heading, write down all the positive points of taking the action. Underneath the 'Minus' heading write down all the negative effects. In the 'Interesting' column write down the extended implications of taking the action, whether positive or negative.

Scoring your PMI table

You may be able to make a decision just from the table you have drawn up. Alternatively, consider each of the points you have written down and assign a positive or negative score to each appropriately. The scores you assign can be entirely subjective. Once you have done this, add up the score. A strongly positive score indicated that an action should be taken, a strongly negative score that it should be avoided.

An example is shown below:

Should I move to the big city?

Plus Minus Interesting

More going on(+1)
Have to sell my house (+5)
Easier to find a new job? (-6)
Easier to see my friends (+5)
More pollution (-3)
Meet more people? (+2)
Less space (-3)
More difficult to get work done?(-4)
No countryside (-2)
Easier to get places (+3)
More difficult to get to work? (-4)

13 -14 -5 = - 6
Total = -6 - I'm happier living just outside the city.

For further information

Edward de Bono, Serious Creativity, HarperBusiness, New York, US, 1992.



By combining both left (logic) brain and right (creative) brain, and fully exploiting our full potential, it has been proven that brainstorming goes to a new level...

Tony Buzan 'discovered' mindmapping in the 1970's and has written extensively on the subject over the years:

The Mind Map Book

The MindMap Book - Millennium Edition

Synopsis A key goal for many of us is to increase our ability to learn, remember and record or store information. The reader is shown how to accomplish this using a range of techniques developed by the author
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Use Your Head

Use Your Head

Synopsis This manual on how to use the human brain has been translated into more than 20 languages. It presents a range of techniques that are all designed to teach the reader how to think effectively.
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Head First

Head First

Synopsis Did you know that you use less than 1 percent of your brain? The good news is that world-renowned brain expert and mind map inventor Tony Buzan can help you to access the other 99 percent.
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How to Mind Map


The Express
'The whole world should Mind Map.'
'Tony Buzan will do for the brain what Stephen Hawking did for the universe.'
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The Power of Verbal Intellignece

The Power of Verbal Intelligence: 10 Ways to Tap into Your Verbal Genius

Synopsis Simple techniques to help improve your recall How to be brilliant with words -- reading, speaking, remembering and understanding them! Includes the best of Buzan's world-famous techniques for improving recall and understanding. Increase your vocabulary. Learn to speed read.
Order Now With Amazon.co.uk


And there is also...

NEW: Generate infinite instant ideas following five simple steps. Use them to discover the secret of creative heaven - they work for business, for hobbies, for projetcs or for hassle-free problem solving! Get the 'total formula' for brainstorming now! Brainstorming System

A good site offering a good explanation of mindmapping technique plus links here

Creativity Web... Very well laid out site focusing on making the most of your creativity...
Who said being an entrepreneur couldn't be fun!

The World Wide Brain Club... you've got one haven't you? Use it!

SuccessMind Index - Books, Articles and Software focusing on Your Success Attitude



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