Systems Mapping 201 (SM201) : In partnership with Cabrera Research Lab


Systems Mapping is an essential and deeply practical skill that makes Systems Thinking visible and tangible. It provides a strong structure for effective information visualisation that can help leaders quickly examine and decipher discrete patterns of complex systems to optimise decision making.

SM201 is a self-paced online course that guides participants in breaking down complex problems using the simple rules of systems thinking and mapping any system, regardless of its complexity. You will be able to try your hand at creating beautiful and easily understandable maps in Plectica Systems Mapping software. Through this programme, participants will be equipped with the skills and tools to identify gaps, gather insights on relational patterns, and communicate their ideas more effectively.

Programme Outline

  • Refine distinctions using card elements
  • Compress top-level systems to clarify meaning
  • Use relationship lines to connect ideas
  • Differentiate relationship lines with directional arrows, colour, and weight
  • Improve map readability and clarify meaning by distinguishing or labelling relationship lines and by adding parts to it
  • Use perspective to reframe, prioritise cards, change the view of your map, and develop a set of stopping rules to close out an analysis
  • Use a large-scale model as a Perspectival-point to alter another set of cards as a Perspectival-view
  • Mix and match Distinctions, Systems, Relationships, and Perspectives (DSRP) in a fractal and recursive way to evolve your map
  • Utilise all non-cognitive features of Plectica and differentiate between cognitive architecture and non-cognitive features

At the end of the programme, you should be able to:

  • Visualise and model complex systems
  • Optimise your maps with best practices and techniques
  • Deepen your understanding of complex systems and be able to communicate ideas more effectively

Trainers’ Bio

Derek CaberaDerek Cabrera (PhD, Cornell) is an internationally known systems scientist who, in 2021, was inducted as a Member of the International Academy for Systems and Cybernetic Sciences for outstanding contributions to the field. Derek serves on the faculty of Cornell University, is Faculty Director for the Graduate Certification Program in Systems Thinking, Modeling, and Leadership (STML) and is a senior scientist at Cabrera Research Lab. He was Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer of Plectica (since sold to Frameable), where he invented several software applications.

Laura CaberaLaura Cabrera (B.S., M.P.A, & PhD, Cornell) currently teaches Systems Thinking and Modelling and Systems Leadership at Cornell University at the Institute for Policy Affairs. She is also the Program Director for Cornell’s Graduate Certification Program in Systems Thinking, Modelling, and Leadership (STML). Cabrera serves as faculty for the SC Johnson College of Business, where she delivers Executive Education Programs to executive teams. She is co-founder and chief research officer at Cabrera Research Lab and was Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer of Plectica (now Frameable).

Together, we can make a systemic impact to the world