Social System Maps

Social System Mapping was originally meant simply to support network weaving, but the practice that is emerging around it is about so much more. It has become one part of a larger process meant to instigate, amplify, and accelerate regenerative systemic transformations through weaving multi-stakeholder change networks that support their members in becoming increasingly self-organizing and adaptive so that they can meet the challenges of our times.

We believe that among the conditions needed by regenerative transformation networks are an ever-deepening, shared understanding of systems, complexity, and change among network members, in addition to support for enhanced relationship building. Social System Mapping can help support these conditions for a larger transformational process at many levels.

We also believe that we can't effectively help to shift a paradigm in the world around us if we operate from within the paradigm we're trying to help people shift away from. We have to walk our talk. We designed sumApp with systems-thinking in mind, and our service-delivery model is based on network principles. We work directly with network leaders and sponsors, as well as in collaboration with other network consultants to co-create Social System Maps and related network-facing processes to enhance and reflect those larger transformational conditions.

Ideally, Social System Mapping is an ongoing process of engagement with the community, much of which can ultimately be handled by the community itself. We try to participate in a symbiotic way helping clients and consultants gain the skills needed to manage most aspects of a mapping engagement, and we tailor our services around what is needed that only we can provide.
Whether working with a consultant partner or directly with our own clients we offer the following services:

      • Technical support:
            • We take a back seat to the overall process and just handle the data after it’s been gathered in sumApp, generating Kumu maps according to specs.
            • We only do this in collaboration with a network consultant experienced in the Social System Mapping Visionary and SenseMaking roles, and able to manage the network-facing process.
            • Our collaborator deals with sumApp set-up as well as manages the whole network-facing process.


      • Technical support plus process coaching:
            • In collaboration with network consultants or client staff who are learning sumApp set-up and the Social System Mapping Visionary and SenseMaking roles.
            • Our collaborator manages the whole network-facing process and deals with the sumApp set-up as well.
            • We take a back seat, but you’re not on your own.


      • Technical support, sumApp administration, and process coaching:
            • In collaboration with network consultants or directly with our own clients who have their own process facilitators.


      • Technical support, sumApp administration, and full process facilitation:
            • Directly with clients or consultants who want us to do all the mapping work and co-lead all network-facing process & facilitation throughout the process.


Whether you’re a consultant looking to collaborate, a network sponsor/staff, or network leader exploring Social System Mapping for your community – if you want to hire the highest level of professional support – contact us!

Other wonderful Social System Mappers continue to emerge from our community of practice, all of whom we love and support. If you already have a relationship with any of them, you’ll be best served by sticking with them (we believe a strong relationship is more powerful than a bunch of technical skills) – and if needed, we can coach or partner where useful.

But if you’re not yet attached and are looking for support – we’re the leaders in this field. We have by far the most experience, in the broadest range of contexts. We’ve pioneered the pivotal part of the tool-set as well as the applied thinking that generated this field. And in addition to our own direct experience, we also have the most exposure to other mapper’s experience and new ideas through supporting our community of practice.

We understand the constantly-evolving tools better than anyone – and this is all we do. Which means that we are all-in committed to this field and always pushing at the boundaries of what we’ve learned so far. Our technical processes are streamlined and always being perfected, so that we can deliver fast turn-around when needed. Our daily focus is on mapping, so we’re always available to troubleshoot technical problems. And we use a rigorous design-logic based on recognized data-visualization principles and deep experience both serving and walking the talk of change networks.
Hiring us is the best way to support the entire field of Social System Mapping, because most of our resources get plowed back into the community

We’ve priced sumApp super-affordably because we believe in the power of Social System Mapping so much that we want all change initiatives to be able to have one. But it costs a lot to keep sumApp working & secure, and it still barely brings in more than the fixed overhead required.

Ongoing sumApp development comes out of our own pockets. We pay a developer with our mapping income, and the time spent on designing, managing and testing the project ourselves cuts down on the time we have available to earn an income. And our community building efforts are our contribution to the field. Aside from keeping ourselves modestly afloat, we pour all our resources back into the field.

We choose not to seek out investors because we intend to keep our principles aligned to the conditions of transformative self-organizing systems, not the profit-oriented business-logic demands of even well-intentioned capitalists.

In other words, we can’t continue to develop sumApp and support the community without income-generating client projects. So, if you’re interested in hiring highly skilled, professional mapping support – while leveraging your dollars to support the field – contact us! We’re ready to dive in and get to work.

Examples of Our Mapping Work

Transformation Systems Mapping And Analysis Working Group

The Transformations Systems Mapping and Analysis Working Group (TSM&A) is a network devoted to understanding and positively changing the Earth of the Anthropocene

Emerging from collaboration among: The International Geodesign Collaboration, The Blue Marble Evaluation network, The Regenerative Communities network, and the SDG Transformations Forum, it is working to visualize a new social, ecological & economic enlightenment.

You can learn more about them here

The TSM&A Social System Map reflects relationships among the individuals in the overall working group, the workstreams, and the broader networks. It’s one example of how we use the ‘Dual Elements’ feature to combine individuals and larger groups of individuals.

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Rapid City Collective Impact Social System Map

Rapid City Collective Impact (RCCI) is a community-supported initiative involving members of local government, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, businesses, grassroots citizens and a backbone organization who share the common goal of improving quality of life in Rapid City. RCCI is a program of the Black Hills Area Community Foundation.

You can learn more about RCCI here.

The RCCI Social System Map reveals the inter-organizational dynamics among the organizations in the initiative.

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Human Systems Dynamics Social System map

Human Systems Dynamics (HSD) creates opportunities out of chaos. Their methods give practitioners the power to see patterns in complexity, understand the most wicked problems in new and useful ways, and most importantly, take innovative action to move past the biggest challenges and toward future success.

You can learn more about HSD here.

Their Social System Map includes certified HSD practitioners from cohorts going back to the beginning.

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Some of Our Clients