Category Archives: Creative Thinking

Mind Mapping for Problem Solving and More

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Mind Mapping is for Problem Solving and lots more

Mind mapping from Tony Buzan is one of the coolest techniques you will ever learn for problem solving, note taking, learning and organizing your thoughts.

Search the internet and you will find millions of pages about it. Mind mapping is useful for almost any information-related task you care to name. Want to solve a problem? Record a lecture? Try a mind map. Want to prepare a presentation on the run in minimum time – use mind mapping and commit the result to Power Point. Need to plan a meeting? Track a meeting? Summarise a textbook or report?

Here is how to do it: its as easy as one-two-three …

You’ll need a writing space (pad, sheet, whiteboard, whatever), and a handful of colored markers. It works just as well using a free mindmapping tool like Freemind. I generally prefer paper and pens.

1. Topic goes in the centre – best is to embroider it with an image or even just a few colours to help turn on the right brain.

2. Then radiate your ideas from the centre – printing on lines. This is important. Why? – because it works.

3. Once you are done, you can add links, images, highlights – whatever is necessary to make the information come alive for you. If you are using mind mapping for study notes you will want to add images and colours to help make the written information more memorable.

You are using hierarchical thinking – much better for many tasks than traditional linear top-left-to-bottom-right notes.

It turns out that this is the way the brain works. The brain seems not to be optimized for traditional linear notes.

And the proof is in the pudding. Try it – you’ll see. I have been teaching mindmapping and problem solving for over twenty years, and my students never fail to be amazed at their results with this great tool.

Richard Broome has been teaching Thinking Skills workshops for many years in South Africa and Australia. There are sessions upcoming in Perth and Joburg.

For more info fill out the contact form top right.

Thinking Skills mindmap testimonial videos

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Thinking skills teaches mindmaps for brainstorming and learning as a core business skill. A mind map is a great way to keep meetings tight and a great way to maximise creativity in a brainstorming session.

Mindmaps are also useful for accelerated learning. Workshop delegates typically study 10-30 times faster after the thinking skills workshop.

Doctor Grace Saw is information services director at Bond University in Australia. She recently attended a session I ran in Brisbane. Grace is an enthusiast and like all of us is operating in the thick of information overload, too little time, too much to do and unbelievable changes in the work and even our home environment.

And we bring to our lives a genetic inheritance which is judging by recent estimates somewhere between 50,000 and 2.4 million years old.

What I’m trying to say is that we’re all human. And anything we can do to cope with our circumstances we’re going to take on board. See what Grace had to say about her workshop here (in only 90 seconds). Grace describes her Thinking Skills workshop

Here is a second video clip running just three minutes. Three delegates discuss a thinking skills workshop at the Australian Institute of Management in Perth, WA. Julian, Lisa and Ian say how they plan to use mindmaps in their businesses. Lisa runs a rapidly expanding hire firm with an inventory of over 700 vehicles. Ian has responsibilities covering hundreds of staff. All three are concerned by the need to maximise creativity at work. Brainstorming is one thing they do a lot.

Finally, here is another short (80 seconds) clip of a Perth group discussing the workshop on the last day, last October. They had fun!

For more information on upcoming workshops, and lots more short videos, visit our Thinking Skills brochure page.

CONTACT US TO REGISTER, FOR INFO, OR TO ASK A QUESTION. USE THE FORM TOP RIGHT.

Creativity, abstract thinking and routine work.

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Creativity, abstract thinking and routine work. Are these things opposed to one another? My friend Brian just sent me a story about the Blackbird SR 71 jet.

SR 71 jet

I once sat next to a Blackbird pilot on the bus coming home from Oshkosh Airventure – the world’s greatest airshow. So when I opened my email I could relate to what Brian Shul, another Blackbird pilot, had to say. Here it is:

One moonless night, while flying a routine training mission over the Pacific, I wondered what the sky would look like from 84,000 feet if the cockpit lighting were dark. While heading home on a straight course, I slowly turned down all of the lighting, reducing the glare and revealing the night sky. Within seconds, I turned the lights back up, fearful that the jet would know and somehow punish me. But my desire to see the sky overruled my caution, I dimmed the lighting again.
To my amazement, I saw a bright light outside my window. As my eyes adjusted to the view, I realized that the brilliance was the broad expanse of the Milky Way, now a gleaming stripe across the sky. Where dark spaces in the sky had usually existed, there were now dense clusters of sparkling stars. stars flashed across the canvas every few seconds. It was like a fireworks display with no sound.
I knew I had to get my eyes back on the instruments, and reluctantly I brought my attention back inside. To my surprise, with the cockpit lighting still off, I could see every gauge, lit by starlight. In the plane’s mirrors, I could see the eerie shine of my gold spacesuit incandescently illuminated in a celestial glow. I stole one last glance out the window. Despite our speed, we seemed still before the heavens, humbled in the radiance of a much greater power. For those few moments, I felt a part of something far more significant than anything we were doing in the plane. The sharp sound of Walt’s voice on the radio brought me back to the tasks at hand as I prepared for our descent.

I had a very similar experience in the cockpit of a B707 many years ago over Africa in the middle of the night. I was in the First Officer’s seat and the captain was doing crossword puzzles. I looked outside and saw the glory of creation before me. There was St Elmo’s fire twinkling on the windscreen wipers and radiating out from the bulbous nose of the plane. Cumulus clouds of the inter-tropic convergence zone were towering above us – right up to about 45 00 feet, and they were illuminated like flickering fluorescent lamps with almost continuous lightning discharges. The sky was like black velvet with millions of laser pointed stars spiking through it. I was awestruck in that timeless moment. I beckoned to the Captain. He looked up but he didn’t see it at all. There was a kind of skin on his eyes – like the nictitating membrane that protects some birds’ eyes. And that was the moment I decided that airline flying was not for me. If that was where I was going – to be so dulled by routine that I would no longer see ..

A wise man once warned me about the dangers of routine work. Its efficient but it extracts a price. That price is the dulling of creativity. Fortunately we have ways of avoiding this fate. We need to take our awareness daily to the field of the transcendent – to stop time and experience pure abstraction. This blesses, refreshes and glorifies the boundaries of time and space we choose to live in.

And improves our health.

Would you like to find out more about how to improve your thinking skills?