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A picture of an abstract map


Why you need a map.

24. September 2022

Hey, just a heads up. This started out in my Notion notes as a document for my mapping needs. It probably needs a cleanup, but I haven't had the time.

Maybe it could be of some use as it is?

Why you need to map.

My experience with mapping used to be coincidental and unprecise. I learned how to map through osmosis: I read about basic mapping during univeristy and my mentors taught me their techniques. In the end though I never felt like I truly grapsed it. Now that's changed.

A map shows how things connect so people can talk to each other about it.

It is a visualization of a process, steps, actions or interactions — stuff that are connected.

A common map is the customer journey map, which describes how the business wants customers to move through the customer relationship from beginning to end.

Maps (and visual tools) are useful because they take what's in our heads, and manifests them into reality. Now, we can talk about this model, and understand each others views because they are right in front of us.

According to Jim Kalbach the purpose of maps is to help us align for value. He defines value as the intersection between the organization and indviduals in a given market. Creating products by focusing on this interaction is called value-centered design.

Step 1: Decide on what you want to map.

Before you start mapping you need to decide what you are going to use it for and who your main audience is. A great place to start could be to align your team, middle management, or execs of the org on a common core journey that your customers experience. By focusing on the people who will be looking at the map, you can make it even more effektive.

You can read more aboout my thoughts on customer value in my other post.

(for separate post)

Kalbach (p15) differentiates. between five types of customer value:

  • Functional value. Relates to the ability to perform a task. Utilitarian. reliability and performance is important factors.
  • Social value. Relates to value from interactions with people. Exhanges through lifestyle and perceived meaningful social situations.
  • Emotional value. The feelings or affections while interacting.
  • Epistemic value. Sense of curiostiy and desire to learn. Personal growth and increased knowledge.
  • Conditional value. A value that derives from something else. Highly contextual, like pumpkins during halloween.

Nathan Shedroff identifies 15 types of values.

  • Accomplishment. A sense of pride in achieving goals.
  • Beauty. Appreciating how things look or feels.
  • Community. Sense of connecting with others.
  • Creation. Satisfaction of producing.
  • Duty. Satisfaction of fulfilling responsibilities.
  • Enlightenment. Gratification from learning about something.
  • Freedom. Sense of living without constraints.
  • Harmony. Please of balance.
  • Justice. Assurance of just and fair treatment.
  • Oneness. Sense of unity with other entities.
  • Redemption. Change from past failures.
  • Security. No need to worry about loss.
  • Truth. Commintment to honesty and integrity.
  • Validation. External regognition of self-worth.
  • Wonder. Experiencing something beyond comprehension.

There's also shared value, which links revenue to creating social benefits, which in turn provides a competitive advantage for the organization.

Companies that work to create shared value set goals to make it happen. They make sure every time someone interacts with the company it creates value for sociaty.

So, how? Let me show you.

Step 2: Visualize value

Since experiences are difficult to convey, we need to start with a model. A simple version of reality.

Models are common. You have personas that work as simplified models of people. You have business models that represent how th e business can be profitable. Models are antidotes to complexity.

To help us visualize value, we can combine both sides of the value-creation-interaction. By modelling the invidividuals and the organization in a single visualization, we create an alignment diagram.

It works like this:

  • Model humans by depicting aggregate behaviour across an achetype. For instance a surgical nurse at a university hospotal, or a hairdresser working in a small town mall.
  • Model the organization involves showing the offerings and processes they have going.
  • Model their interaction. The interaction depicts the value exchange.

Common versions of these maps exist everywhere:

  • Customer journey maps (CJMs). Shows the general customer interactions with the org.
  • Service blueprints. Shows the interactions with a service in a chronological order.
  • Experience maps. Newer. Expresses how people experience within a topic or when exposed to a scene.

These all have one thing in common. They show the agregate story of behaviour and emotions across a group. What's different is the way the story is told. You want to pick the one that fits with what you want to communicate.

How you make it work

Follow these principles.

Do this(What)

  • Frame the effort. Determine the scope of the map. Determine how you are going to use it.
  • identify moments of truth and touchpoints. Critical points in the system interaction. These are key interactions are often important, emotionally charged. Special type of touchpoint. They make or break the relationship.
  • Focus on creating value. Use the diagram to improve the org, offerings and value prospects.

Remember to select the experience you want to capture.

  • Experiences are personal. They are not objective properties, but subjective perceptions.
  • Experiences are holistic. They connect actions, thoughts and feelings over time.
  • Experiences are situational. Experiences vary — you can love to ride roller coaster, but it's not so great after a heavy meal.

Write consice map content

  • Actions: Start with a verb; e.g., download app, call customer service
  • Thoughts: Phrase as a question; e.g., Is this all included in the fee? Why is this thing here?
  • Feelings: Use adjectives; e.g., unsure, relaxed, relieved, satisfied
  • Pain points: Start with a gerund; e.g., waiting for loading, paying invoice
  • Touchpoints: Use nouns; e.g., email, app, website, customer hotline
  • Opportunities: Begin with a verb that shows change; e.g., increase the ease of orders, eliminate unecessary clutter

Make it tangible

By picking a...

  • Point of view. Whose experiences you are mapping
  • Scope. When the experience it starts / ends.
  • Focus. What info shoud be included.
  • Structure. Define the diagram before you start mapping.

Focus checklist


  • Physical: artifacts, tools, devices
  • Behavioural: actions, views, opinions
  • Cognitive: thoughts, views, tasks
  • Emotional: feelings, desires, states of mind
  • Needs: goals, outcomes, jobs to be done
  • Challenges: pain points, constraints, barriers
  • Context: setting, environment, location
  • Culture: beliefs, values, philosophy
  • Events: triggers, moments of truth, points of failure


  • Touchpoints: mediums, devices, information.
  • Offering: products, services, features
  • Processes: internal activities, workflows.
  • Challenges: problems, issues, breakdowns
  • Operations: roles, departments, reporting structures
  • Metrics, traffic, financials, statistics
  • Effort: Difficulties, inefficiencies, ease of interacting
  • Opportunities: gaps, weaknesses, redundancies.
  • Goals: revenue, savings, reputation
  • Strategy: polic, decision making, principles



  • Static: Don't allow for interaction. Print ads.
  • Interactive: Website and apps. People can do stuff.
  • Human: Human-to-human interaction. Sales reps.


  • TV ads, print ads, brochures
  • Marketing emails, newsletters
  • Website, blogs, online newsletters
  • Apps, software
  • Phone calls, customer service, online chat
  • Service counters, checkout registers
  • Physical objects, buildings, roads
  • Packaging, shipping materials
  • Bills, invoices, payment systems

Service Blueprint


  • Physical evidence: Touchpoints customer interacts with. Physical
  • Customer actrions: Steps where customer interacts with the org.
  • Onstage touchpoints: Actions of the org that is visible to the customer.
  • Bakcstage touchpoints: Internal service provision mechanism. Stuff that is invisible to customers.
  • Support processes: Internal processes that indirectly impact t he customer experience; e.g., interactions with a third party supplier.

Principles (How)

  • Show the big picture. Focus on the ecosystem and how human behavior fits in. Show what humans do, think, and feel in that context.
  • Include multiple dimensions. This helps people align. Common facets for people are actions, thoughts, feelings, state of mind, goals and pain points. Common ones for organizations include processes, actions, objectives, metrics and actors.
  • Show how value is exchanged. Show the touchpoints and the context to prototype how people derive value from the interaction.
  • Make it visual. A visual display is more tangible and comprehensible than a 10 page report.
  • Make it self-evident. Everyone shoulld understand it when they see it.
  • Make it relevant. To make the alignment effektive, it needs to deal with stuff that meshes with the orgs strategy, goals, tactics, and challenges.
  • Research. Everything is be based on research and analysis.