What are the benefits of Maps?

This is a question I get asked a lot. Here’s my elevator pitch reply (can you improve on it?):

Maps improve Situational Awareness by revealing where you are now and where things are heading. They provide:
1/ alignment around a common goal (customer needs)
2/ a visual aid for communicating with (sometimes conflicting) stakeholders
3/ a diagnostic for reducing costs associated with duplication
4/ a platform for strategic thinking and
5/ a guide for organisations to adapt to and exploit changes in the environment.

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For me, it is all about building a reasonable model of my environment, which is a critical step in making any decision. If you do not understand your world, and you can’t anticipate changes (you lack situational awareness), your decisions are simply guesses.

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Maps help you with the following:

1/ know your current situation (Value chain + Evolution);
2/ see change before others (Climatic Patterns);
3/ be more effectively organised than others (Doctrine);
4/ out-smart others (Context-epcific gameplay)

I took them from Simon’s blog entry [1].

The main point being, at least for me, that the game (to win/survive on one’s own terms) involves me (my team, company, industry, country) and others (their team, company, industry, country). None of us acts in a vacuum - other players are involved; and there’s also an interdependence between all of us - some being, depending on your perspective, allies, opponents, and the uncommitted. Hence why (I think) the benefits of mapping rely on their being the “others.”

Of course, I could be reading too much into this :slight_smile:

[1] - https://medium.com/wardleymaps/anticipation-89692e9b0ced

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What would you consider as alternative tools (or previous tools preceding mapping) for those functions? What would you need to do to achieve similar results/benefits without using mapping?

This topic relates to my masters thesis regarding the benefits of mapping in a tech-SME and I’m trying to build a kind of comparison framework. It is constantly mentioned that mapping is a relatively challenging concept, so what I’m aiming at is to be able to bring up the benefits by comparing them to some other previously better established concepts or tools relating to strategy/etc.