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How to Mind Map: SWOT Analysis

Today's mind map example looks at a map added by Mindjet's Michael Deutch in 2008. This SWOT Analysis mind map template has remained one of the most viewed and downloaded maps on the site. So what makes it such a good map?

There are a few key points:

Firstly, the mind map format is extremely well-suited to a task like SWOT analysis, and it helps you to breakdown and approach what can sometimes seem like a rather large and daunting task. Furthermore, the expansive nature of the map means that with a basic template such as this, you can expand upon subtopics to be truly thorough in your analysis of the competitive and market environment in which you are operating.

This works particular well for teams collaborating and brainstorming to put together a SWOT analysis, and here's one small reason why: If you start with a flip-chart (for example) and have a page each for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, you will be surprised how the list of things tends to conveniently run out when the person reaches the end of the page. Often this seems to be due to a mental state of "I've filled my sheet of paper, I can't think of anything else". Of course this is not true. But the medium does not encourage further exploration and thinking, in fact, it kills it dead. Missing out on key threats to your business simply because you didn't want to start a whole new piece of flip chart paper is slightly stupid! You may (or may not) be surprised how common this is, especially when issues of waste and the environment are so pressing!

The map template projected onto a screen (for example) therefore provides an infinite canvas with which to capture ideas and information. In this particular example, Michael has usefully added in a range of suggestions, comments, and questions to help further break down this process into manageable chunks. As always, the adaptability of the map in terms of moving, re-naming, or simply deleting information means it provides an excellent way of capturing and organising what might become a very large collection of information.

Finally, mind maps created using software provide an amazing tool for capturing research and information captured elsewhere, whether it's in the form of a hyperlink to a competitor website, an attachment containing last year's sales figures, or a more in depth analysis of a particularly point saved with subtopic notes. The amount of information that can be collected, organised, managed, and easily accessed via the mind map far outweighs any alternatives that we are aware of!

SWOT analysis is a great thing to do at the start of the year, and this example provides a great starting point for doing so! Give it a try!

You can download the free mind map template by clicking here.

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Barney is Community Manager at Biggerplate and shares user stories, mind mapping tips, and other news and updates from our global member community!
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