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Contextual System Map



This is a tool for visualizing the system that supports your project, making it contextually feasible and outlining key relationships. This system will involve stakeholders (human and non-human, institutions, etc.) relationships between these (information flows, labour flows, material flows, life-energy flows, monetary flows, etc) and locations.


You can use logos, icons and words, add more types of flows and anything else you want!

Note: this tool can be used in phases "propose and validate" and in "deploy sustainably"




1. In a spare paper draw your offer in the center and all the stakeholders involved around it, then draw arrows to represent flows. You might need to add locations, other stakeholders, or new flows.



2. Once you have a good system map, copy it in this template in a more organised/readable way. Make sure that you have all the relevant info needed to explain your project comprehensively.

3. You can use system maps that provide a general overview and make other system maps that zoom into details. You can use this tool at any point of your project, you will know you need it when you have to explain how many contextual elements come together for your project.


- Pens

- Canvas template


40 minutes

- Pens
- Canvas template

Contextual System Map

CREDITS: This Canvas is based on the SDO toolkit - LeNS project (2007-2011). Created by Gabriela Baron 2020.

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