We believe in the power of clever images to get a handle on complexity.
At shiftN we have been experimenting with system maps as tools for thinking, talking and communicating about complexity for years. System maps come in many shapes and forms. It depends on the analytic perspective one wishes to adopt. Visualising flows, connections or causal relationships is often taken as a starting point for constructing system maps. But it really depends on the situation at hand. Visualisation fits hand in glove with our skills in systems thinking. If we want to go beyond ‘eye candy’ and really come to grips with complexity, then good maps necessarily rely on good thinking.
Building system maps is often only the beginning. They can be a starting point for a process of strategic reflection or for stakeholder participation. They can be turned into a knowledge portal to explore vast amounts of data. And obviously they can be powerful tools for communication.