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Partner blog from WISIR: Navigating the Playground of Multiple Mini Maps

Our IRP Ecosystem Builder Partner, Waterloo Institute for Social Innovation and Resilience (WISIR), has released a series of mini maps that help to explain the relationships between different parts of the IRP ecosystem. See more of our Ecosystem Builder partners here and continue reading below.


  • RSP: Readiness Support Partner 
  • IRP: Investment Readiness Program 

Systems exist within larger systems, creating intricate interconnections. These systems rely on the flow of information, which is crucial in understanding their operation. We aim to zoom in on these information flows and the sub-systems they create, recognizing that information is a unifying force and a key determinant of system behavior. Therefore, our goal is to identify and visualize these operations through mini maps.

Motivation: While information-based relationships can be challenging to perceive, understanding a system’s function or purpose can be even more difficult. A system’s purpose is not always explicitly stated or expressed; rather, it reveals itself through the system’s behavior. To deduce the purpose, careful observation is required. Hence, we are closely watching the system in action.

In the realm of systems change, there is a tendency to create large-scale systems maps, which can quickly become unwieldy. However, the utility of such maps can diminish rapidly as well. Sometimes, developing an extensive systems map can hinder the process of systems mapping itself. Therefore, we aim to avoid becoming too fixated on the idea of a comprehensive map.

Thus, our aim is to steer clear of embarking on the following journey with our numerous mini maps:

Systems thinking for collective impact is highly beneficial as it fosters mutually reinforcing activities, establishes a common agenda, promotes shared measurement, and encourages continuous communication. While this approach is excellent for clearly defined problems involving a smaller group of stakeholders, the social finance/social innovation ecosystem presents unique challenges due to its vast scale, ambiguity, and fluidity.

With this in mind, we strive to remain adaptable and open to diverse approaches. Rather than treating the analysis as a meticulous orchestral composition, where a perfect system map represents a fine-tuned piece, we embrace the process as jazz, allowing for flexibility and improvisation.

Presented here are our initial map sketches, which are still evolving and subject to change. They may appear messy, but we embrace this untidiness as an integral part of the creative process.

Stakeholder Map: A Sketch

Stock and Flow Map: A Sketch

IRP-Funded Projects of RSPs – A Map Sketch

Exploring Potential Connections between RSPs – A Map Sketch:

Mapping the Potential Connections of RSPs to the Outside World of the IRP – A Sketch

Let’s make things PARTICIPATORY! 

These are our perspectives on the current evolving ecosystem, shaped by our experiences working with the IRP. We value your input and would love to hear your thoughts on how these perspectives align with your understanding of the ecosystem! 

Feel free to get in touch with researcher Dilek Sayedahmed from the WISIR team: Your feedback is highly appreciated.

Here, you can also get a sneak peek of our Mural mapping playground: