Timelines, scenarios, Stories

Timelines are very useful for several reasons.

All our systems are dynamic and the static network diagrams do have one big drawback. They do not describe the dynamic of the system properly. Therefor timelines are needed as a central part of gigamapping.


Timelines are also very useful for short workshops for unstructured conversations. They have been used extensively by Andreas Wettre, a consultant who is a long term collaborator in SOD. This approach is used with leader groups who need to coordinate their woeld view and to generate organisational innovation.

The timelines provide a natural sorting device that allows for conversations to jump in a very flexible way back and forth along the timeline. It makes it possible to have open ended , ustructured and emergent meetings that still are focussed and that generate a better overall shared understanding.

Timelines are not only good for describing processes but also for designing and projecting possible futures. They also can serve as a seemless bridge to scenario building and narratives (story telling). These stages are needed for systems oriented design to develop new intervnetions and innovations and to imagine how they might work. This is also crucial for preparing the system for extreem scenarios to test recilience and to hopefully avoid counterintuitive and unwanted effects from the system change.

In the following we will present some timelines  and scenarios. There is a blurred distinction between timelines that are descriptive, timelines that are generative and future oriented and scenarios.


Ingrid Heringstad Marianne Sælensminde Caring for caregivers 2014 web2

 A complex timeline showing how the situation of caregivers (Heringstad and Sælensminde 2014)


Johansen Hverdagen til dagens eldre 1 HIOA 2016 s

 A map describing typical the everyday life of todays elderly people. (Johansen HIOA 2016) 


AHO ID prosj Timeline s


A project timeline derived form Gant diagram showing research projects at the institute of design AHO. The map is both descriptive looking back and prescriptive looking forward for planning purposes.



implementation terese charlotte aarland web2

 A circular timeline indicates a repetitive process. Implementation map. ( Terese Charlotte Aarland, AHO 2009)


More to follow