A mind map is a visual representation of ideas and their interconnections.
The example below includes some of the key features of a mind map: it shows hierarchies of categories, summarised using keywords in language triangles, drawn in a radial format around a central idea, illustrated with pictures and symbols to facilitate memory:
The human brain
The human brain is the most sophisticated machine imaginable (or unimaginable). It weighs about 1.5 kg and is composed of more than 90,000,000,000 nerve cells. A nerve cell can be as short as a millimetre in length or as long as a metre. A single nerve cell is typically so thin it is invisible to the naked eye: on average, 50 nerve cells could fit side-by-side across the dot on top of this i. Yet each nerve cell can form up to 10,000 interconnections to other nerve cells.
To think about this in a different way, in 2005 the entire global telecommunication network (including all the computers connected to the Internet, all land line phones and all currently connected mobile phones) is just approaching the interconnected complexity of a small single human brain.
So instead of thinking about your brain as a ‘single’ thing, it is better to regard it as a group of specialised, interconnected and competing parts that reach majority decisions by ‘voting’.
Making new connections
In the past ten years, brain researchers have learned more about the workings of the brain than in the previous hundred. This has been due to new scientific techniques such as PET (Positron Emission Tomography) scanning, which creates three-dimensional pictures of brain activity. It enables us to see how different parts of the brain specialise and work together to contribute to different tasks.
Your brain is a massive ‘connection machine’, driven by all your senses. Your ideas and memories are patterns of connections. What makes you you is your special pattern of connections, built up piece-by-piece through memory of your sensory experience over your entire lifetime.
How Cornerstone: Visual Thinking can help you make connections
Scientists now understand that making sense of new ideas is actually this connection process in action. A key part of learning new things is linking them to the connections that represent what you already know.
Cornerstone: Visual Thinking software can help you do this, because it is specially designed to complement and echo the way your mind works. It will therefore help you to
- understand and remember new ideas
- improve planning and communication
- generate better solutions to problems.
You can use Cornerstone by yourself, to help you think and learn, and in groups within your company or organisation, to generate new ideas naturally, effortlessly and enjoyably.