Reinventing the wheel

By Birger Sevaldson


Sometimes, people ask me what differentiates SOD and GIGA-mapping from other approaches and techniques such as service design, mind-mapping and rich picture in soft systems methodology.

For each of those similar approaches and techniques, there are specific answers. Several times, people have mentioned reinventing the wheel when comparing GIGA-mapping to mind-mapping. This made me ask two questions: what does it mean to reinvent the wheel, and what kind of wheel is GIGA-mapping?



(Img by Randal J, licensed under creative commons, edited by BS)


The wheel is a very old invention, and it has been with us for such a long time that it has grown to have numerous connotations and uses. There countless variations of the wheel, and new wheels are constantly invented.


(Img by Gawrish, licensed under creative commons)


It occurs to me that reinventing the wheel is a big achievement! Standing on giants’ shoulders is a central idea in science. We can only dream of making a fundamental invention; the idea of the new is relative because we always work in a pre-existing social and systemic context. 

Realising this makes me feel honoured instead of slightly annoyed when thinking of reinventing the wheel and Gigamapping in this case.

But what kind of wheel is Gigamapping?

I briefly produced a draft of the elements that are included, merged and forged in GIGA-mapping.


GIGAmap map_small

(Img by Birger Sevaldson licensed under creative commons)


Here is the first version, and there is obviously much more to be mapped out in the next versions. But it is clear that GIGA-mapping is not only about big information-rich maps, but also about merging many different approaches, techniques and tools together.

GIGA-mapping is a multi-purpose all-terrain wheel that has the potential to take you to places you did not think existed.