Concept Map Template
Generate new ideas and add structure to your thoughts with the Concept Map Template. Explore connections between concepts and let your creativity flow.
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About the Concept Map Template
Are you looking to understand a new topic? Or do you need to create a messaging flow for your website? Perhaps you’re trying to understand the relationship between two complex ideas?
No matter the use case, you need a concept map template to get you to your "aha" moment. It’s a great tool for mapping out the relationships between concepts — and it couldn't be simpler to use.
What is a concept map?
A concept map is a visual diagram used to depict ideas and concepts. Using cross-links, you draw connections between your ideas and organize them into a hierarchical structure.
Concept maps are similar to mind maps, but they’re not the same. Mind mapping focuses on specific topics. Concept mapping is about the relationship and connections between new ideas.
How to use the concept map template
A concept map can be stylized in various ways, but they generally consist of concepts written in boxes or circles, with arrows (known as cross-links) connecting related ideas.
You can make a concept map from scratch, or use Miro's template to guide you by following these steps:
Step 1: Set up the template
Start by selecting Miro's concept map template. It’s free to sign up, and you can easily customize the template to meet your specific needs.
Step 2: Choose a topic
Identify a topic you’d like to understand better and add it into the center box. This is the starting point of the concept map. It’s often referred to as the focus question or key concept.
Step 3: Brainstorm related concepts
Brainstorm additional concepts you know are related to that topic, and add them as separate shapes. Make a note of the areas you know well and the areas you need to better understand.
Step 4: Draw connections between these concepts
With all your key concepts in place, it’s time to connect these ideas. Draw connection lines between the shapes on the template, and easily rearrange the order as needed. Add labels to the connection lines to link concepts with words or phrases that describe the relationship between them.
Step 5: Establish a hierarchy
As a rule, the broadest and most widely applicable ideas are positioned at the top of the hierarchy in a concept map, with the more specific and less applicable ideas placed at the bottom.
This isn’t always the case, though, and you should arrange your ideas how they best work for you and your team. The purpose of this step is to delineate which ideas are most important and formative in shaping your thoughts on the topic and which are more downstream and specialized.
Step 6: Draw from research
Go through your research to fill in any information gaps you may have missed. Focus on how concepts relate to each other and the key concept or focus question.
Step 7: Collaborate with your team
Invite other team members to collaborate on the concept map in real-time or simply share the finished product to help them learn what you know about the topic.
What are the different types of concept maps?
Concept maps come in all different shapes and sizes. Here are a few of the common formats:
Spiderman/spider map. The spider map (sometimes known as a semantic map) is named as such because of its spider-like appearance. All the information is displayed around the central diagnosis, making it easy to create and easy to read. However, it doesn’t always clearly demonstrate the relationships between concepts.
Hierarchical. In a hierarchical concept map, all the general information will sit at the top of the diagram. This will gradually feed into more specific information, giving readers an easy pattern to follow when reading. Much like the spider map, this format makes it hard to identify the relationships between ideas and concepts.
Flowchart. A flowchart is a visual diagram used to explain a process or workflow by breaking it down into steps. Arrows are used to indicate which step comes next, making it a great resource for onboarding or troubleshooting a process.
System map. A system map is an incredibly detailed and complex variant of a concept map. It includes all the information you need and the relationship between all the data. This can be a time-consuming option to create. And because it’s so complex, it’s harder to follow than the other formats.
When to use the concept map template
From helping someone learn a new idea to plotting out customer journeys, concept maps are useful in a variety of situations. Take a look at some other situations when a concept map template can be helpful.
Mapping out a user flow
Businesses commonly use concept maps to walk through the user flow of their product. They help you understand your product as the customer sees it, giving you a better understanding of brand perception. It also identifies areas of improvement in the customer journey.
Teaching visual learners a new concept
Concept maps help visual learners understand a new idea or concept. Some people learn better with visuals rather than written instructions. It’s much more engaging and easier for visual learners to follow.
Learning a new subject
Just as you can use a concept map to teach someone a new concept, you can also make a concept map to understand an idea better. Many people use concept maps in addition to other learning methods to get a better grasp of a topic.
The advantages of using a concept map template
Concept maps provide a unique and visual depiction of concepts in a way that's easy to follow. Let's look at some of the benefits in more detail.
Helps clarify your ideas
Concept maps simplify complex topics and ideas. Let’s say you need to present a new concept to executives or cross-functional partners. You’re struggling to wrap your head around the new concept, so you use a concept map. By doing so, you’re able to spell out these ideas and their various connections beforehand and then communicate them more effectively to others.
Draw new connections
Concept mapping allows you to develop new ideas by looking at how different concepts are connected. You’ll organize these concepts to better understand the relationships between them.
See the bigger picture
A concept map helps teams see the bigger picture. With everything laid out in a concept map, they’ll understand how everything connects. This gives them a deeper understanding of how to support the success and development of the business.
Examples of concept maps
Let’s say you want to gain insights into the topic of climate change. You start by adding climate change at the center of your concept map and draw cross-links to causes, evidence, and solutions.
In this example of a concept map:
The central concept at the center of the template is "Climate Change."
It branches out into three main categories: "Greenhouse Gases," "Rising Temperatures," and "Impact on Ecosystems."
Each of these main categories further breaks down into specific subtopics. For example, "Greenhouse Gases" includes "Carbon Dioxide (CO2)," and "Rising Temperatures" includes "Melting Ice and Glaciers" and "Extreme Weather."
The subtopics can be expanded upon or connected to show relationships and interdependencies.
This is just an example of a simplified concept map. A more detailed map could include additional subtopics and connections to represent the complexity of the issue.
What is a concept map used for?
Concept maps are used to map out the different relationships between ideas. They help visualize complex ideas and data sets, learn new materials, draw new connections, and clarify new ideas. Concept maps can be used in a business setting to explore key concepts and ideas for business growth and development, and for educational purposes to better understand a new concept and to develop meaningful learning.
How do you create a concept map?
To create a concept map, start with a central topic or theme that you want to explore. Then, conduct a brainstorming session where you plot out interrelated ideas and draw lines to explore the various connections between these ideas.
Spider Diagram Template
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Workflow Diagram Template
Works best for:
Diagramming, Mapping, Process mapping
The Workflow Diagram Template maps out and represents processes or systems using standardized symbols and shapes. By delineating the various steps or stages in a process, it ensures that tasks flow seamlessly from initiation to completion. One of the standout benefits of using this template is its clarity. By translating processes into a visual format, all participants can gain a comprehensive understanding at a glance, eliminating confusion and ensuring everyone is on the same page. This clarity not only promotes efficient task execution but also fosters collaboration among team members.
Research Topic Brainstorm Template
Works best for:
Desk Research, Brainstorming, Ideation
Coming up with a topic for a research project can be a daunting task. Use the Research Topic Brainstorm template to take a general idea and transform it into something concrete. With the Research Topic Brainstorm template, you can compile a list of general ideas that interest you and then break them into component parts. You can then turn those parts into questions that might be the focus for a research project.
Executive Summary Template
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Leadership, Project Management, Documentation
Pique their curiosity. Get them excited. Inspire them to keep reading, diving further into your proposal details. That’s what a good executive summary has the power to do—and why it’s a crucial opening statement for business plans, project plans, investment proposals, and more. Use this template to create an executive summary that starts building belief, by answering high-level questions that include: What is your project? What are the goals? How will you bring your skills and resources to the project? And who can expect to benefit?
Growth Experiments Template
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Leadership, Desk Research, Strategic Planning
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Customer Journey Map Template
Works best for:
Ideation, Mapping, Product Management
A customer journey map (CJM) is a visual representation of your customer’s experience. It allows you to capture the path that a customer follows when they buy a product, sign up for a service, or otherwise interact with your site. Most maps include a specific persona, outlines their customer experience from beginning to end, and captures the potential emotional highs and lows of interacting with the product or service. Use this template to easily create customer journey maps for projects of all kinds.