In its simplest form, a Mind Map is the product of brainstorming on paper. It consists of a central idea (normally represented by a large circle), related ideas (smaller circles), and lines connecting them together. They are sometimes referred to as Concept or Cognitive maps.
Minds Maps encourage a more creative approach to problems, so they are helpful when very complex issues arise and need a solution that is not immediately apparent. Mind maps are also good when collaborating on projects with team members because they lend coherence to ideas that might seem otherwise unrelated.