A perspective mind map can help you get unstuck and imagine new possibilities, ideas and potential solutions.
Have you ever been stumped by a creative challenge? It seems like your muse has flown away. Your creative well is dry. Maybe you just need to whack yourself upside the head, figuratively speaking. Maybe you just need to look at your challenge from a new, creative perspective.
For most people, performing this type of “sleight of head” exercise is often just what they need to get the flow of ideas started again. You see, we tend to look at problems, opportunities and creative solutions from a very limited point of you – our own. We can all benefit from considering a wider variety of perspectives before solving a problem or creative challenge.
Here’s how to do it, using a mind map like the one below:
STEP 1: Decide whose points of view you want to emulate
You can use any person, past or present, living or dead, famous or obscure, for this exercise. My recommendation is to pick 6-8 people whose points of view you respect and admire. List them as the first-level topics of a mind map.
Step 2: Record their defining characteristics in the mind map
In order to view your creative challenges from the perspectives of the people you’ve selected, you need to know what makes them uniquely insightful and creative. Make a short list of those characteristics and add them as notes to each mind map topic. Why not place them as subtopics? Because you want to keep them a click away, but you don’t necessarily want them adding visual clutter to your mind map.
(NOTE: If you hover your mouse cursor over the note icons of each topic in the mind map above, their characteristics will be displayed in a pop-over bubble)
Step 3: Brainstorm ideas using their characteristics as a guide
Select one person from your panel of experts. Imagine you’re that person, faced with the same creative challenge you now face. Ask yourself, “How would ________ solve this problem?” and “How would they approach it?” Record any ideas that result as sub-topics, connected to that person’s map branch. If you need more inspiration, hover over the note icon in your perspectives map and re-familiarize yourself with their characteristics and thinking models.
If no ideas come to mind, jump to the next person in your list, and repeat this process. Also, if you find that any members of your panel of experts aren’t producing ideas, feel free to remove them and substitute new “creative partners.”
Why this mind map works
The mind is a powerful associative engine. If you present it with a unique prompt that’s different than the normal stimuli it encounters, it will play along. It’s one of the reasons we as humans are able to have empathy for others – to “walk a mile in their shoes,” so to speak. We’re just using this quality to think about creative challenges and problems from their point of view.
The mind map displayed above keeps all of this information very compact. Formatting their characteristics as topic notes keeps them hidden from view. Yet they’re one click away if you want to refer to them or add to them.
The next time your creative well runs dry, try this simple brainstorming and mind mapping technique to jump-start your thinking in some fresh, creative directions!