Workshop Exercises: Ideate

Mind Mapping

Let ideas flow along the path of least resistance through free association

Illustration of Mind Mapping
Run a Mind Mapping play

Alternative plays: Design Charrette, Round Robin

Follow-up plays: Crazy Eights, How Might We, SCAMPER

Timing: Discovery

Origin: Tony Buzan

Run time
30-45 minutes

Group size

Why: Stimulate creative thinking and allow ideas to evolve organically

When: As you want to unlock free association, embarking on idea generation, brainstorming, or problem-solving exercises

This workshop exercise is part of the Workshop Patterns printed card deck.

A collection of workshop exercises that will help you ditch dull meetings and facilitate with confidence. It will help you master the design process and have more productive time with your team. The card deck will be ready for purchase in the end of 2023 and is now undergoing rigorous testing.

Reserve your deck!

Instructions for running this play

  1. Frame the problem. Agree on the challenge or question you want to explore as a group. How Might We is a great way to frame the question.
  2. Distribute paper and pens to all participants and ask them to write the topic or question in the center of the paper.
  3. Give participants a Timebox of 10 minutes to write down anything that comes to mind on the topic.
  4. Consider following up with a Crazy Eights idea-storming to find solutions that fit your problem.

Tips to perfect this play

Master and adapt the play to fit your context and needs.

Tip: Radiate outward

Branching off your central idea. Use lines to connect ideas and help spur more thoughts.

Tip: Brain Dumping

The purpose is to let participants dump everything in the brain onto paper while letting associations naturally occur.

Tip: Forget about ideas

Let your mind wander and write down anything that comes to you.

Tip: Remove your filter

Don’t stop your line of thoughts, or you will circle around the same things. Write down all of your thoughts - even if it’s about what you are having for dinner. Write first, edit later.

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Ice Breakers

Relieve initial group awkwardness and establish a safe space

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