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Mind mapping online::Virtual Brainstorming and Mind mapping Software

Updated on August 29, 2013
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I am a trainer and consultant in Lean Manufacturing, Six Sigma, quality management, and business management.

Continuous Quality Improvement

Mind mapping online or virtual brainstorming using mind mapping software can be an effective way to help facilitate continuous quality improvement. For a business to succeed then it needs to use the combined skills of it's people to drive continuous quality improvement. One quality tool that can be used in an effective manner to do this is Brainstorming, a technique that can be used online and through a companies email system. Combined with mind mapping, brainstorming can be a very effective way of coming up with solutions to problems and organizing the thoughts generated.

Combined with mind mapping, brainstorming allows you to quickly understand and visualise the problems you are facing as well as clearly organise and communicate potential solutions. Brainstorming and mind mapping are not overly complicated techniques and can be utilised by anyone to great effect.

Continuous Quality Improvement using Brainstorming

Virtual Brainstorming online
Virtual Brainstorming online | Source


Brainstorming is an organized way to record and inspire creative thinking, it is not a free for all with everyone shouting their ideas together, there are rules by which the session should be run to ensure that all get the opportunity to participate and that all ideas are recorded and people get the chance to feed off each other’s ideas. There are several ways to analyze the results of a brainstorming session, from organizing them into hot and cold ideas to translating them into an ishikawa diagram (Fishbone diagram).

Brainstorming is one of the seven quality tools for continuous quality improvement.

Mind Mapping for continuous quality improvement

Mind Map software online
Mind Map software online | Source

Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping is a way of organizing ideas around a central theme, this theme usually taking the center of the map and all of the ideas grouped logically around the page feeding back to it. There are no hard and fast rules about how a mind map should be laid out, it very much depends on what you are exploring and the number of categories and sub-categories your ideas fall into.

Mind Mapping Video

Virtual Brainstorming::Mind mapping online – Generating ideas.

Brainstorming and mind mapping also can be run as a group exercise within most companies without having to organize meetings to pull people together.

A simple method that can be utilized to get the feedback and experience from the majority of the people within your company or group would be to define the specific subject, question or problem and then circulate it via email to get everybody’s feedback. You would then get feedback from a variety of different disciplines and levels within the company. Give a cut off point by which peoples feedback should be received by and follow up any people who are getting close to the cut off point.

The results of the initial round should be organized without removing any individual ideas, obviously consolidate all of the identical ones into one statement. Organize as sensibly as possible and re-circulate for everyone to feed from the initial generated ideas.

If a large number of additional ideas are generated from this second circulation then it may be necessary to circulate for a third round of idea generation.

Brainstorming online and software

Ensuring participation in your Virtual Brainstorm

To help with getting people to participate and to make it a more enjoyable experience you could offer a prize for the best or wackiest suggestion,  it need not be anything too big. Circulate the top 10 entries for this prize (anonymous suggestions so that people can speculate as to who was responsible)  and get everyone to vote!  This will help to ensure participation and to help people to think a little more “outside the box.”

Analysis of your Virtual Brainstorm

Once the data has been categorized into the various groups from the virtually generated ideas you can either use a smaller working group to go through the ideas and identify those likely to be the best or you could once again send another group email to get everyone to vote on the best suggestions.

Mind Mapping Software

Mind Mapping Software:: Mind Mapping online

There are a number of simple mind mapping and brainstorming programs available for use, either on your own system or online as a group. Some are even available that can be used across the mobile phone network to enable you to generate a mind map through the internet using your phone.

Mindmapping online

Mindmapping is not just unorganized brainstorming. It is similar in concept to using the "bones" on a fishbone diagram to organize your thoughts but it is a less "fixed" structure. Where your bones on your fishbone diagram may be labeled as man, machine, method etc the initial spokes on your mindmap can be anything related to the problem or the goal that you want to achieve.

By giving multiple people access to the mindmap online you can collaborate over its construction. Anyone could add additional spokes or expand on ideas to allow your team to fully explore the issues.

If you are trying to find the root cause of a problem through mind mapping then you should all be asking yourself "why" at each point on the mindmap. For finding a solution the question should always be "how".

Mindmaps can be used to solve some very complex issues that will require the input and cooperation of many different disciplines and levels within your organization. Some times you cannot get everyone together in one room long enough to facilitate the construction of a good mindmap therefore the various mind mapping packages that can be used online are perfect.

Continuous Quality Improvement Tools

Brainstorming and Mind Mapping online
Brainstorming and Mind Mapping online | Source

Continuous Quality Improvement

Virtual brainstorming and online mind mapping are tools that can be utilized to great effect in creating improvements in your organization. Many of the other quality tools for continuous quality improvement are based around data gathering and analysis rather than creative thinking to help you come up with solutions. Only brainstorming and mindmapping really get the creative juices ging and help to get your team looking hard to come up with effective solutions.

Used in conjunction with the other quality tools mindmapping and brainstorming are very effective for improving your business. You can learn about the other tools that you need by looking at this hub on quality tools.


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