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Nov 23, 2013

Mind Mapping and Design Thinking



In his excellent book "Laws of Simplicity" John Maeda, president of the Rhode Island School of Design, identified 10 laws for balancing simplicity and complexity in business, technology and design. Here are the 10 laws:


Law 1: REDUCE. The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.

Law 2: ORGANIZE. Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.

Law 3: TIME. Savings in time feel like simplicity.

Law 4: LEARN. Knowledge makes everything simpler.

Law 5: DIFFERENCES. Simplicity and complexity need each other.

Law 6: CONTEXT. What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.

Law 7: EMOTION. More emotions are better than less.

Law 8: TRUST. In simplicity we trust.

Law 9: FAILURE. Some things can never be made simple.

Law 10: THE ONE. Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.


Among these laws, in my opinion, some are especially useful for Mind Mapping:

REDUCE
Maeda offers a concise method for working with this law called SHE: shrink, hide and embody. 
Shrink consists in reducing the size,  search the lightness and thinness. I think mind mapping approach also search the same thing by trying to gather essential information, reducing the sentences using keywords and replacing concepts by simple icons.
Hide complexity: with a mind mapping software, each branch is expandable and can show complexity or hide it by keeping only the first levels.
Embody: making perceive something unsaid, is a key aspect in mind mapping by creating a comprehensive, coherent and visual structure. This structure produces an overall image (the "big picture") that instills a message. That's why the overall appearance, the design of a mindmap is so important.

ORGANIZE: Labeling  ideas and grouping them by categories, prioritizing (hierarchical organization), represents a key skill to create mindmaps.
  



Source: Roger Martin, Rotman School of Management


Designers use mindmaps

In Design Thinking, making things visual and tangible has an essential role. At the heart of the design method, during brainstorming sessions, drawing is a tool for dialogue, exchange and sharing creativity. Designers also use Mind Mapping to represent the overall vision.
Tim Brown, CEO and president of IDEO , drew the mindmap below in order to give an overview of it's book "Change by Design", it shows that one of the top thinkers in Design Thinking is using Mind Mapping Techniques.


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