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The Silent Mindmap

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A workshop process to create new input or new directions


To generate a diversity of new ideas through silent, visual dialogue.




    Pre-Work Required: Hang a very large roll of paper on several flipchart sheets attached together on the wall. Provide markers in a different color for each of the participants. Write the focus question in the center of the chart.


    Silently write as many ideas as you can to answer the focus question, each one inside of a circle. As you see responses from your colleagues, let them stimulate new ideas. As you think of something new to add to a colleague's thought, add a circle clustered next to their circle. In this way as a group, continue to silently dialogue about the focus question until the space is filled.

    Now it's time to talk. As a group, read through the clusters and mark the two or three ones that most appeal to you, that seem to have the most possibility. Take each of the appealing clusters and develop it further with questions such as:
    -What other thoughts does this cluster bring to mind?
    -What do you like about it?
    -What is this about?  -- ”What's the central focus here?
    -How can we take this further in our planning?


    Usual or Expected Outcomes: A series of clusters of related ideas

    Potential pitfalls: Individuals need good literacy skills in their common language

    How success is evaluated: The occurrence of a few helpful new clusters of ideas

    Comments (2) (4.0 avg / 1 ratings)

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    • Suggest to use DINA5 posted notes instead of drawing circles to post ideas around the focus question in the centre. This allows for flexibility to move ideas and clusters in the process.

      over 4 years ago
    • Love the visual aspect -- don't know what to do if someone has written an idea and suddenly see it needs to cluster by someone else's idea -- do they write it again?

      over 5 years ago