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Making Idea Trees

Idea Trees are a tool to help think about and organize ideas and discussions. Use them for brainstorming, outlining, project planning, debates and more. This Idea Tree teaches how to make Idea Trees:

Click the image to expand, or view the PDF which allows copy/pasting text.

More Tree Info

Discussion Tree Article

Idea Trees blog category

Discussion Trees with Example has info in the discussion below the post, too.

Tree creation software suggestions: MindNode (Mac, iOS), XMind (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux), or iThoughts (Windows, Mac, iOS). (If you can't pay, get XMind.)

Elliot Temple on March 31, 2020

Messages (7)

Online web tool for making trees, flowcharts and more. Looks potentially good:


curi at 2:02 PM on April 10, 2020 | #16347 | reply | quote

FI CRT Stream + Tree + Collaboration

I made a current reality tree (CRT), version 1, regarding FI discussion and learning problems. CRTs are a method of finding core problems by Eli Goldratt.

I made it on stream. Highly recommend watching the process of creating it, both to learn about CRTs and how to make them, and also to learn about FI learning issues.

Stream link: https://youtu.be/lkyKXRijwYQ

Tree link: https://my.mindnode.com/XkXfs7aQv4gi6fNfss3Za6z2uLKRyLMwJPsHza8H

Alternative tree PDF link: https://curi.us/files/diagrams/FI-Current-Reality-Tree-v1.pdf

**Please help collaborate.**

What can you do?

1. Brainstorm more stuff. What are problems that you have that I didn’t include in my CRT yet?

2. Try to make an outline of the CRT. Make a smaller tree with just main points. Leave out most of the details and reasoning. Use that to try to understand how the tree fits together.

3. Questions, comments, criticisms, suggested additions and ideas about linking stuff.

I think you could do 1 and 2 if you want to, even if you don’t think of anything for 3. I think you all have at least a couple difficulties you know of that I didn’t cover. And I think you could make judgments about what you think are main points (not details) and make a tree of just those (you don’t need your own points for this, just mine from the tree, just paraphrase or even copy them, and you can copy my linkings too instead of making your own). So that seems doable.

curi at 11:25 AM on April 23, 2020 | #16422 | reply | quote

"Idea Trees blog category" link is empty.

nikluk at 2:07 AM on June 16, 2020 | #16702 | reply | quote

curi at 11:16 AM on June 16, 2020 | #16706 | reply | quote

I was skeptical of the idea tree idea, but I watched your video tutoring "internetrules" and I changed my mind.

One problem I have with is that, for every idea you could potentially have many many many criticisms. And each will have just as many etc...

**How do you avoid a Combinatorial Explosion** ?????

Anonymous at 11:30 AM on August 31, 2020 | #17701 | reply | quote

In one kind of idea tree, understanding a child node is *necessary* for understanding its parent node. I guess there might also be trees where understanding all of a node's children, plus some background knowledge, is *sufficient* for understanding the node itself.

Alisa at 9:56 PM on April 3, 2021 | #20326 | reply | quote


> I guess there might also be trees where understanding all of a node's children, plus some background knowledge, is *sufficient* for understanding the node itself.

That isn't quite what I want to say. What I want to say is that there could be trees in which:

- every child is necessary for understanding its parent, so there are no extra children

- understanding all the children of a node, along with any unstated relevant background knowledge, gives readers everything they need to understand the node itself

Alisa at 8:29 PM on April 4, 2021 | #20338 | reply | quote

Want to discuss this? Join my forum.

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