Here are some of the ways you might find Metamaps.cc to be especially useful:
Collaborative ideation and brainstorming
Use the map as a canvas to gather and organize ideas.
Brainstorming often involves rapid-fire topic generation, so the key here is to simply get ideas onto the map - worry about categorization and layout later!
You may opt for a simplified custom metacode set in this case, or use just one like "wildcard" to begin with. Brainstorming in a group could mean having several people logged in on one map, with everyone pooling topics together to play with later as the session evolves.
Remember, it's easy to copy or "fork" a map so that individuals can try out different layouts with some of the same original content.
Foresight and scenario planning
Maps can be a compelling way to build and visualize future scenarios by providing rich context around multiple pathways, variables, and perspectives.
Select an appropriate set of metacodes for the subject matter and chosen process of your inquiry. Experiment with suitable layouts, groupings, and points of view.
Use embedded media in cards, or links to reference items elsewhere online.
Share the results, and iterate on your map as plans evolve!
Stakeholder mapping and market analysis
Use Metamaps to generate maps of all the moving parts in an organization, community, network, or business ecosystem.
Cluster by roles, interests, location, or affiliation. Add relationships, opportunities, status updates, and other key metadata.
It's useful to see the big picture of a large network or organization all on one map, just as important to be able to narrow down to specific focal areas and interactions.
Project and resource mapping
Planning out your next project or venture? Wishing you had a comprehensive view of organizational assets? Working to keep a diverse team aligned, or just to straighten out a complex endeavor in your own mind?
Metamaps provide valuable systems-level views of scenarios, opportunities, and interrelationships. Maps are useful early on in the planning stages to create clear, comprehensive outlook, as well as on an ongoing basis to monitor and adjust course based on the latest ideas and feedback.
We use Metamaps to maintain roadmaps for our work on the platform itself. You can see a couple of examples here:
- Organize maps based on a timeline flow (e.g. left to right axis) or based on existing structures within the project or domain (e.g. grouping by departments or sectors)
- Don't try to include every possible connection between items in the system, just the relationships that are influential for decision making and operations
- Create multiple views / maps which focus in on important areas or where many variables need to be considered together
- Create a map for each of several different possible scenarios, and then weave together the most likely or desirable result
Ecosystem mapping and analysis
A map is a great way to put all the parts and players of a complex system into one place for oversight and insight. Try mapping with the Project Mapping metacode set, or a custom set that fits the subject matter.
Once you have gathered all the material, you can work with it in various ways, including saving sections to new maps or filtering down to view what's most relevant at any time.
See examples here:
Personal and collaborative learning
Maps may be used to organize knowledge resources and create learning pathways for individuals and groups. Bring together diverse resources and perspectives, showing relevant connections and branches in a flexible, non-linear fashion. Adjust as you go!
Record notes, insights, progress / updates, and dialogue as helpful context around primary subject matter. Coordinate between multiple individuals or study groups, tracking progress and providing feedback or cross-pollination of ideas.
Use maps to build out curricula and lay out activities or exercises for participants - adding responses and outcomes right onto the map or individual copies thereof.
Assemble a roadmap or design thinking canvas for complex projects, including:
- options & features
- user / customer experience
- resource management or supply chain
- value proposition
- business ecosystem
- organizational design
- outreach and communication strategy
- realtime collaboration with remote partners and peers
- Split large maps into smaller segments for focused work and refinement
- Create a project-specific taxonomy of relevant components for clarity and continuity
- Use a clear versioning system as maps evolve to mark changes and branch points
Maps are a powerful way to maintain a big picture view while working out the details and arriving at new insights. Get your whole team on board, and build your collective intelligence!