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Estuarine Mapping, some additions

October 29, 2022

IMG 2578I promised an update to my earlier post outlining a provisional seven-step process for Estuarine Mapping. I’ve run several sessions since then, including teaching the approach in Berlin using the EU Field Guide Hexi pack, the illustration to the left comes from that session.  If anything I’m getting more excited about the possibilities for this new framework (mapping is a function within the framework) and I’m starting to build layers to allow people to dive deeper.  Cynefin works the same way with a single explanation that can get more complex as we add liminal, dynamics etc.  Any good sense-making framework needs to pass the table napkin test to with it can be drawn from memory on the back of a table napkin in normal conversation, but then as you gain familiarity so you can gain depth.

What has been most pleasing is that several members of the wider Cynefin Community have picked it up following my blog post and are either engaged in experiments using it or plan to do so.  Cynefin spread because I opened it up for others to use, and use didn’t require training (although it helps) let alone certification or any need for my imprimatur; that has required a level of tolerance for deviance on my part although the level of sarcasm when people talk about the five quadrants of Cynefin is starting to increase!

If Cynefin is an indicator then Estuarine Mapping will get amendments and additions every month or so for the next couple of years and the odd phase shift, so welcome to the journey. So expect periodic updates and I will transfer this to the wiki sometime soon but not just yet.  Five main changes/additions since last time:

  1. Clear separation of constraints in stage five into boundaries and constructors, shifting from constraints.  Constructors produce consistent outputs, we bounce off boundaries.  I still need to get attractors into this domain but its not there yet.  The Hexi kit for this will have overlay transparencies for both types along with a keep/amend/destroy option.  There will also be a set of forms like the Cynefin Action forms here, currently in design.
  2. The identification of constraint clusters that act as forward indicators or scouts that can be monitored for deviance as a possible forward indication of a threat to the counterfactual line.
  3. Run flexuous curve checks on some constraint clusters to create indicators of when the energy cost of change is about to go through a phase shift in energy cost.  Having these checks in place gives first mover advantage
  4. The constraint mapping phase uses the typology labels as triads (as shown) one for resilience and the other for robustness.  This encourages people not to see them as categories.
  5.  It is also possible as the opening gambit of a workshop to get people to define their own metaphors for all types.  This has the additional advantage of socialising meaning before people fully engage in the process with their own data.

At each of these stages, we are generating micro-projects – all of this will have forms.  These apply to the monitors on both lines, the forward indicators, keep/anend/destroy decisions, the creation of new boundaries or constructors and, if necessary containment strategies within the vulnerability zone.  More on these when I have the provisional action forms designed.

Next up we will launch the SenseMaker® instance to create the first cut of the map and the next level representation of the results.  But more on those in the future.


Banner image by Enrique from Pixabay

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