November 30, 2023 Cue Insights

Harnessing the Power of Mind Mapping in Qualitative Research

Your products and services deliver a benefit, but how well do you understand the associations that people subconsciously and simultaneously experience with your product or service?  Mind Mapping is a tool to uncover those associations and visualize them so you can leverage deeper connections with the benefits of what you deliver.

Mind Mapping is typically utilized during 1-on-1 interviews. This technique enables a respondent to freely associate words or ideas with benefits and feelings, revealing a more natural process to understand the customer experience.

Use cases for using Mind Mapping in qualitative research are broad and include:

  • Innovation pipeline
  • Unmet needs
  • Marketing and communication

Mind Mapping in Action: A Marketing and Communication Example

A patient experiences unsatisfactory sleep caused by obstructive sleep apnea.  When asked about their initial reaction to a concept for a solution, they could say something basic and positive such as “the solution would make me happy.”

Traditional research would explore ‘why.’  Mind Mapping does not replace asking ‘why’ but adds levels of associations with ‘happy’ and other elements emerging from the ‘why.’  For example, a likely answer to ‘why’ a solution to obstructive sleep apnea would make them happy could include feeling rested.  Now we can begin a Mind Mapping exercise with, “what does feeling rested enable you to do?”  Here is where we broaden the associations with a positive element of a sleep apnea solution.  The benefits of feeling happy from satisfactory sleep can encompass family engagement, performance in activities, professional development, and so forth.

The moderator draws the connections to the main idea, mapping the connections like spokes on a hub.  The moderator expertly recognizes opportunities to build off of select spokes to create a visualized network of associations for analysis.

We like to use one Mind Mapping probe and find that “what does X enable you to do” consistently produces a high level of actionable insights.  Depending upon the objectives, the Mind Mapping probe(s) can be different.

Benefits of Mind Mapping include:

  • Illustrates how the brain naturally thinks
  • Allows for free associations to organically reveal linkages that are not biased by questioning or stimuli
  • Gets deeper into the customer psyche and emotional elements
  • Illuminates multiple levels and pathways of emotion/excitement
  • Encourages creativity
  • Reveals both positive and negative (barriers) associations
  • Provides detailed, visual, concrete outputs for analysis


Cue Insights’ dedicated team of experts has decades of experience in creating an array of visual frameworks for use in qualitative research.

If you have questions or you’re curious to learn more about Mind Mapping and how it can bring your qualitative research into focus, email to schedule a consultation.



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