Community Mind Map

A Community Mind Map can be used to share participants' personal pictures of the community in order to identify common elements, connections that can positively impact the community and clarify participants' concepts about how change will/can happen.

Set the stage by asking for examples of communities; explain that a mind map is a visual way to identify thoughts, feelings and concepts. Start the process by asking: 'When you think of your community, what is the first word you think of? When you think of community, you might think of things like family, places you go, things that are special to you - draw a picture that captures all of the things in your mind. You'll have about 10 minutes to draw, and we will be sharing our maps.'

  • Participants then draw maps representing the 'close-in' or personal communities to which they belong

  • Participants briefly share and explain their mind maps with a group (or in pairs if the group is large)

  • Debrief the experience with a series of questions.

For example, What pictures jump out? What words do you remember? What feelings do you see expressed in the maps? What did it feel like for you when you made your map? Any surprises? What common themes were expressed among maps? What differences emerged? What gaps were there? What was left out of our collective maps, if anything?

Ask participants what insights they gained as a group about the community? Reflect on the maps. What are some things we should keep in mind as we move forward? What is the importance of understanding our community in this way? How can we value our community in our work? What part/s of the community must we be sure to work into our plans as we move forward? What one thing would you like to see accomplished because of this exercise?

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