Use an idea map to identify ideas related to a central question.
On an idea map, the main question is in the center. Affinities, which are categories, branch from the central question and ideas branch from the affinities.
An Idea Map answers the following questions.
  • What ideas affect the affinities?
  • What affinities affect the central question?


  1. Identify a central question to investigate. For example, product waste on the laminator or dropped calls in a call center.
  2. Assemble a multi-functional team for the brainstorming session.
  3. Generate and record several affinities to segment the idea generation. For example, maintenance, training, and raw material issues are common affinities.
  4. Generate and record ideas and sub-ideas that support each affinity.
  5. Prioritize the affinities, ideas, and sub-ideas.
  6. Draw conclusions.

You can quickly brainstorm ideas in the brainstorming list, then drag them to the diagram to create associations between related ideas. For more information, go to Generate a brainstorm list.