Your Innovator’s Toolkit: The map is not the territory

A reality check

Tom Barrett

--

During November, we explore four mental models related to transformation and change. By the end of this month, you will have strengthened your innovator’s toolkit with these new principles and ideas. Today we look at the map is not the territory.

Your Snapshot

A quick synthesis of this issue to share

💡 The map is not the territory is a mental model that reminds us not to confuse a model of a situation with the situation itself.

💡 There are two types of maps for understanding: internal (our narratives, schema and mental models) and external (the digital or physical artefacts we create to represent our plans and intentions).

💡 The problem is we lose touch with our reality; we must continually check our internal and external maps against the territory.

💡 The solution involves a shift in disposition to embrace fuzzier directions.

#291 | November 11, 2022​ | Tom x Midjourney

Conceptual and Real Worlds

The map is not the territory is a mental model that can be applied to transformation and change in education. This model helps to illustrate that there is always a disconnect between the conceptual world (the map) and the real world (the territory or terrain).

The phrase reminds us not to confuse the diagram, model, or overview of the situation with the situation itself. Because they’re not the same. ~ Seth Godin

In other words, what we plan for and understand in our minds is never a replica of reality. This can be helpful when it comes to making changes, as it reminds us that things may not turn out exactly as we plan.

Effective collaboration and teamwork rely on shared understandings and aligned internal maps.

The map is not the territory also highlights the importance of remaining flexible and open-minded throughout the process of change.

Types of maps

We use two types of maps for understanding: internal and external.

Internal maps are what we see in our minds, narratives, schema and mental models. External maps are the digital or physical…

--

--

Tom Barrett

Re-discover the curiosity you had when you were 6. Learning, Leadership, Innovation. Join Medium to support my writing https://buff.ly/3RtxqpE << Affiliate link