Mapping Your Complex Problems

Robert Brown
Associate Director, Center for Community and Economic Development
Michigan State University

Miles McNall
Director, Community Evaluation and Research Collaborative
Michigan State University

Session Description

One of the first steps in tackling a complex problem is to get some sense of the different factors that contribute to the problem and the relationships among these factors. These factors and their relationships form the problem-relevant system. Systems mapping is a technique used map out the boundaries, elements, structures, processes, and relationship of problem-relevant systems. In this session, participants will work in affinity groups based on a shared interest in complex problems (e.g., food security, water quality, health, etc.) to collaboratively construct, compare and discuss systems maps and their implications for further inquiry and action.