Mind Mapping

What is Mind Mapping?

Mind-mapping is an ideation method that is analogous to human memory. Ideas are organized in a hierarchical structure with individual ideas under categories which in turn map to a topic  (design oppportunity).

Why Mind Mapping?

It serves as an effective visual documentation of brainstorming session and helps in down selecting the favorite choices by conducting a voting session at the end of discussion.

Process Phase


1 hour


Pens, Paper, Markers

Method Card Reference

DI Method Cards_Compiled Deck_Version 2.
DI Method Cards_Compiled Deck_Version 2.



Design Opportunity

  • On a clean sheet of paper, write down the opportunity statement (in 2-3 words) at the centre of the paper and draw a box around it



  • Record various ideas under categories. Each category should be drawn into a circle and connected to the design opportunity


Subcategories and solutions

  • Grow the mind map by branching categories into subcategories. Finally, explain a category or a subcategory by listing individual solutions under each section.


Review & Expand

  • Review mind map and expand existing (sub)categories



  • Reorganize the current mind map to make it more structured and meaningful

Best Practices



Try to choose more specific design opportunities in the center of your mind map.


First generate categories and solutions individually, then come together to synthesize your categories and solutions.


Go for quantity. Target to generate at least 50 solutions to capture a diverse range of solutions as a team.


Target to have solutions that are specific enough to be actionable. Solutions usually answer "HOW we DO it?" question.


A standard procedure is to start with categories and then creating solutions under subcategories. However, a new idea can open up a category which leads to more ideas.


Mind map allows not only to organise a network of ideas, but also to enhance a conversation within a team. Communication is important.


Demo Video

This video gives you a walk-through on how to create a Mind Map, through a worked example of a Autonomous Vehicle Design Challenge.

Mind Mapping Demo Video
Mind Mapping Demo Video

This is an additional video on Mind Mapping.

Mind Mapping Additional Video
Additional Mind Mapping Video



Here are examples of Mind Maps used for various design opportunities.


Additional Resources

  1. Coggle: Simple Collaborative Mind Maps & Flow Charts