The Navigational Map Metaphor

The Navigational Map Metaphor for Feedforward


The Navigational Map Metaphor is a conceptual framework used to illustrate the concept of feedforward in systems thinking. Feedforward is like feedback in that it conducts a message. In this metaphor, a navigational map represents a tool that provides guidance and direction to individuals or organizations before they embark on a journey. It emphasizes the proactive nature of feedforward, where information is used to make informed decisions and plan for future actions.


Anticipation and Planning

  • Route Mapping: In the metaphor, creating a navigational map involves planning a route, identifying landmarks, and anticipating obstacles or challenges along the way.
  • Preparation: Individuals or organizations use the map to prepare for the journey, considering what they may encounter and making necessary adjustments in advance.

Proactive Guidance

  • Directional Information: The map offers directional information, guiding travelers on the right path and helping them avoid getting lost or making wrong turns.
  • Minimizing Errors: By following the map, travelers can minimize errors and make informed choices, ensuring a smoother journey.

Relevance to Small Business Entrepreneurs

The Navigational Map Metaphor is relevant to small business entrepreneurs in several ways:

1. Strategic Planning

  • Strategic Roadmap: Entrepreneurs can view their business plan as a navigational map, outlining the route to their goals and anticipating challenges and opportunities.

2. Decision-Making

  • Informed Choices: The metaphor encourages entrepreneurs to use feedforward by gathering information and making proactive decisions that align with their long-term objectives.

3. Risk Management

  • Anticipating Challenges: Entrepreneurs can identify potential obstacles and develop contingency plans, minimizing risks and ensuring business resilience.

4. Innovation

  • Exploring New Territories: Just as a navigational map helps explore new areas, entrepreneurs can use feedforward to venture into innovative markets or product lines with informed strategies.

5. Systems Thinking

  • Holistic Planning: Embracing this metaphor promotes a systems thinking approach, where entrepreneurs consider the interconnected aspects of their business in their feedforward planning.


In conclusion, The Navigational Map Metaphor illustrates the concept of feedforward by portraying a proactive approach to guidance and decision-making. Entrepreneurs can apply this metaphor to their businesses by using strategic planning, information gathering, and anticipatory thinking to navigate their journey toward success.

This metaphor encourages entrepreneurs to view feedforward as a tool that not only helps them stay on course but also allows them to explore new territories, mitigate risks, and make informed choices to achieve their business objectives.