OpenTent Clients in the News March-April 2019
Our clients in the news and on TV.
Read time: 3 minutes
It’s impossible to write an article on mapmaking, especially in the realm of knowledge work, without dusting off some obligatory quotes.
First is mathematician Alfred Korzybski’s eternal reminder that: “[The] map is not the territory...”
Often omitted is Korzybski’s full quote: “A map is not the territory it represents, but if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.”
The utility of a map resides in its relative structural similarity. If we crank the resolution too high, we just end up with a replica of the thing we are seeking to represent. A pretty model but a useless map.
The second is D.H. Lawrence’s observation that “The map appears to us more real than the land.”
In the abstract realm of data models, processes and project plans a simple visual representation may indeed give us the illusion that we are looking at something more tangible than the often ethereal or invisible phenomena it is meant to represent.
The lure of tangibility may blind us to a few dangers.
Despite these dangers, map making is incredibly valuable and an integral part of the OpenTent process. We use maps for all sorts of things, but find them especially useful in the following ways.
So how do we reap the benefits of mapping while minimizing the pitfalls?
The fact is, intentionally or not, we are always making maps. Regardless of whether we are crafting a data model, scoping a project plan, documenting a process in the BPMN language or just sketching out an idea on a whiteboard we are constantly creating visual representations of internal and otherwise invisible structures.
Peter Greenaway eloquently describes the charms of this imperfect omniscience: “I've always been fascinated by maps and cartography. A map tells you where you've been, where you are, and where you're going -- in a sense it's three tenses in one.”
Are there mapping practices that you've found helpful in your work? I would love to hear what’s working for you - reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.