A few months ago, in a meeting I was graphically recording, a participant shared this ‘strategic recipe map’ created by Disneyland, holding it up as an example of business mapping best practice.

Map out business growth plans like Disney blog by Tom Russell, Inky Thinking
Disney visual map of business growth plan

I’d not seen this map before, and so I was not only intrigued to discover more, but also pleased that a visual thinking technique had been shared in this way.

In summary, this map highlights opportunities for sustained growth and indicates from where supporting growth might originate when linked to a central asset, in this case a film, as you can see from elements including merchandise, TV, music etc.

Whether you are making films or something entirely different, you can map out your business growth plans using a simple technique such as that demonstrated by Disney in the 1950’s. Here’s what you need to make that happen:

A large sheet of paper (or fix several flip-chart sheets together to make a larger working area).

Sticky notes, which will offer flexibility if you need to move content around as the conversation develops.

A range of markers in different colours, which may help you as you start to categorise data.

Artist’s tape if fixing charts on the wall.

A ruler/straight edge for creating links between points (or go free hand if you are feeling lucky).

Engaged meeting participants offering a range of perspectives and thinking styles.

Open minds and willingness to explore in detail.

Remember that walls are not the only surface you can use. Tables can also be papered to form a working space around which the group can gather and collaborate.

A final tip. If you are using a table for your mapping why not give the process a twist and use chips (not the edible variety btw) to indicate where participants feel attention should be paid (“the big bets”) when it comes to deciding on tangible next steps. You can find details of this technique in my book ‘Meet with Impact – 40 visual tools for productive meetings and engaging workshops’ (Tool 31 – ‘Show me the money!’ page 277) (available through the Inky Thinking shop (at a reduced price)Amazon, or your friendly local bookseller).

Here are the chips I use in my meetings. What they lack in flavour they make up for in productivity!

Map out business growth plans like Disney blog by Tom Russell, Inky Thinking


Content taken from ‘The Visual Meeting Coach’ LinkedIn newsletter by Tom Russell. To subscribe to Tom’s newsletters visit https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomasrussell/

About Tom …

Tom is a facilitator, graphic recorder and founder of Inky Thinking, a creative agency specialising in bespoke visual communication, enabling leaders and organisations to communicate effectively. Tom works with leaders and teams in global organisations to design and facilitate conferences, meetings and workshops. Inky Thinking are also a proud UK reseller of Neuland visual facilitation kit.