From the first grade education the human brain if conditioned to recognize and respond to picture and graphs with ease. The cortical and sub-cortical nodes help the brain to read the rich array of metric and the complex system.


            It has become a big challenge for any organization to focus on quality and creativity at the same time. The only mantra for today’s success for an organization is creativity and innovation. There are limits to traditional analytical thinking when it comes to generating new and breakthrough ideas. So creative innovation through integration method is proves to be the best option for being successful.

            Six Sigma involve innovative techniques like Brainstorming, Mind Mapping, Six Thinking Hats and TRIZ. These are some of the most successful and effective methodology to robust the improvement. The best process improvement model is DMAIC.

Mind Mapping is done in virtually every Six Sigma project. It helps to understand what actually is happening and what can be the probable issues in the project and what are the options of improvement. In Six Sigma Mind Map helps in following: —

            –Identify waste

            –Identify the core team and the department involved

            –Identify the complexity of the project and its process

            –Identify the steps to improve the project

What Is a MIND MAP?

Mind Map is creative thinking process. Mind Map is a visual thinking tool best assisted in brainstorming to explore different ideas and re-present it in visual form. Mind Map has originated from the old and dated process of note taking. With advancement in technology and software enhancements mind map has become easier. A human brain is mind mapping every day. Mind Map arranges a cluttered data or information and interconnect ideas to solve a problem.

Mind Map is graphic organizer to represent the core ideas in terms of words, phrases or images. Mind Map can be used for individual or group activities or a mixture of both to help with brainstorming, problem solving and creative idea generation.

So What is a Mind Map?  A mind map is a diagram which displays information in a visual form. It is an organic way to structure your ideas and analysis of a situation or problem.

A mind map always starts with a central concept or the main subject. Typical mind map diagrams are used to represent task, items, concept and words linked to the central concept in non-linear form. A monotonous listed information and be very well converted into an attractive colorful and memorable diagram which requires brain to make less efforts to retain and recall. It provided flexibility in adding any idea at any stage of discussion.

Six Sigma is applied in different organization from industries to banking. They use different set of quality improvement tools and process control tools. Some use Ishikawa diagram, Pareto chart, Decision tree, Gantt chart, Flow chart and others.

Why do you need Mind Map?

Our brain remembers and thinks in color and picture. Mind mapping links the left brain that focuses on numbers, words, lists and logic to the right brain which is the creative side. Our brain functions by connecting between the left and right sides. Therefore using images, key words and color in mind mapping we expand our brain power and enhance our learning and creativity.

Mind Map gives a better edge to summarize the Lean Six Sigma Projects, its essential elements and its core concept.

Benefits of Mind Mapping:

  • It makes planning and organizing easier
  • It helps to generate on the spot organic ideas.
  • Team members stay focused and aligned with the project from day one.
  • Perfect sequence is maintained in between what is to be the outcome and what is to be done.
  • Easy to communicate to experts
  • Keeps the team members motivated and encouraged throughout the project
  • Group based problem solving keeps the team bonded

How to Create a Mind Map

Large number of tools can be used to create your own mind map. When different parts of the structure are connected and linked together, it gives a better understanding of the mind map.

Some critical fundament principles of mind mapping are: –

  • LINES – Lines form the most significant part of mind map as it helps to connects and links your thoughts together and gives structure to the final decision. Without lines the picture will look giant mesh. Lines help to follow logical system. Critical thinking is to create a clear overview and make it easy for brain to follow the flow of the mind map.
  • BULLETS – Bullets help distribute your thought into category and sub-category. In a mind map there is one main category and this topic has sub category. These bullets relate to the main category naturally. The good things about a bullet are that it can minimize the amount of lines, spheres and headlines and still maintain a good structure. This simplifies the entire mind map with minimum clutter.
  • LAYOUT – A mind map starts with a scribbling on a plain paper. But when you start your journey you often don’t get to what to place at what place where. We might need the feel to move the headlines around few times and try different combinations to get the right structure.
  • COLOR – Whether you are learning or using mind map, human mind quickly adapts and tune to the system and structure of mind map. So following this good idea is to use color to divide different categories. If a mind map is colorful then it is easier to understand and quickly identify the different categories.
  • CONNECTION– When doing mind mapping our consciousness always analyzes how things are connected to each other. When it is done the mind creates an image to represent the structure. Brain links different subjects together to create a system.
  • PICTURES – Our brain has higher capacity to remember picture and images. Our brain stores huge photo album in inside our head with no time limits which can be retrieved at whatever point in life you want. Thus pictures form a very critical part for mind mapping. It is always easier to remember a picture than long lines.

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What is Mind Map Tools?

Mind Map tools are implemented in the brainstorming phase of a project. Mind mapping is used to capture all the ideas of the team about what is to be included in the process, what are the risk, what are the scopes and limitations and further.

Thought Process Map (TPM) is an effective Six Sigma Tool which focuses on collecting the entire question that are needed to be answered to decide for the process improvement project. Thought Process Map is the visual representation of the team’s thoughts to move ahead through DMAIC.

Mind mapping also helps in explaining the root cause analysis by using all the five whys and supporting each elements in a graphical way by presenting in Ishikawa or Cause and Effect Diagram.

The Easy Way Out

Any organization following Six Sigma appoints a team called the project team for each problem. A team typically comprises of 15 to 20 participants. One team member is assigned the task to keep note of the all the central ideas generated in a meeting and keep updating the progress. Each team member use the mind mapping to keep up with their progress.

One person in each team is assigned to keep notes along with actively participating in the meeting. When details get projected on big screen, mind map provide instant feedback to each team member about their thinking process.

As the meeting progress, the note taking methodology helps members to edit and omit errors if any and provides quick correction. As mind mapping is a dynamic process, it gives scope to the team members to refine their thought process and redefine the strategy in the live mode.

Mind map is said to start from inside and expand outside. Further when the big picture is presented it looks less cluttered and more focused.

Each branch that expands out gives full details about the project and reveals required information.

DMAIC: The Problem Solver

DMAIC is a data driven improvement cycle use as the core tool to drive Six Sigma projects.

DMAIC stands for – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. These words are the parts of five phases of the process. DMAIC is an important and integral part of Six Sigma however this process can be used for any quality improvement process.

  1. Define – This stage emphasizes on defining customers, project goals, problems, core business model. This stage defines the project focus and process flow. To which direction the project will move. Defines the limitation of the projects and process. Define the scope of improvement and enhancement of the project. Defines the road map for the steps of the project.
  2. Measure – Process performance is the core focus of this step. The process performance entirely depends on the performance of the team members and the complete system. Defects and merits of the data collected is measured. Pareto charts comes handy in this phase to help measure the frequency of occurrence of problem or defects. Member’s capability analysis is done to meet the specifications of the project.
  3. Analyze – RCA (Root Cause Analysis) and FMEA (Failure Mode and Effect Analysis) are the best utilized tools in this phase. It helps to go deep into the actual cause of failure or complain. It identifies the possible reasons of service and process failure. Mutli vari chart help indentify the different opportunity to improve the process and the to apply different variation in process for further improvement.
  4. Improve – Design of Experiment and Kaizen proves to be the best tool to assist a project improvement. DOE solves complex problems or process and system. It identifies and isolates the factors that possibly influence the outcome of the project. Kaizen helps to make rapid changes in the system. Also builds a motivational work atmosphere.
  5. Control – 5S, Mistake proofing devices, Quality Control plan, Statistical process control are many among the other methodology which supports control of a process and quality in a project. Poka-yoke provides with immediate error marking and defect finding so as it can be resolved then and there in live mode. Other tools provide visual control and monitoring of process behavior.

Mind mapping simply optimizes the power to learn and memorize which we are already born with.Mind Map is a system for capturing the steps and idea to a level of details that you need to either explain or identify problems with a process.

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