Mind mapping is a brainstorming tool that can be used to get the participants into the topic of the workshop and stimulate the participants brain creativity by warming them up for more complex brainstorming methods.

It can be used to create a good environment for brainstorming and ideation.

Participants tend to get competitive and laugh while doing the exercise which can lead to boosting the comfort between participants.

Tips to include participants who are not able to:


If the participants can not see, each keyword could
be said out loud instead of writing it down.
This would although eliminate the chance of the facilitator to note down all keywords mentioned. Often times, the time between each keyword is said is so fast meaning that the facilitator would not be able to follow the pace. Despite this, the method would still work as the main purpose is to warm up the participants for furter brainstorming. If the participants would have to remember the entire chain of keywords it would be too complex.


If the participants can not move much they would not have to write down the keywords, it can just be said out loud.


If the participant can not hold on to a pen the new keywords could just be said out loud. This might enhance the competing aspects of saying keywords fast.


If the participants can not read the words could just be said out loud.


A translator can be used for presentation, or a written explanation can be given by a fellow participant.


Depending on the ability being limited according to not being able to focus because of distractions or because of time crunch - either reduce time spent or increase the time spent for brainstorming.


If a participant feels excluded try to mix up the groups of two to see which participants are comfortable with each other. There might be a participant who is only comfortable working with a few of the other participants. If the participant is uncomfortable the contribution to the workshop might be lacking why it can be a good idea to analyse which participants work well together.



Keywords associated with the overall problem/goal that the workshop is targeting.


The key takeaway is that the participants have opened up their minds and are well prepared for more complex brainstorming methods.

The output, in terms of the new keywords, might not be super useful in the later process(or maybe they are), but at least the participants have stretched their minds and have gotten familiar with each other.




10 minutes




Core abilities:

  • Write
  • Reflect
  • Communicate with a partner

Step by step:

  1. Prepare some keywords that are within the scope of the workshop.

  2. Divide the participants in teams of two.

  3. Give each group a keyword.

  4. Participant 1 draws a line from the keyword and writes a new keyword associated with it.

  5. Participant 2 then draws a line and writes a new keyword associated with the first keyword.

  6. Step 5 & 6 are repeated until the participants can not come up with new keywords.

  7. Give the participants a new keyword to further explore every 2 minute or before if the participants are stuck.

  8. Stop the method after 10 minutes.

When doing this method you should consider:

Prepare many keywords as the participants might get stuck before you anticipated.

Perform the method in rounds and switch the participants up after each round ensuring that all participants have tried working with each other. This will contribute to the participants feeling more comfortable as the method is simple.

Whenever you see a group not finding a new keyword fast it is a sign that they are stuck, hand them over a new word.

If the participants are already stuck after 3 new keywords, help them by giving an example of a new associated word – that can sometimes boost the creativity, if not hand them over a brand new keyword.

If you see a group where participant 1 has many ideas for new keywords but participant 2 has to think a lot, hand them over a new keyword. Else participant 2 might lose some confidence aspiring to being less creative or afraid of speaking out loud later in the workshop.

If you want the participants to be a bit more challenged you could say that they should come up with a new keyword not associated with the first word but the word just said from the other participant. This means that the participants have to think fast as they can not just create a ‘bank’ in the back of their minds with words associated with the first word.

Who is the exercise not suitable for?
If the participants are not capable of reacting fast to the new keyword the atmosphere might get tense which is why it is important that the method is used with participants that are capable of thinking somewhat fast.

Materials needed:

  • Pens
  • Whiteboard
  • Wall space
  • Template or post-its