Saturday, January 28, 2017

Drill Down into the Maps

During a phone conversation yesterday my friend said "When people drilled down to see what map said, some stark realities began to stand out".  He was talking about how the maps I've been sharing since 1994 are intended to be used.

Below is a concept map that shows this process.

In the concept map above you see a map at the left created by zooming into one section of a Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, which was built for the Tutor/Mentor Connection in 2008 (needs much updating now).  Using Power Point, I added information showing the number of youth, age 6-17, living in poverty in each Chicago community area, then put this map in this presentation which shows the number of youth in poverty in every Chicago community area.  It's free. Anyone can use it. I created this presentation to show how you can create your own map stories.

The "stark reality" is that if the area has 1000 or more kids living in poverty, it should have 5 to 10 youth serving organizations offering volunteer-based tutoring or mentoring in the non-school hours.

In the planning cycle above, I show that the goal of the maps are to help people look closely at a small geographic area, to learn about the needs of the people in that area, and the availability of resources to meet those needs. This could be prompted by a shooting reported in the local media, or by a report on poverty or poorly performing schools.

As a group of people begin to look at the "stark realities" the goal is that they begin to compare what's available in their neighborhood, to what's available in other neighborhoods, in Chicago or throughout the world, and begin a "what if thinking process"  "What  if we added that service, or that program to our neighborhood."

The web library that I've been building since 1998 is intended as a resource to help people learn what programs are available in other places, as well as "why they are needed" and "how to build great programs".

The next step is how do we do that information? How do we  bring together the ideas, talent and other resources needed to start a new service, or how do we help existing services get the resources they need to constantly improve and stay available for many years?

In the concept map above, I emphasize the need to build a public comment to this effort, bringing together people from business, media, politics, colleges, hospitals, faith groups, etc.  I call these "assets". They are people and organizations who can, and should, help needed youth serving organizations grow in neighborhoods where they are located.  You can see the map story shown above, and many others created since 1994, in this slide show.    Most of the articles written on this blog since 2005 deal with learning, leadership and network building in one form or another. You need to spend time reading some of these to build your own passion for this work.

On the maps, and on the presentation board, I've listed some of the assets in the map area. In the asset map section of the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator, you are able to build your own map, showing assets in an area as small as a few blocks.

Knowing who these are is the first step toward inviting them to gather and take part in the learning, and thinking, and the "what if" process.  

Anyone can use the map platform I've created, or others that are now more and more available on line, to send an invitation to "gather and learn" and to innovate ways to fill the map area with world-class programs, businesses, schools and opportunities that are already available to youth and families in thousands of other places.

The Tutor/Mentor Program Locator is out of date and needs help from others to be what I've always wanted it to be. However, it is a  model of what's possible, and still usable to create map stories. However,  I've seen a growing number of other map platforms that show data visualizations. The concept map below points to many of these.

The final graphic in the concept map at the top of this article, and shown at the right in this graphic, focuses on the on-going cycle of learning, innovating, planning and actions that need to repeat for many years, involving a growing number of assets and community stakeholders, in order to fill a map area with the types of supports and opportunities it needs to move from being a place of inequality to a place of opportunity.

I've provided quite a few links already. Here are a few more.

War on Poverty articles - think of yourself as the leader of an army of people who are combating entrenched poverty and inequality.  Arm yourself with these articles.

Systems Thinking - my articles describe a logical process, that requires step by step actions repeated over many years. It takes 12 years for almost every first grader to finish 12th grade, and several more years before they are starting a career. Most kids have the support they need. Many kids don't. These articles focus on systems thinking.

If you are thinking TLDR (Too long: Didn't Read) you are leaving the responsibility for solving problems to other people. Don't try to read it all in one day. Bookmark this article and read a little every day.

If you are thinking you need to do this by yourself, that's a path to failure.
Find a few other people and read these together. Think of ways you might reproduce these in formats that are easier for others to read, or that motivate more people in your map area to spend time reading, or to join your group.  The graphic above shows the design of a "mentor-rich" youth program. It also could be the design of your planning group.  Here's a concept map you might use to think through who you need to invite to join you in this process.

Already doing this? Share your stories. I'm on Twitter @tutormentorteam and on Facebook, too.

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