Listen to the podcast, about 4 minutes. Free registration.
In our occasional series on innovation tools, we have investigated both strategic and tactical techniques to enhance the new product development (NPD) processes. In this post, we will define mind-mapping as a creative problem-solving tool that can be deployed at any time throughout the innovation life cycle.
Definition of Mind-Mapping
Mind-mapping is a technique used to consolidate ideas onto a single sheet of paper to reflect both common themes and divergent alternatives in order to enhance understanding and to generate new ideas. The methodology is simple and can be used throughout the NPD process in problem-solving.
Mind-mapping can be used by individuals or in group creativity settings. Designed to take advantage of analytical and emotional thinking (e.g. left-brain vs. right-brain), mind maps capture sequences of concepts and imagination in one place. Applications of mind maps include taking notes, planning projects, and organizing information. NPD teams can use mind maps to recognize new and existing connections among concepts, features, and attributes of new and existing products.
How to Construct a Mind Map
Normally, the topic of the mind map (problem to be solved) is written in the center of a large piece of paper. Ideas or concepts are drawn on branches emanating from the central problem statement. Keywords and/or images are recorded to capture the essence of the idea or task.
As ideas are refined and give rise to additional ideas, these are connected to the “parent idea” through sub-branches and category descriptors. Generally, ideas on a mind map flow from the general to the specific or from the abstract to the concrete.
Benefits of Mind-Mapping
Mind maps are used to:
- Help visualize information exchange,
- Organize and filter ideas,
- Improve knowledge management,
- Transform product features,
- Present communications in an alternative format, and
- Better manage meeting and research proposals.
Because mind maps produce a visual and graphic output, memory and interlinks of ideas are improved above and beyond narrative descriptions alone. The flexibility of the technique makes mind-mapping suitable for the many analytical and problem-solving challenges within innovation programs as well as facilitating team communications.
Innovation requires effective and efficient problem-solving. Several innovation tools are designed to enhance strategic implementation of NPD programs as well as tactical project execution. Mind-mapping is a visual tool linking analytical thought with free association of emotions, imagination, and synthesis. Mind-mapping can be used throughout the entire NPD framework.
If you’d like learn more about innovation tools, please join us for a self-study or guided NPDP certification workshop, in which innovation tools and techniques are described in detail as one of the six key arenas necessary for successful new product development. Feel free to contact Global NP Solutions at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 281-280-8717 for more information.
© 2015 Global NP Solutions, LLC
Your Strategic Training Partner for NPDP Certification and Project Management Training