Posts Tagged ‘mind map’

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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Communication Intents behind Indigo Practices

August 17, 2009

The Indigo Quadrant is where —

This series of blogs is a contribution to the shaping of new “Indigo Practices” — the survival skills we inhabitants of Planet Earth need to learn if we are to “pull through” despite the global environmental, political and religious-civilizational crises we ourselves have unwittingly created.

The communication intents behind Indigo Learning Practices are simple but challenging: to be able to understand ourselves and each other so that we can learn and build together as a group, despite our cultural, political, religious and other differences.

Towards this end, we need new and different but more workable tools for —

Here is my first-pass mind map of skills and tools for Indigo Learning Practices. It is an evolving mind map: I change and improve it from feedback from colleagues like you and as my concurrent personal experiences guide me as the blog series gets written one post at a time.

Building together

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Mindmapping Our Learning Processes (#18)

April 24, 2009

Let us compare the types presented in the previous blog post on “12 Types of Learning” with data from actual experiences. Below is a sample group mindmap resulting from a KM workshop I designed and facilitated at the Ambedkar Institute of Productivity in Chennai, India. This mindmap summarizes the answers of workshop participants to the question: “How do I learn?”


(While pressing “Ctrl”, left-click HERE to download the original image file; if you wish to receive image files of mindmap outputs from other workshop groups, please email me.)

The objectives of the workshop exercise were:

  • To illustrate the conversion of many (private, inaccessible) individual tacit knowledge into a single (public, accessible) group explicit knowledge, namely the mindmap;
  • To examine the various ways and patterns in how we learn;
  • To illustrate how a mindmapping software can facilitate thinking and deciding together;
  • To appreciate how our thoughts can be made visible for everyone to see and study.

The steps of the exercise are:

  • Individual writeshop begins by issuing each participant several metacards and a thick felt-tip pen (e.g. Pentel Pen). Metacards are thick paper or cards about 4 inches by 12 inches on which short phrases can be written down, and posted (using pieces of masking tape) on the whiteboard or wall for everyone to read.
  • Each participant writes down his or her answers to the question “How do I learn?” in the metacards. Only one idea or answer is written per card.
  • The participants submit the metacards to the facilitators who post them in front in related clusters.
  • Unclear answers are explained by the writer and rephrased. The participants examine the answers, suggest moving a metacard to another cluster, and combine or split clusters.
  • The participants decide what label best applies to each cluster.
  • The result is inputted in a mindmapping software (there are many commercial and open-source software available) and displayed using an LCD projector so everyone can observe how the mindmap is changed to suit their evolving consensus. The participants suggest rearrangements and repositioning of the clusters, branches and sub-branches. They also finalize the labels of the major branches. The mindmap evolves before their eyes to reflect their group decisions.
  • The group studies the result and discusses any pattern they see, insights and lessons that occur to them, further questions and finally comments and evaluations the entire process.
  • The final mindmap of “How Do We Learn?” is printed for each participant.

Some of the lessons and insights that frequently emerge are:

  1. Formal education is only one of numerous ways we learn.
  2. We learn by interacting with people, especially the experts in our field. Many answers are in this cluster. This insight is a good take-off point for introducing the benefits of a Community of Practice.
  3. We learn by reading books, watching TV, surfing the Internet and listening to the radio. An application of this common modality is the web-based Video-Visual Manual such as that used by Toyota Motors in training its workers.
  4. We learn by doing, from practice and work experience and through experimentation, trial-and-error and even mistakes. Many answers fall under this cluster. This insight is a good take-off point for introducing the benefits of Organizational Learning. The insight is a realization that we all learn while doing, but this learning is semi-conscious and inefficient unless we use systematic means such as various tools in Organizational Learning. I teach graduate-level KM at the University of the Philippines using Workplace Practicums that must be integrated into actual workplace processes and approved by the student’s boss.
  5. We learn by observing other people. This is one of the advantages of Demonstration-Mentoring over classroom-style instruction.
  6. We learn by reflection, analysis and self-study. This insight is a good take-off point for introducing the benefits of After-Action Reviews or Lessons-Learned Sessions, where the review is directed at eliciting what works (=knowledge) and what does not work (=obverse knowledge).
  7. We learn if we want to, if we are Motivated.

In learning anything new, I recommend the following sequence (see my previous blog post on “D4- Converting Tacit to Explicit Knowledge and vice-versa”): reading or listening to a lecture, watching an expert demonstrate the skill, study under a mentor (if available), constant practice, compare notes with similar practitioners, reflective dialogue with similar practitioners, and more practice!

If you wish to read more about mind mapping, check out the books of Tony Buzan. After reading, do not forget to practice!

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