Our world is a dynamic, complex place. Gaining oversight and insight into a situation is often the first step towards a good solution. System maps do this by visually mapping relations of the 'system' that we're a part of. While often useful, system mapping is practically required when trying to work on circular economy, supply chain optimization, and other energy- and material flow-related challenges. System maps allow you to grasp complicated industries, networks, policies, or urban developments at a glance.
System maps, when developed in co-creation, can also deliver significant advantages for working groups’ decision-making processes, stakeholder involvement, and higher management decision-making. Maps can be created quickly, as an exploration exercise, or be part of a comprehensive research, analysis, and strategy trajectory. Maps can also be used as a communication device between stakeholders or designed for the public.
Except uses a wide variety of methods and tools to develop the right system map for the task at hand. Here are some examples:
For business and industry
System analysis is essential for determining long term strategies for any organization. System maps assist in this process to give insight in where the largest costs and impacts of your products and services lie. As such, the maps give strategic oversight of entire organizations and supply chains at a glance. They form the basis for smart strategies such as industrial symbiosis, co-generation, and supply chain optimization.
With a system map, you can also work with a team as well as stakeholders and partners to further the understanding of your industry and find key leverage points for improvement. They allow you to find key strategic leverage, by yourself or with a group. Also, rather than wading through thick reports, one single image can provide detailed insight in a short timespan, helping communication and knowledge transfer.
For cities & communities
System maps can show you how energy, material, people and financial streams flow through your city. They allow strategic insight into where the most effective measures can be taken to improve local conditions, create circularity, save money, and involve the community.
System maps also create an opportunity to collaboratively work with stakeholders in the community, and as a support for group decision-making.