What are Discussion Maps for

extracting the deep meaning from a string of text

(text can be very vague, ambiguous, incoherent, superficial, emotive, etc.)

uncovering reviewing clarifying explaining

your models / beliefs / theories about the world
and other people's beliefs / models etc.

More precisely - they are a way of representing

what 'things' you recognise, pay attention to, measure

how those things interact with each other

how well have you grouped them into classes / categories

This provides a solid foundation for starting to think systemically about emergent properties, emergent behavior patterns, flows, processes, and all the other tools, patterns and concepts that systems thinking has to offer.

They can then be used in problem identification and problem solving,

to predict what would happen if x y z - assuming the model is true

to help bring subconscious mental models limitations and distortions into conscious awareness

to stimulate and document learning - discussion maps can be updated in the light of experience - or experimentation (to confirm or refute)

Discussion maps / models can be used to communicate with others,

to guide a thorough calm comprehensive low-emotion discussion

expose and compensate for, fast-think cognitive biases

trigger and encourage slow-think techniques and thinking tools

explore and acknowledge multiple viewpoints

expose and resist;

the perceptual distortion of group-think tribalism, and

the manipulative rhetorical tricks and logical fallacies of malicious or accidental persuaders.