Planning with mind maps

One of our favourite methods of planning is to use mind maps

The term mind map was coined by Tony Buzan, who did a great deal of research into their efficacy, but visual plans have been used for centuries for brainstorming, thinking, problem solving and learning. They are also called webs, spider diagrams, spray diagrams, brain maps and cognitive cartographs, amongst others!

Previous mind mappers include Porphyry of Tyros (3rd-century philosopher), Ramon Llull (a 13th-century writer and philosopher), Leonardo da Vinci and even Charles Darwin.



Mind maps use color, images, structure as well as keywords and can be computerised or hand-drawn. Type mind maps into a search engine, and you will find lots of options.

Kipling’s list of six questions forms the basis of most good plans and we have used a simple mind map to display them.

‘I keep six honest serving-men (They taught me all I knew); Their names are What and Why and When And How and Where and Who.’

Rudyard Kipling

If you were writing an important email to organise a site visit, you could start by capturing all your ideas as a mind map and then ordering them. When you start writing you can use the mindmap as a checklist to make sure you have covered everything. You might decide to put the detail in a separate document and only list the key points in the email.