The “data” of mind maps are ideas. The map itself is a tool to support the manipulation and process of idea processing, idea communication, and idea use. The map organizes ideas and provides a means of showing their places within a hierarchical display. New theories or applications or insights can result from placing ideas into the mind mapping tool.
Come up some ideas by yourself or in a brainstorming group or by examing the previous ideas of others through reading books and research journals and interviewing observers of the idea development or use. Take the ideas you generate and collect and put them into the form of a mind map, whether computer-assisted or hand drawn.
Then the magic happens and you see how all of the ideas relate to one another.
The mind map below illustrates how a mind map helps to explore and understand ideas.
Click on the mind map to expand its size.