Archive for March, 2010

G1 — Group Mind Mapping

March 28, 2010

A group mind map is a picture of the consensus of a group about an idea or topic. The example below is the product of a group mind mapping exercise that I facilitated for a class of Malaysian educators in 2005 on the topic “How Do We Learn” (click on the map to see a bigger and better image in another tab). This sample mind map follows the basic structure of Tony Buzan’s mind maps: the topic is stated in the central oval and the sub-topics are portrayed as main branches and sub-branches. This mind map is an image that communicates the consensus of the group on what are the components and scope of the topic.

A group mind map is the product while group mind mapping is the process of producing it. The group process is interactive discussion to reach group decisions such as:

  • Consolidating ideas from individual members of the group
  • Clustering or re-clustering of ideas
  • Naming or labeling a cluster
  • Deciding what are the main branches and what are the sub-branches
  • Adding or removing branches
  • Collapsing several branches into one
  • Disaggregating a branch into several branches
  • Discussing differences in thinking and arriving at a consensus on the above.

What is essential in the group-drawing or “grawing” process is that the group mind map must constantly and immediately reflect every group decision. I implement this using a flexible mind mapping software (I use ConceptDraw Mindmap Professional) in my laptop which is connected to an LCD projector so that the group sees how the mind map is changed to reflect their decisions, such as:

  • Creating or deleting branches or sub-branches
  • Changing the label of a branch or sub-branch
  • Detaching a branch/sub-branch and re-attaching it elsewhere
  • Changing formats: mind map shapes, colors, text fonts, etc.

In this way, the mind map projected on the big screen in front of the group is an immediate reflection of the current thinking of the group. As the group revises its thinking about the topic, the group mind map in front of them changes accordingly. This is the essence of “grawing-and-griting”.

Last Friday, I formulated and showed the “First-Pass DRR-CCA Mind Map” below to a group of government executives from around 25 Asian countries, multilateral and bilateral donor agencies, international NGOs and various UN agency representatives (click on the map to see a bigger and better image in another tab). My purpose was to show them an example of how a single image can (a) convey the wide scope and different components of DRR-CCA or Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation, (b) serve as a means for leveling off understanding of DRR-CCA among numerous stakeholders, (c) show a person any “blind spots” he may have on the broad field of DRR-CCA, and (d) provide an initial consensus that can be the basis of a knowledge taxonomy in DRR-CCA.

Because this mind map is the product of thinking alone by one person (me), this is NOT an example of a grawing-and-griting. Grawing-and-griting is the process and product of a group thinking together — the topic of this G Series of blogs.


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