Understand What is Mind Mapping and Its Many Uses

What is mind mapping what are its uses.

Mind mapping is a powerful technique to help you visually develop and organize ideas and information. Let’s take a look at what mind mapping is and how you can use it.

The image shows a mind map with descriptive language for the central node and supporting ideas branching out from the center.

What is Mind Mapping?

Mind maps provide a structured way to capture and organize ideas and information . They help users to understand concepts by breaking them down into their component parts . The technique is used to develop new ideas, or to break down and better understand existing information. 

Whether developing new ideas or organizing existing information , mind maps help you see how information fits together. Mind maps provide an expansive and flexible structure to support your thinking.

Key Characteristics of Mind Maps

Single central topic.

Unlike other visual diagrams, a mind map is built around a single central topic . All the information on your map is “anchored” to the same start point. By placing the main idea at the center, it’s easier for others to understand the core focus of the mind map.

Expansive Tree Structure

The image is a zoomed in shot of the central topic and one supporting idea with three subtopics.

Tree-like branches make up a mind map. They can expand and grow as you develop your ideas. Each branch shows information organized as topics and subtopics, based on categorizations and connections identified by the map creator. The result is a structured hierarchy of information at all levels of the mind map. 

Keyword Focused

Keywords , rather than long sentences or blocks of text, make up a mind map. Topics on a map branch often include one or two words that best represent an idea or piece of information. This makes it easier for readers to scan the information presented without having to read an excessive amount of text.

A picture is worth a thousand words

Using images, doodles, or colors can act as a memory trigger or convey more meaning than simple keywords alone. Try adding an image to your next mind map.

How does mind mapping help?

Whether you’re mapping by hand or using a mind mapping software tool, there are three key ways mind mapping helps develop and organize ideas and information:


An image of a mind map that says "mind mapping helps simplify information."

Mind maps help to simplify any information on a page because they are composed of keywords (rather than long sentences). Distilling knowledge into keywords and short triggers creates a structured visual summary that is easier and faster to process.


A node on a mind map that reads "mind mapping helps categorize."

A mind map structure helps you to categorize and sub-categorize information in a way that makes it easier to understand and navigate. Categorization helps our brains to make sense of complexity. And mind maps provide a hierarchical category structure that helps us navigate information more easily. It’s like moving around the aisles in a supermarket to find the particular product we need. 


A node on a mind map that reads "mind mapping helps contextualize."

The tree-structure of a mind map means that every piece of information connects to at least one other piece of information. Connections include a higher level (parent) topic, and potentially the same level (siblings) topics, or lower-level (child) topics.

Every item has context because of what it is attached to, and what connects to it. With mind maps, the information doesn’t exist in isolation. You can see how ideas and information relate to each other more clearly. 

Who uses mind mapping?

Mind mapping is used by people in business , education , government, the charity sector, and at home. 

A mind map that reads "Who uses mind maps?"

In business , people use mind mapping for project planning , strategic thinking, and managing meetings. Mind mapping software helps teams to develop their ideas more collaboratively . Online mapping allows people to build off each other’s ideas and develop a shared understanding of a situation. It can also break down complex projects into more manageable parts. 

In education , students of all ages use mind maps for note taking, summarizing subject information , and planning written assignments. Educators are using mind maps for lesson planning, innovative homework assignments, and group exercises in the classroom.  

Outside of these fields, many individuals use mind maps to help with their organization and future planning. People often use mind maps to plan their weeks, their goals, and their careers.

What is mind mapping software?

S ome people prefer to mind map by hand using pen and paper, flipcharts, whiteboards, etc. O thers prefer to map using computer software or apps on mobile devices . These applications provide powerful benefits when mind mapping, as they overcome the physical limitations of pen and paper .

Additionally, o nline mapping enables you to build mind maps that can connect with other information sources such as documents or websites. This can allow you t o develop your mind map on an ongoing basis.

This image give examples of why a person uses mind mapping software.

There is mind mapping software that requires installation and can be used without an internet connection. Other software is based entirely online , so you can access and work on your maps from any device with an internet connection. Some online mind mapping tools have the added benefit of enabling real time collaboration with other people in the same mind map.

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Table of contents, mind map definition.

A mind map is a diagram that outlines your ideas in a visual format. Creating a mind map gives structure to your thoughts, giving you a clearer picture of what they are and how they relate.

Mind maps usually contain a central idea in the middle of the diagram. Then, connected ideas branch off from it. These ideas can be written as words or displayed as images. Lines (sometimes known as branches) join ideas to show how they relate to each other.

Let’s say you have a mind map about product development. Product development sits in the middle of your map, and the following ideas branch off from it:

New features

Customer feedback

Market trends

Competitor analysis

All of these subtopics are attached to the main idea with connection lines. These lines show that the subtopics relate to the central idea.

You might also connect some of your subtopics to each other. For instance, if you have customer feedback about a new product feature that aligns with trends in the marketplace, you could connect these two ideas to highlight their relationship.

mind map project definition

Why use mind maps?

Although the mind map and similar models have been used for centuries, it was first popularized by British psychologist  Tony Buzan  (who also invented the first speed-reading technique). He argued that traditional outlines required the thinker to take in information from left to right and top to bottom. According to Buzan, those methods are inherently limiting and contrary to how we naturally process information. Mind maps allow us to follow the brain’s natural preference, which is to process information more holistically and non-linearly.

To further understand why mind mapping is so effective, let’s take a short detour into the world of cognitive science. What happens when you take a bite of your favorite food? Or recall a memory? Or watch a movie? Every time a piece of information enters your brain, it becomes part of a complex neural network. This network is simply a collection of information in the form of central nodes with smaller, related branches radiating from each node. In other words? A mind map!

“Did you know that you use less than 1% of your brain? The good news is that mind mapping can help you to access the other 99%!” – Tony Buzan

Mind mapping is exactly what your brain is programmed to do, and is doing, all the time. Your brain is basically a supercomputer with lines of thought radiating from massive constellations of data nodes. Using a mind map can help you unlock those constellations and present them in a way that’s easy to understand.

What are the benefits of mind mapping?

Mind mapping offers numerous benefits that can enhance learning, productivity, and creativity. Here are some key advantages:

Generate new and creative ideas

Mind mapping is a great way to encourage innovative thinking and develop new ideas. The visual format encourages teams to break free from conventional thinking patterns and think outside the box. It also helps teams generate new ideas by building on top of contributions from other team members. For example, if someone suggests an idea for a new software feature, it might spark a new idea for someone else.

Make complex ideas easier to understand

A mind map is a simple way of breaking down a complex idea into smaller, more manageable parts. Think about a website launch as an example. There are many complex and technical elements to planning a website launch, but a mind map helps you break it down and visualize how all the different parts work together.

Effective planning

Mind maps are excellent tools for planning projects, outlining essays, or creating strategies, providing a visual roadmap that helps in understanding the entire scope and sequence of a project.

Improve collaboration

Mind mapping is an excellent place to start to boost team collaboration. It helps teams work together by encouraging open communication and allowing teams to discuss new ideas. Collaboration becomes even easier if you use an online platform to run your mind mapping sessions. With Miro, for example, you can add comments , upload visual notes , and add your mind map to presentations.

mind map project definition

What type of projects are mind maps used for?

Mind maps mimic the way our brains naturally associate and connect ideas, making them an effective tool for brainstorming , problem-solving, and strategic planning . Below are some common scenarios where using a mind map is helpful.

Project ideation

Use a mind map to generate new ideas for upcoming projects. You can discuss what type of projects you should run, why they’ll benefit the business, and what those projects should involve.

Process improvement

Mind maps help you identify new ways to improve your existing processes. Think about HR processes as an example. You could use a mind map to figure out how to improve onboarding or streamline the hiring process.

Product development

Mind mapping can help you generate new ideas for product development. You discuss new product features, upgrades, and other relevant improvements to your current product line.


If you and your team are facing a problem, using a mind map can help you find new ways to solve it. For example, if you have a high customer turnover, you can use a mind map to identify the cause of the problem and devise a solution. Because mind mapping encourages creative thinking, it also helps teams develop solutions they might not have thought of otherwise.

mind map project definition

Concept map vs. mind map: What’s the difference?

A concept map focuses on the relationships between concepts, while a mind map focuses on a single core idea. Teams use concept maps to define how ideas relate to each other and to understand complex subjects.

Let’s use software development as an example of how a concept map helps teams to understand complex topics.

For teams to understand how to improve a piece of software, they need to know how it operates, which is where a concept map helps. It shows all the elements of the software and how they connect in a clear structure. As a result, teams can understand how the system works and identify areas of improvement.

Concept maps also use a hierarchical structure. The core concept sits at the top of the diagram, with related ideas underneath. The concepts are connected with lines or arrows, which are labeled to explain the relationship between them.

If you think a concept map is better suited to your needs, take a look at our Concept Map Template .

mind map project definition

Create a mind map with Miro

Mind maps are valuable tools for generating new ideas and adding structure to your thoughts. For teams, they’re a great way to encourage collaboration and help team members think outside the box.

If you’re considering running a mind mapping session, dive into Miro’s Mind Map Template , or create a mind map from scratch for your next project. Learn more about how to make a mind map .

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Mind Maps: How-to Guide With Examples

What is a mind map, and how can it help organize ideas in our brains? A mind map is a highly effective tool used by creatives, marketers, and project managers to inspire their teams. In addition to sparking  employees’ creative juices, mind maps organize “timelines, dependencies, and responsibilities.” Furthermore, mind maps can serve as the initial step in your project planning process. 

Although it may sound like a far-fetched business tool, chances are you've used mind maps throughout your life. Whether it's a so-called "spider diagram" at school or planning out an essay in college, mind maps are very common. In fact,they even date back to the philosophers of ancient Greece and Leonardo da Vinci during the Renaissance.

While we all learn differently, many of us are much more attuned to visual learning, and mind maps use this to help us retain information more effectively. A 2002 study found that mind mapping improved the long-term memory of factual information in medical students by 10 percent, while another from the Mind Mapping Software Blog found that mind mapping can boost productivity by up to 23 percent.

Read on to discover what a mind map is, why it’s important, and how to use it to improve projects. Additionally, modern mind map tools like Miro can be seamlessly integrated with collaborative work management platforms like Wrike, ensuring a smooth transition from idea generation to project execution.

What is a mind map?

A mind map is an illustration with a keyword or phrase in the middle, lines connecting the middle to a main idea, and even more lines connecting the main ideas to details. Building out from the center, mind maps are often said to look like sunbursts or spiderwebs. Mind maps can have more than three levels (middle, main ideas, and details), but most stick with this model. 

Human brains don't organize all information into one strict hierarchical tree. Instead, associations radiating out (or in) from different connection points help our minds navigate a vast information pool to make decisions quickly. When written down, these associations create a mind map, a powerful communication and creativity tool used by many marketing project management teams. 

How to make a mind map

You may already be familiar with this tool if you’ve ever gone to public school, written an academic essay, or been diagnosed with dyslexia . 

Here’s how to create a mind map in five simple steps: 

  • Choose the topic of the mind map and place it in the middle of the drawing 
  • Come up with three to five main ideas, then evenly space them in a circular formation around the mind map topic 
  • Draw a line from the mind map topic to each main idea 
  • Brainstorm supporting details such as ideas, tasks, and questions for each main idea 
  • Draw lines connecting each main idea to its supporting details 

Once the first draft is finished, add each main idea as a phase to your project management software. Create related tasks with due dates and assign them to team members. Add any questions or related ideas to individual task notes. 

Mind mapping examples

Effective brainstorming is all about starting with a clear purpose. In the following mind mapping examples, we’ll go over a couple of ways this tool can be used and the specific categories each team used to get the job done. 

1. Hello Digital Marketing

Creative agencies can use mind maps to develop a holistic business strategy that aligns marketing with customer service, productivity, and other key departments. In this mind mapping example, Hello Digital lays out three topics connected vertically, with their main ideas and details branching out to the right of the illustration. Here are the components the marketing agency uses in the productivity section: 

  • Topic 1: Productivity
  • Main idea 1: Project management
  • Details: Wrike and other tools they use
  • Main idea 2: Office tasks
  • Details: Supplies, cleaning, and maintenance
  • Main idea 3: Environment
  • Details: Collaborative, cubicle, by department

Thinking of their marketing, customer service, and productivity as pieces of one big puzzle and mind mapping it out accordingly allows Hello Digital to connect action with impact so everyone can understand it at a glance. 

2. Inside Out: The Film

Independent filmmakers use mind maps to brainstorm “scenes, characters, ideas” as well as financing, production logistics, and target audiences. In this mind map example, the author builds their protagonist using one topic (the character’s name) and multiple main ideas, including: 

  • Romantic life
  • Personal style
  • Personality type
  • Family history 

The author says that the ideas formed here are easy to add to project management tools, which turn these inspirations into bite-size, accomplishable tasks. 

What are the benefits of mind maps?

In project management, creative brainstorming is key to solving problems, coming up with clear roadmaps, and generating unique outcomes, all of which are easy to do with mind mapping. 

Other mind map benefits for creative project management include: 

  • Making meaningful connections between ideas
  • Collaborating with teams virtually or when spread out across the globe
  • Giving every team member space to contribute and have their voice heard
  • Having a visual and easy-to-understand subject map
  • Organizing a wide range of data, dependent projects, and related tasks 

What are the challenges of mind maps?

Mind maps are one of the most effective ways to encourage your marketing team’s best ideas , but they can be challenging to use at first. When learning how to mind map, it’s important to remember that this tool can be used for everything from big-picture business goals down to individual tasks within a subproject. Before your team begins brainstorming, agree on the mind map’s scope. If this isn’t clarified from the beginning, the mind map could be far too broad, narrow, or confusing for those who have to follow it later. 

How to inspire your creative team to use mind maps

If your team is feeling rundown or uninspired, give their creativity a boost using the B.U.I.L.D. model . The B.U.I.L.D. model is an acronym that stands for: B eing bored, U nwinding with a drink, I nspiring with color (i.e., using the psychology of colors and visual inspiration boards), L istening to music, and D rawing on paper. Doing these five actions in a row will help teams get out of their funk and develop better ideas for their mind map. 

Next steps: Put your mind map to work with Wrike

Now that you've discovered the potential of mind mapping to enhance creativity, foster better communication, and create foolproof project plans , it's time to find the perfect tool to streamline this process with your team. Wrike is your go-to solution for turning idea generation into seamless project execution. With powerful integrations like Miro , Wrike allows you to consolidate all your ideas into a neatly organized chart, making it easy for the entire company to visualize the project, tasks, and outcomes they're collectively working toward.

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What’s mind mapping? A simple guide (plus 3 mind map examples)

mind map project definition

If you’re reading this guide, then you probably asked Google, “What is mind mapping?”

Maybe you’re a student looking for ways to improve your learning. Perhaps you’re a business professional trying to simplify your ideas. Or maybe you’re just curious about mind maps.

Whatever the answer is, we’ve got your back.

In this simple guide, we’ll take a look at the definition of mind mapping, the process for mind map creation, and some practical examples of mind maps in action.

Get started with monday.com

What is mind mapping?

Mind mapping is the process of representing ideas visually and finding relationships between those ideas.

People typically use mind maps during a brainstorming session, but they have different use cases, including:

  • Memorization (e.g., summarizing books, articles, or concepts)
  • Problem-solving (e.g., finding a solution to a difficult social issue)
  • Presentations (e.g., turn a dull PowerPoint presentation into a more dynamic one)
  • Content creation (e.g., come up with new ideas for videos or blog posts)

Plus many more.

In short, mind mapping is a diagram-like thinking tool that helps you analyze your thoughts, logically structure those ideas, and come up with additional points.

A typical mind map might look something like this:

Mind map example

( Image Source )

You see, this is super helpful.

Our brain tends to rose-tint our ideas. In our minds, they seem better and clearer than they really are.

You might believe you understand something, but only when you try to explain it to others do you realize how messy your ideas are.

Mind mapping is a solid way to put all that information into a single place and organize it, so:

  • You can make sense of it
  • Others can understand it.

Said simpler, mind maps help you put your ideas in order and make the complex simple.

But that’s just one of the benefits of mind mapping. Let’s cover some others.

What are the benefits of mind mapping?

Mind mapping is more than just putting your ideas onto paper. Evidence shows this activity brings many benefits to the table.

For instance, studies have found that mind mapping provides a significant difference in critical thinking skills compared to those who don’t use it — especially in young children.

Some other benefits include:

  • Better reading comprehension: with the help of mind maps, students better understand what they read, according to research .
  • Enjoyable learning: mind maps can turn an otherwise dull activity into a more interactive, amusing experience.
  • Increased creativity: by structuring information in the form of a mind map, you can think of new ideas you wouldn’t have come up with otherwise.
  • Find ideas for improvement: spot ways to improve existing processes, products, or projects.
  • Spot potential threats: find problems, bottlenecks, and threats you might be ignoring.

How do you create a mind map?

Now that you understand how mind maps work, let’s talk about how to create yours.

In practice, it’s easier than it might seem.

To make the process a bit more understandable, we’ll turn this blog post into a mind map, following the 3-step process outlined below.

Step 1: define the central theme

First, you should determine the main purpose of your mind map and write it down. Then, place the main idea in the middle of your page.

In this blog post, the central concept is “mind mapping.”

So we’d start like this:

Central idea for a mind map

Step 2: build associations

Our brains are wired to think by imagination and association. So, once you have the main idea in place, it’s time to associate it with keywords and ideas.

To do it, we use 2 elements:

1. Branches

In a mind map, branches help you understand the relationships between ideas and organize the information in a hierarchical way.

These branches will represent your subtopics.

So, outline all the possible related topics and associations you can come up with.

In this case, we’ve got 4 subtopics:

  • Alternatives

Our initial mind map structure might look something like this:

Mind map branches example

You can also create more branches from your subtopics and repeat this process until you can’t think of more ideas.

2. Keywords

The whole point of mind maps is to summarize information, making it simpler.

So, instead of sentences, you use single words or key phrases.

You’ll use a keyword to represent each subtopic.

Finshed mind map

Step 3: use visuals

This step is kind of optional, but it can make your mind map more appealing and easier to understand.

By adding colors and visuals to your mind maps, you’ll start associating ideas with specific images, which can increase retention.

For example, instead of using words to describe our subtopics, we could use a visual representation.

A mind map with visuals instead of keywords

Just remember: these rules aren’t “written in stone.”

You should create something that works for you.

Some people prefer lots of pictures and images. Others like to keep it simple and use words only. Others might look for something in between.

It’s up to you.

3 practical mind map examples

As we stated earlier, you can use mind maps to brainstorm different activities.

To make it even clearer, let’s show you some real-life examples of mind maps in different industries.

Example 1: project management mind map

Let’s say you’re a project manager training your team on project planning. In that case, a mind map like this could help your team better understand the process:

Project planning mind map example

You could even hang this mind map in your office to make sure everyone’s on the same page.

Example 2: business value mind map

Sometimes, communicating the value of your startup to investors might be hard — especially when you’ve got to do it in just a couple of minutes.

That’s why so-called “elevator pitches” work so well.

When done right, a mind map can help you communicate such a pitch more effectively.

Here is a great example:

Business idea mind map example

Example 3: event planning mind map

Mind maps are a great way to not only structure your event, but also come up with out-of-the-box ideas to make it better.

In this example, we can see how the author used a mind map to find creative and unusual ideas for the event location.

Event planning mind map example

You can also use a mind map for each activity at your event and think of ways to improve them.

Are mind maps enough?

There are many different ways to organize information. You can use a mind map, a concept map, a flowchart, and more.

Though these tools work great for general brainstorming, they lack the power to structure complex processes which involve multiple variables.

Here’s where monday.com can help.

What’s monday.com?

monday.com's homepage screenshot mindmapping

First, monday.com isn’t mind mapping software — it’s more of a “clay-like” Work OS that you can shape at will to build exactly what you want.

Currently, more than 100,000 organizations, including Coca-Cola, Adobe, and NBC, use our platform to get their work done more efficiently.

Our platform offers great features to structure your information, organize processes, and even automate repetitive tasks.

Let’s discuss some of these features:

  • Customizations: use dozens of drag-and-drop building blocks to structure your processes at will.
  • Templates: get access to multiple ready-to-use templates for different industries and use cases.
  • Visualizations: visualize your data from different angles and perspectives with accuracy.
  • Automations: automate hundreds of thousands of human tasks in minutes.
  • Integrations: integrate some of the tools you already use and bring that information to a central place.

Sometimes, using a mapping technique to organize your information isn’t the smartest choice.

With our customizable templates, you can structure and plan all kinds of projects faster. From events to vacations, and even social media content, you can ideate, organize, and execute projects with ease.

Simply choose a template from our list, install it with one click, and start working on your project in minutes.

monday.com's templates page screenshot

Some popular templates include:

  • Content Planning Template
  • Vacation Tracker Template
  • Project Planning Template
  • Student Organizer Template
  • Event Schedule Template

You can check out our full list of templates here .

Collaborative whiteboards

If your heart is set on mind maps, though, we’ve got a feature for you too.

With our collaborative whiteboards, you can brainstorm ideas and design mind maps with speed. Simply bring your team to the platform and start collaborating in real-time.

monday.com's collaborative whiteboard in action

To get a step-by-step walkthrough on how to use our whiteboard, we suggest you read this guide. 

Get organized

Now that you know how mind maps work, it’s time to put that knowledge into action.

Whether you want to simplify complex concepts, structure business ideas, organize projects, or improve your creativity, a mind map can be a helpful tool to achieve it.

And if you’re looking for a faster, more effective way to organize your projects, then our customizable templates will make your life way easier.

To start, why don’t you try our project planning template and experience the power of a Work OS for yourself?

One platform for better teamwork

With monday.com work os.

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