Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping

Some people have described what I do as mind mapping. I did some research and found that only a very few charts I make could be described as mind maps. Mind mapping has been used since antiquity as a technique to convey complexity easily, mostly in a linear, hierarchical way (think organizational charts, genealogies, genomic sequences), but was given the name "mind mapping" in the 1970s.

What I do is better described as concept mapping. Concept mapping is more concerned with relationships among disparate ideas and through multiple dimensions. A great example is a world map showing the spread of the new coronavirus: time, number of cases, geographic spread, and virulence can all be shown on one graphic.

These "maps" are useful to illustrate lots of things. Yesterday, for instance, someone asked me how I got into sheep shearing. (I'm not a shearer! But I do help out at shearing day and other events at Meridian Jacobs, a local sheep farm.) I drew this on an index card so I could explain it to her. Although it might not look like an org chart, it's chronologically linear, outlining a sequence of events over time:

Diagram showing a journey sequence from ham radio to spinning yarn and knowledge of sheep

A concept map might focus more on the processes and the associations behind this trajectory and how these things connect, along with other factors affecting the final outcome. Here, I took the original concept and delved into the reasons I got into ham radio in the first place:

Diagram showing a woman's reasons for becoming an amateur radio operator (Ham)

Whatever it is you're trying to convey, getting the help of a visual practitioner to draw it out, perhaps during a brainstorming session, might be a valuable way to understand why you are where you are and whether that's where you want to be.