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Cruising the problem area

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45-60 minutes / non-specified as working on a mind map can last up to a few days or weeks

  • Big sheets of paper, minimum size A3, or a whiteboard of flipchart

  • Markers and pens of different colours

  • Sticky notes of different colours

  • Possibly tape to attach sheets of paper on walls and adhesive putty

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What is this tool and what is its purpose and benefit?


An opportunity mind map is a visual diagram that provides an overview of identified opportunities for development or innovation. Usually the issue, which opportunities are identified for, is put in the centre of a paper or board, and the themes and ideas related to it are structured hierarchically around it as they come into mind. This visual presentation of ideas gives an overview of opportunities allowing spotting and ideating further opportunities by observing links and co-relations on the map. An opportunity mind map helps to prioritise relevant ones to develop further.

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Steps how to use this tool in practice


The same steps apply when working on the opportunity mind map individually, in pairs or in a group. When working in a group or in pairs, everyone contributes to the opportunity idea.


Take a big sheet of paper, a whiteboard or flipchart and write at the centre of it the service you want to generate opportunities for. Instead of writing you can use an image for it or a combination of writing and images.


Start writing around the issue/theme/service/product all opportunity ideas that come to your mind in a radial format. Write the most important ideas closest to the centre (the issue) and connect them to the central theme with lines like branches of a tree. Break down the most important ideas into further ideas linking these to the main ideas. You can use key words instead of writing long sentences. You can use different colours and also sticky notes for ideas that you can move around to find a new place. Besides writing, you can also draw ideas or use images to represent them.


Add a few other rounds of opportunity ideas in the same way continuing from previously written ideas.


Once ready, have a look at the opportunity mind map and find links or overlaps between different opportunity ideas. Draw lines to connect related ideas and concepts. Use different colours to group or categorise opportunities and ideas.


Prioritise the opportunities based on their relevance, the impact that they might create, or based on some other criteria you select. Highlight these from the other ideas, for instance by circling them, or in another way you prefer.

Tips and hints for using this tool

  • You can continue working on the mind map for several days by returning to it whenever you have something to add on it. If done in a team or pairs, the team members might get more ideas over time from the ideas of the others.

  • You can also make your customers work on an opportunity mind map that is present in your premises.

  • Online mind map applications can also be used for this tool.

  • You can similarly create an opportunity mind map of yourself and your professional opportunities.

Other tools of this phase

Set the intention, the goal, for the work.

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Experience the service first-hand.

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A visual map of the customer’s journey.

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Studying the existing challenge area.

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Listening to existing customers and analysing this feedback.

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A design brief presents a snapshot overview of vital aspects of a project.

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