Generating ideas: mental or heuristic maps
This approach, used by Leonardo da Vinci and popularized by Tony Buzan, makes it possible to group together all the representations of a group on a subject. It is a systemic alternative to brainstorming to generate ideas.
It is applicable to all stages of a research process and it can offer multiple benefits.
1. Clarifies the variables of a problem
2. Gives coherence to different representations through a systemic vision
3. Opens a broad view on a subject and areas of exploration of a complex problem
A few tips:
- Set a very fast pace.
- Always mirror the words expressed in key words and not in sentences (repeat the words as they are).
- Make sure that the first words are expressed by everyone and thus have 12 words maximum, forming a first layer around a central concept to explore.
- Be brief, use keywords, and stay away from abstract concepts.
- Remember to make short links with your highlighter pen between the words.
Prepare: criteria, clarity and methodology
- Define 3 criterions according to your context and your objectives.
- Take 3 different colored markers.
- Note in the center of a sheet the central concept to explore in the form of a keyword or summary in 2 to 3 words maximum and surround it with a bubble.
Write this very short phase using color 1.
Animate in fast and precise dynamics
Invite the group to "say everything that this word means to them" and quickly repeat their propositions by connecting them with a short felt line with the central bubble, without circling the words and always using color 1 (10 to 12 words forming a 1st layer).
Organizing the next step
Hide the central word with a post-it: it is thus in the back of the mind and take the 2 other markers of different colors.
Amorcer la 2ème couronne de la carte
Invite everyone to quickly associate without thinking, in the form of a new word, on the 1st word of the 1st layer and quickly write all of these words by using a highlighter pen to make links between the word and the new word proposals. Write proposals and links using color 2.
Continue the creation of the 2nd layer
Go to the second word. Do the same thing and write the words and links using color 3.
Play with the words to finalize the 2nd layer
Continue to move from one word to another by alternating the colors so as to identify which new words relate to which word in the previous layer.
Draw longer threads with your pen if the words are written away from its "source" word given the size and format of the sheet.
Check and select
Look at your map and decide to split it by choosing key words, according to the criteria you have defined. This can be: List of research axes for the follow up - Known or unknown - Far from my concerns or close - Motivational/feasible/ innovative -
Synthesize: write your results
Write in 3 small groups, 3 texts which tell the lessons resulting from this stage. Choose other "Idea Generation" techniques that will explore one of the highlighted research areas or explore the topic in another way.