Feb 8, 2019 · 3 min read
Systems maps do a great job at capturing relationships. Often, as we’re learning how to translate those relationships into systems maps we’re told to keep related elements near each other and minimize overlapping connections.
But are proximity and orderliness really that useful? What might a systems map look like if we threw those principles out the window?
As Adam Groves and Sam Rye have shown us in their work on systems change, it’s possible to use positioning to pack a lot more information into a systems map A) without making the map overwhelming to your audience, and B) without a whole lot more work on the mapmaker’s side.
Sam calls it the systems leverage canvas. A canvas that allows you to use positioning to capture two additional dimensions to every element on the map.
Rather than arbitrarily placing elements on a map, each element is placed according to two values: leverage and severity.