8. Draw in arrows with all influencing variables

Canvas-Guide Step 8: Draw missing arrows between all noun-boxes to all other nouns of the other clouds (the more arrows there are on the whole map the better; check everything with everything to see if they affect each other)

crosslink everything with everything

Up until now you have only linked the nouns within a category cloud with arrows. Now it has to be considered whether a noun from one category can be linked to other influencing variables in other category clouds by an effect arrow. I.e. now consider whether A can also be connected with E, F, G, H,… and whether E should be networked with A, B, C, etc.?

No worries

If you had defined e.g. 18 influence sizes, this would be a total of 18*17=306 potentially possible arrows. Similar to a soccer Bundesliga first round, in which each team must have played against the other once.

Experience shows, however, that the cross-linking density of the arrows is highest within the category clouds. In addition, the proportion of arrows is significantly lower. That’s why there are category clouds, so that it can be displayed more beautifully, it can be visualized more clearly and you forget to draw fewer arrows.

I.e. to connect everything with everything you need at 18 influence sizes, which would be already above average many, no 306 arrows, but probably in most cases less than 1/4. With some practice this works in a few minutes. But take the time you need.

Networking makes robust

But it also applies:

The more complex and robust a system is, the higher the cross-linking density and vice versa

This also explains why certain complex questions can rarely be solved simply or only approximately understood in their complexity. There are many connections, so many things influence each other.

If you are working on a highly complex topic, you will also recognize the degree of complexity by the fact that you have drawn a lot of arrows and thus probably understood the topic very well and have reflected on it for a long time.

At the same time, however, you are probably living in the dilemma of no longer being able to see the forest for trees and being stuck to decide anything at all. What in heaven’s name should you prioritize from the innumerable influencing variables in which order? More about this in the analysis in the next steps.

How the brain works

Finally you reproduce your own neuronal networked brain in parts with the relationship map. You put your brain on paper, so to speak. Because also in your head neurons are only networked. Electrical impulses “on” and “off” in the different directions provide the relationship. In the overall system of your brain, networking then results in your subconscious and consciousness, which ultimately constitutes you.

Rules for networking beyond category clouds

All rules from step 7 plus next apply

  • let your feelings and subconscious rule and draw in an arrow even if the connection already makes a minimal sense; maybe you don’t have to explain it for yourself, but it feels good to draw the effect arrow.
  • try not to draw the arrows crosswise or through main word boxes, but rather around in the big bow.
  • since the noun-boxes now sometimes have much more incoming and outgoing arrows, draw the arrows cleanly and with some distance, if you connect them to the noun-box.
  • the more influence sizes and the higher the complexity of your question, the more confusing the maze of arrows can be. Don’t worry, just go on, even if the relationship map looks very busy. It looks the same in your head and that’s a good thing.
  • Optionally you can also draw the arrows between the clouds with a different pencil than the one for the arrows in the clouds; best not a color pencil, but a ballpoint pen or a pencil.

Next Step 9

In the next 9. Step you will enter the analysis and count the incoming and outgoing arrows per influence size.