Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Five Wives and One Husband in colour 


I dedicate this post to Chris Griffiths, CEO of ThinkBuzan, the organisation behind Mind Mapping. Chris is near to publishing a new book – GRASP The solution. In his book, he will teach you techniques to generate ideas beyond conventional patterns and he will show you how to develop your powers as a creative thinker. What I will give to you this time is perfectly aligned with the book and will bring you one step further to mastering computer based mind maps.

The way you define your challenge or problem will influence your chances of finding the keys to success or solutions. I remember what happened during the last team building event we did at work a couple of weeks ago. The facilitator had hardly started to explain what the challenge was, nearly everybody had already started to discuss, prepare and even implement a solution. A lot of important information was missed, nobody took the time to look around whether the context could help, and nobody could remember how much time we had to finish it. During the exercise, nobody looked at the clock or questioned some of the initial statements. It ended in a chaotic situation until we decided to (re-)analyse the problem properly and apply a strategy somehow.

Some exploration is needed in order to better understand the context, identify a couple of alternatives and think about the solution(s). Instead of using plain text, we can use divergent or radiant thinking empowered by mind maps. This improves the overall comprehension of the problem and ensure we keep the focus on the primary goal. It’s by far the best way to generate more and new ideas.

One very useful method for breaking down your problem in a way that maximises your understanding and your chances of finding a solution is called the Five W’s and One H. It consists in mapping out the problem using What? Why? Where? Who? When? and How? pattern. The technique is straight forward and with a mind map, you can easily start your exploration process by setting your challenge or problem as the central idea. Then, each of the main branches will address one of the questions.
Five Ws and One H mind map creative template - Black
You can find a lot of books or websites dealing with the subject as well as some templates for supporting the exercises, including mind maps. However, I insist again on the fact that we cannot just do the work using the same look and feel again and again. Creativity is waiting there to unlock the doors of formalised and standardised outputs. I consider the Five W’s and One H template very easy to implement but I wanted it to go beyond the usual layout and usage. Therefore, I have designed a much more engaging template for you. It is a first example of how a well known practice, used by thousands of people in the world can reach another level of creative thinking, fully supported by the iMindMap software.
By applying different layouts, colours, backgrounds, fonts that match or customize the subject analysed, my goal is to assist and inspire you and make it possible for you:
- Enjoy the process (both creating and reviewing);
- Generate more and new ideas;
- Create a unique reference that can be distinguished from other similar initiatives (from you or others);
- Amaze and engage your audience when presenting.

Let your imagination guide you to different outputs according to your objectives. iMindMap supports background colours and floating images, why not use them. As an example, here are a couple of other mind maps derived from the initial one.

Five Ws and One H mind map creative template - Water

Five Ws and One H mind map creative template - Eco

More practically, if you want to proceed further with the template here is some complementary information which may guide you when filling-in the map.

For consequent problems:

WHAT? Investigate the circumstances of the problem. What are the facts, without assumptions, causing it. Gather a maximum of information and details from the environment (people, systems, ...).
WHY? Look for the conditions or the events that are causing the problem. Without judging or denying, list elements that if eliminated might prevent the problem from occuring.
WHO? Identify the person or people who can help to solve the problem and can be involved in the solution (consultant, expert, family, colleague, ...).
WHEN? Define strictly your deadline and the time frame for the rest of the problem assessment and solution implementation.
WHERE? Determine the best place or environment in which you will work things out or implement the solution. Where would this ideal location be?
HOW? Describe how the problem influence people and activities in terms of tasks, departments, resources, tools, ...

For significant challenges or objectives:

WHAT? Explain what you are trying to achieve. Give the details about your objective, what you want to happen and where you want to get to.
WHY? Give details about the reasons why it is important for you to achieve this goal. By exploring this dimension, you will have a better outlook of what you are aiming, which is important when you will have to take decisions.
WHO? Find a way to become immersed personally in the problem in order to see it from a more concrete perspective. Identify people who may assist before you start to implement the solution.
WHEN? Define when you need to have the goal achieved. Make a plan with intermediary objectives.
WHERE? Describe the location where most of your activities will take place. Find out specifics about the position you will adopt to maximise your chances of success.
HOW? Depict how the challenge impact people and activities, in terms of tasks, resources, products, tools, ...

For those who are interested by the iMindMap file, it is uploaded on the Biggerplate platform and accessible on http://www.biggerplate.com/mindmaps/RHRWydzh/philippe-packu-five-wives-and-one-husband-template-3

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