Editor | On 21, Feb 2018
The Perception Mapping tool continues to be one of the most frequently used within the SI suite. Since the beginning, there has been a debate about whether it is better to formulate the initial question as a positive one (‘people would buy-in to change if…’) or as a negative one (‘people don’t buy-in to change because…’). The truth is, the process will work either way around so long as the participants remain consistent in direction throughout the process. The truth, too, is that sometimes positive works better than negative, and vice versa. Now we know why. And so we can propose the following heuristics:
If the system you’re analyzing is in the first half of its evolution, you need to find the virtuous cycle loops that will drive the system up its s-curve. With this in mind, it is better to frame positive questions.
If the system you’re analyzing is in the second half of its evolution, you need to find the vicious cycle loops that are preventing the system from jumping to the next curve. With this in mind, it is better to frame negative questions.