System maps are a good starting point for ideation around new ways to create value, in particular by facilitating or improving relationships which are important to key stakeholders.
Based on an existing or quickly created system map, the group will look for ways to add value by adding, removing, or replacing elements, and examining the exchanges between stakeholders.
- Invite the right people to work beside your core team for the exercise (this might include people who know the background, people with no preconceptions, experts, representatives of the implementation team, people who will deliver the service, users, management, etc.).
- If you have some current-state stakeholder maps, value networkmaps, or ecosystem maps, let the group familiarize themselves with them and, if practical, with the research behind them. If you don’t have these maps, you might set up a quick assumption-based map, based on the experience of the people in the room. This is done most quickly if you use, say, Business Origami or a “constellation” method – see below. Basically, you run a quick version of the Co-creating system maps method. Of course, an assumption-based map is less reliable, but it can be useful to develop a feeling for the situation, especially if the group know their customers well.
- Take one map at a time, and consider the following questions. It might be easier to place counters, figures, or Business Origami on the map, so you can make changes and see them easily. Write down all your insights, ideas, and open questions on a flipchart.
— For a stakeholder map: Which relationships could be strengthened for the most impact? How might we do this? How could we help a key person on the map become a hero?
— For value network maps and ecosystem maps: Which value exchange could be facilitated for the most impact? How could we do this?
— For any map: If some elements were removed from the map (think about one at a time), what would happen? How could the network still function without that element? What if another element was added, changed, weakened, or empowered?
- Use some other ideation method to develop answers for your open questions, or to diversify the ideas you already have. You might use brainstorming, bodystorming, or another method.
- Use some idea clustering, ranking, or option-reduction methods to decide which ideas to take forward.
- Quickly draw up new system maps for the most interesting ideas. How can you make the map work? Is something still missing? Is something imbalanced?
- How would you achieve this change? How would the stakeholders experience it? Perhaps you can augment the new maps with new journeys and service blueprints to explore the necessary frontline and backstage processes. Alternatively, go straight into prototyping these new offerings in more detail.