Since I don't know exactly what concept mapping is, this reply may be
In 1972 I developed a set of algorithms that enable a group of people (1
or more) to get computer help in making what I called at the time an
"interpretive structural model". Since that time, this algorithm has been
programmed by about 50 organizations for all kinds of computer languages,
and it has been used all around the world.
Here is how it works. STEP 1. GENERATE IDEAS. First a group receives a
"triggering question". They respond to this by writing their answers
privately. Then the facilitator asks each person individually to state
one answer. The facilitator writes this on butcher paper. When he/she
filles up the page, it is posted on the wall. This continues in
round-robin style. STEP 2. CLARIFY IDEAS. Eventually every single answer
is clarified by group discussion. STEP 3. VOTING. Individuals vote
privately on what they think are the 5 most important ideas. STEP 4.
LOADING THE IDEAS. Those ideas that at least one person thinks to be in
the most important subset are loaded into the computer. STEP 5. LOADING
THE GENERIC QUESTION. An example template for a generic question: "Would
idea A be related in a specified way to idea B? More specific example:
Does problem A significantly aggravate (make worse) problem B? STEP 6.
COMPUTER QUESTIONS THE GROUP REPEATEDLY. The computer generates questions
from the template, inserting ideas previously clarified. STEP 7.
COMPUTER SAYS "ENOUGH". When the computer has asked all the questions it
needs to ask to formulate the map (interpretive structural model), it
stops the questioning and prints out the information needed to construct
the map. STEP 8. POSTING THE MAP ON THE WALL. At that time the map is
drawn and posted on the wall where it can be inspected and interpreted.
STEP 9. EXPRESSIONS OF SURPRISE. The group expresses its surprise to see
how the various ideas are related, and begins to understand why they were
previously confused. STEP 10. FOLLOWUP ACTION.
I have cut a few corners in explaining this. Please be assured this
system has been used hundreds of times on issues seen by the participants
to be complex.
There are several companies now providing this and its companion features
as a service for pay. Several governmental organizations use it
regularly. Several companies have installed in in their own
If you are cruising through New Delhi, you can buy this service from the
Centre for Interactive Management-India from Surinder K. Batra. If you
are bicycling through Sao Paulo, you can buy this service from James T. C.
Wright of the University of Sao Paulo. For other cities around the world,
ask me. (I am not an owner, shareholder, or board member of these
-- JOHN N. WARFIELD JOHNWARFIELD@AOL.COM