Generating Ideas

Exercise: Spider diagrams

I was tasked with creating spider diagrams for the following words: Seaside, childhood, angry, festival.

I started with angry and asked someone else to complete a separate one at the same time.

In mine (on the left) I wrote down anything that came into my mind connected to the word including things with angry in the title, visual effects of anger, consequences and reasons. The diagram on the right focused much more on reasons for anger and was quite in depth in this area. We only had two words the same which I have circled on my version.

We then took the word ‘childhood’ but this time created a spider diagram together rather than separately. We both took a very subjective approach, basing it on our own childhoods. I later decided I wanted to create another, more objective diagram which is shown underneath. My associations are in pencil, then I googled childhood and added those ideas in pink. Initially the search only resulted in information about stages of development so I had to change the search to childhood fun.

The word ‘seaside’ was easier because it immediately conjures lots of mind pictures and visual associations. Living near the coast all my life also helped here. It was interesting to see how associations about something as universally well known as the seaside differ from person to person. My immediate thoughts went to Victorian holidaying, promenades and piers, while someone else thought about crabs, jellyfish and breakwaters. My ideas are in green below, the other person’s are circled in pink. The common ideas are underlined.

The final spider digram was completed in tandem with my 18 year old daughter, her contribution is circled in pink. As you can see, we had totally different initial associations with the word totally influenced by our age! This exercise has really made me realise how differently people think and has helped me see the value and importance of primary and secondary research to help open up a subject and thoroughly explore ideas.