Don’t worry if some of the terms are confusing... just use what you can. Like Chess, mapping is a craft and you will get better with practice.

A component may be an Activity, a Practice, Data, or Knowledge.

For example, a Cup of Tea could be a component. It might need additional underlying components such as Tea and Hot Water. In your organization, a component might be something like a Web Site, a Purchasing Order, Adjudication, or Feedback Collection.

All components evolve from left to right under the influence of supply and demand competition.

Stage of Evolution

I

II

III

IV

arrow-right

Genesis

Unique, rare, uncertain, constantly changing, newly-discovered.

The focus is on exploring.

Custom

Uncommon, frequently-changing, requires artisanal skill, no two are the same.

The focus is on learning and developing the craft

Product (and rental)

Increasingly common, more defined, better understood. Repeatable processes. Change is slower. Initial differentiation but increasing stability and sameness. There are often many of the same kind of product.

The focus is on refining and improving.

Commodity (and utility)

Scale and volume operations of production. Highly standardized. Defined. Fixed. Undifferentiated. Fit for a specific known purpose. Repetition, repetition, repetition... With time, it becomes commonplace and less visible.

The focus is on ruthlessly removing deviation, industrialising, and increasing operational efficiency.

As components evolve, their characteristics change.

I

II

III

IV

Genesis

Custom

Product (+rental)

Commodity (+utility)

Uncharted Industrialised
Chaotic Ordered
Uncertain Known
Unpredictable Measured
Changing Stable
Different Standard
Exciting Obvious
Future Worth Low Margin
Unusual Essential
Rare Ubiquitous
Poorly Understood Defined
Experimentation Volume Operations
Differential Operational Efficiency
Competitive Advantage Cost of Doing Business

How evolved is the component?

Select cells to highlight them as you think, discuss, and challenge assumptions.

Stage of Evolution

I

II

III

IV

Genesis

Custom

Product (+rental)

Commodity (+utility)

Ubiquity Rare Slowly increasing consumption Rapidly increasing consumption Widespread and stabilising
Certainty Poorly understood Rapid increases in learning Rapid increases in use / fit for purpose Commonly understood (in terms of use)
Market Undefined market Forming market Growing market Mature market
User perception Different / confusing / exciting / surprising Leading edge / emerging Common / disappointed if not used or available Standard / expected
Failure High / tolerated / assumed Moderate / unsurprising but disappointed Not tolerated, focus on constant improvement Operational efficiency and surprised by failure

How evolved is the component?

Select cells to highlight them as you think, discuss, and challenge assumptions.

Stage of Evolution

I

II

III

IV

Genesis

Custom

Product (+rental)

Commodity (+utility)

Characteristics
Ubiquity Rare Slowly increasing consumption Rapidly increasing consumption Widespread and stabilising
Certainty Poorly understood Rapid increases in learning Rapid increases in use / fit for purpose Commonly understood (in terms of use)
Publication Types Normally describe the wonder of the thing Build / construct / awareness and learning Maintenance / operations / installation / features Focused on use
General Properties
Market Undefined market Forming market Growing market Mature market
Knowledge management Uncertain Learning on use Learning on operation Known / accepted
Market perception Chaotic (non-linear) Domain of experts Increasing expectations of use Ordered (appearance of being linear) / trivial
User perception Different / confusing / exciting / surprising Leading edge / emerging Common / disappointed if not used or available Standard / expected
Perception in industry Competitive advantage / unpredictable / unknown Competitive advantage / ROI / case examples Advantage through implementation / features Cost of doing business / accepted
Focus of value High future worth Seeking profit / ROI? High profitability High volume / reducing margin
Understanding Poorly understood / unpredictable Increasing understanding / development of measures Increasing education / constant refinement of needs / measures Believed to be well defined / stable / measurable
Comparison Constantly changing / a differential / unstable Learning from others / testing the water / some evidential support Feature difference Essential / operational advantage
Failure High / tolerated / assumed Moderate / unsurprising but disappointed Not tolerated, focus on constant improvement Operational efficiency and surprised by failure
Market action Gambling / driven by gut Exploring a "found" value Market analysis / listening to customers Metric driven / build what is needed
Efficiency Reducing the cost of change (experimentation) Reducing cost of waste (Learning) Reducing cost of waste (Learning) Reducing cost of deviation (Volume)
Decision drivers Heritage / culture Analysis & synthesis Analysis & synthesis Previous experience

This work is adapted from Finding a Path by Simon Wardley, and thereby licensed Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0.

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