Brain-Mapping: A Result of the Evolution of Brainstorming

By: James Kowalick
President, Renaissance Leadership Institute

Not so well documented, perhaps, are the more recent developments of brainstorming, which have made this creativity tool even more powerful and rapid.

One outstanding development of brainstorming, called “Brain-Mapping,” makes brainstorming far more powerful. Brain-Mapping is the result of merging the original form of brainstorming with one of the tools of quality control – the fishbone diagram (also called the “cause and effect” diagram and the Ishikawa diagram). The author recently used Brain-Mapping to assist him in completely re-engineering his two-day TRIZ executive course at Cal Tech. He began with a simple Brain-Map, and ended with a rather thorough Brain-Map of the course contents. This Brain-Mapping was useful not only in developing all aspects of the re-engineered TRIZ course, but also in establishing a course outline. The author’s Brain-Map results are shown below in the following two figures.

The Brain-map shown above began with the subject of “creativity” and branched out in several directions, addressing the following topics: Applications of Creativity; About Problems; The Theory of Personal Creativity; Barriers to Creativity; and Creative Approaches. Some of these “main topics” were then further divided into other topics. For example, the Theory of Personal Creativity was divided into the subjects of “Brain Centers & Functions,” Personality, and Essence. The subject “Creative Approaches” was further divided into “Traditional and Ordinary Approaches,” “New and Revolutionary Approaches,” and “Integration of TRIZ with Other Approaches.”

These in turn pointed towards further divisions and subdivisions, until a more complete Brain-Map (shown below) was established.

When Brain-Mapping is combined with various aspects of the TRIZ approach, the combined results are even more powerful. Such a merged system has been used privately with remarkable success by the Melroe-Ingersoll Rand Company – who as mentioned above, is presenting a paper at this conference. The author will not further discuss this combined use because of its proprietary nature.

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