To ‘brainstorm’ or to mind map?
There seems to be a myth developing that when we arrange a meeting to throw ideas around to solve a problem, say, or to come up with a new product, people with the condition of epilepsy will be offended if we call it a “brainstorming” session.
Well, Epilepsy Action, (epilepsy.org.uk) doesn’t agree, and you’d expect them to know. (See Brainstorming not offensive to people with epilepsy). But the word “should not be used to describe a seizure….” they say – which may be how the myth was born.
The too-politically-correct brigade suggest using the term “mind mapping” instead. Oh dear, wrong again. “Brainstorming” and “mind mapping” are not interchangeable words.
- Mind mapping is a thinking, planning and noting tool that may be used in many contexts, not just in brainstorming sessions;
- Brainstorming sessions may be conducted with simple flip-chart lists, Post-it tabs, Hexagon maps or 3″x5″ cards as well as mind maps.
So go ahead, you can be confident you won’t be offending anyone when you invite them to a “brainstorming session”.
But wait. If you are in business, you might want to consider whether group brainstorming is really going to be as effective as you might expect. A study Idea Generation and the Quality of the Best Idea from Wharton School of Management finds that “the frequently recommended brainstorming technique of building on each other’s ideas is counter-productive: teams exhibiting such build-up neither create more ideas nor are the ideas that build on previous ideas better.”
RoyFootnote: Do avoid referring to epilepsy as an illness, though. It is a condition, not an illness.