Collaborative mapping

tabletop mapping pic

A knowledge map (practical map) is a visual model of your knowledge about your program or topic as it relates to practical action planning. Collaborative mapping is making a knowledge map as a group, based on your shared understandings.

These resources will help you to use collaborative mapping to visualize and improve your group’s shared understanding about your program or topic. Also included are resources to help you to use your map for practical action planning and communication.

Collaborative mapping facilitators’ guide

Collaborative mapping facilitators' guide pic

Use this guide to facilitate a collaborative mapping session with stakeholders to create a map for achieving shared goals, so you can use that map for decision-making and for evaluation planning. As a bonus, you’ll also receive “Collaborative Mapping Questions to Stimulate Conversations and Insight.”

For each connection placed on the map, ask the group ‘Is it reasonable?’ Encourage brief conversation (about two minutes per connection).

Collaborative mapping for program evaluation

In this October 2019 post on the AEA365 blog, by American Evaluation Association, Bernadette Wright and Steve Wallis talk about collaborative mapping for program evaluation. The article describes benefits of collaborative mapping for effectively gathering people’s perspectives. It also includes tips and resources for facilitating collaborative mapping sessions.

“Building a collaborative map with more measurable concepts and more causal connections provides greater understanding—and hence greater likelihood of success in practical application.”

Read the article at AEA365

Collaborative mapping for collaborations

In a 2018 article on the National Center for Mobility Management blog, Bernadette Wright wrote about “Mapping your way to successful collaborations.” The article describes a tabletop collaborative mapping tool that provides a fun way for a group to map out a challenge and ideas to address it, using an example of a group of transportation leaders in Pennsylvania.

“Facilitated by Kent Frese, the ‘players’ were using their knowledge to map out a transportation industry challenge and share ideas to address it.”

Read the article at

Gamified approach to collaborative mapping

Steven Wallis and Bernadette Wright wrote an award-winning 18-page paper they presented at the 2015 Association for Business Simulation and Experiential Learning (ABSEL) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, The paper, titled “Strategic knowledge mapping: the co-creation of useful knowledge,” introduced an approach to co-creating better knowledge maps for more effective strategic planning.

“Recent research shows that managers with more ‘structured’ knowledge will be more successful. Using Integrative Propositional Analysis (IPA) we can objectively determine the potential usefulness of a Strategic Knowledge Map (SKM.”

Read the article at

In another paper that they presented at the same ABSEL conference, Wallis and Wright introduced the original “ASK MATT” tool. This gamified approach to strategic planning provides a structured process to assess options for strategic planning, using the knowledge of a group. A one-page abstract is available in the conference proceedings.

“This game is unique because it provides a space for players to collaboratively create a new knowledge map that is highly tailored to their specific situation.”

Read the abstract at