How Mapping helps you make strategic plays

Author: Simon Wardley, James Kirk (

Categories: Age of Wonder - Time of War, mapping and strategic plays, mapping and wonder
So mapping I suppose, the best way of describing in terms of impact, is imagine you're playing a game of chess and you've never before looked at the board, mapping shows you what the board looks like. So it rapidly improves your ability to play the game. I have done this within government for things like high speed rail, Home Office, the police, immigration border control, and we've done it within pharmaceutical companies, media companies, so all sorts of different industries. There's a couple of immediate impacts, first it gets everybody to focus on the user need. You often get projects, big specifications, very difficult to understand what the user need is, maps provide a visual way of seeing that. Secondly, it teaches you about how to apply multiple methodologies, so rather than being six sigma outsource, or agile insource, you learn to break down large projects and use multiple methods. That can lead to enormous cost savings and risk reductions. The elephant part of that is actually risk reduction itself, and by mapping out the environment we've had huge - these are billion dollar projects - where they discover that the contract arrangement is not ideal. The other thing mapping is great for is communication, mostly business IT alignment issues people talk about are usually artefacts of how we all organise and poor ways of communication. Mapping is a way of everybody being able to see what is going on in the landscape and we've found it has really simplified communication in large organisations. So beyond saving costs, applying the right methods, focusing on user needs, improving communication, risk management, it's also fantastic for strategic planning, situational awareness, so there's a whole host of other techniques of learning. Learning about how the economy is changing, learning about how you can improve your environment based upon competitors actions, which come into play as well. The comments we get back are generally fantastic. I say generally, I have never had any negative comments.  
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