whole system mapping

whole system mapping


   Goal: Define the problem you’re solving by looking at the whole system and setting your priorities, then ideate solutions and check them against your priorities.


 Time investment: Exploring the content, reading examples, and doing the exercises can take as little as an hour and a half, or as much as half a day (or longer, if you do a full product life cycle analysis rather than simple estimates). 

Systems thinking can make your product or service more sustainable while meeting users’ needs better. It helps you to step back and look at the big picture, so you’re solving the right problem. Whole System Mapping is a four-step design method:

  1. Create a whole system map of your product
  2. Set priorities based on life cycle analysis (or other quantitative metric) & business strategy
  3. Brainstorm solutions on your system map
  4. Choose the winning ideas based on your priorities

View a quick video introduction of the Whole System Mapping method here:


You can also download the Autodesk Quick Reference Guide below.

Autodesk Quick Reference Guide


Click on the Whole System Mapping Exercise below to get started.


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