The Art of Strategy: Wardley Mapping Examples

Annex: A curated, diverse and updated atlas of valuable maps

Photo: Chris Lawton on Unsplash

What is strategy? Why do you need it? How do you do it? And, how can you be more certain to succeed? The Art of Strategy provides timeless answers to these eternal questions. It is a modern reading of Sun Tzu’s Art of War using the lenses of strategists John Boyd and Simon Wardley (swardley). All parts. Other reading and viewing formats.

Updated July 2, 2022: 51 Wardley Maps from different domains.

Core Banking in the Embedded Finance Age

In the shift to embedded finance, one big thing is the opening up of opportunity for things like super apps and multi-purpose wallets.

Remote Work Has Crossed the Chasm

Andrew Blain (4 min read)
On remote work, trust, and the work from anywhere future.

Mapping People Operations / Human Resource (HR)

Andrey Kulikov (10 min read)
Mapping people operations/Human Resource (HR) activities including how each HR-related component can evolve further.

Eco-System Gameplay: Microsoft & GitHub

Chris Adams (12 min read)
Reverse engineering Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub as an example of the Innovate, Leverage, Commoditize (ILC) gameplay.

Plotting a Path to a Greener Web

Chris Adams (15 min read)
Work for the Green Web Foundation on how to use open data and open source to help speed the transition to an internet running on renewable power, e.g. showing energy flow between components in a map of digital services.

The Cloud Battle

Chris Adams (7 min read)
Reverse engineering the cloud battle — Amazon vs OpenStack and OpenCloud — illustrating different game plays, e.g. using openness to attack a choke point.


Chris Daniel (Krzysztof Daniel) (1 min read)
A battery supply chain as a Wardley Map.

Evernote, Notion, Roam and Todoist

Chris Daniel (Krzysztof Daniel)
I’d rather see Todoist and Evernote merge instead of competing. Essentially, Evernote is a digital archive. People built all sorts of solutions on the top of that. Roam andNotion try to industrialise two very specific aspects of note taking (linking + analytics), but they lack the capture part.

Gameplay Examples

Chris Daniel (Krzysztof Daniel) (20 min read)
Basic Constraints: silicon industry specialisation vs generalisation.
Embrace&Extend: Sun vs Microsoft re: Java Virtual Machine.
Customer Isolation: Microsoft vs Amazon re: cloud using GitHub.
Threat Acquisition: Blockbuster and Netflix.
Signal Distortion: UBI Blockchain Internet, Google+, Samsung.
Vertical Movements: Tesco Beauty, Ford Innovation Center, Tesla.
Fighting with “Open”: Linux vs Windows, LibreOffice vs OpenOffice, RedHat.
Influencing Your Customers: Blackberry, NJU Mobile, MediaMarkt & Saturn.

Telecom Operators

Chris Daniel (Krzysztof Daniel) (2 min read)
Telcos should be deemed a part of the national infrastructure, in the same way as roads, water supply or electricity supplies.

Context Specific Capability Assessments

Chris McDermott (7 min read)
”Maturity Mapping” is an innovative evolution of Wardley Mapping informed by Dave Snowden’s Cynefin that helps us move beyond traditional maturity models and instead make context specific assessments to guide future learning and improvements based on the needs of the team, the organization and the customers.

Saving Your Business with Wardley Maps

Cory Foy (39 min video)
A fictional case study based on real-world events in navigating strategic threats and situational awareness to create winning gameplays.

Wardley Mapping a Conference

David Anderson and Mark McCann (12 min read)

Understanding the Data Landscape and Its Evolution

Ergest Xheblati (9 min read)
Analysis of data, usage and evolution.

The Art of Leadership

Erik Schön (5 min read)
Visualising Lao Tzu’s eternal wisdom for sustainable successful leadership in turbulent times.

Platform Gameplay: Amazon’s Game Engine

Howard Rees (4 min read)
Reverse engineering Amazon’s cloud-hosted game engine (Lumberyard) looking at the parallels to Amazon’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (Iaas) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) gameplays in cloud computing and big data platforms.

Mapping Immersive Experiences at BBC

Jacob Clark (11 min read)
Transforming the BBC’s way of building and delivering educational apps and games including an exemplary use of maps at work to understand where each of the components required to ship the apps sit in terms of the maturity against the value they deliver.

Mapping Data Flow

James Urquhart
Real-time business automation, or, stream processing in a business setting, e.g. using Kafka and RabbitMQ.

  1. The basic architecture of data flow (5 min)
  2. The data flow value chain (7 min)
  3. A simple Wardley Map of data flow (7 min)
  4. Adding context to the Wardley Map of data flow (7 min)
  5. Applying doctrine to data flow (8 min)
  6. Gameplay for data flow (8 min)

What in the World is World-Class Engineering?

J. D. Carlston (9 min read)
How to visualise “world-classiness” and the attributes world-class engineers, teams, and organisations have.

Building New Capabilities in Google’s Environment

Joaquín Peña Fernández (joapen) (5 min read)

A Review of the Alphabet Company

Joaquín Peña Fernández (joapen) (5 min read)

A Wardley Map of the Company NVIDIA in 2020

Joaquín Peña Fernández (joapen) (4 min read)
Analysis of Nvidia and the semiconductor ecosystem across the three zones:
peace (growth in data centres), war (commoditized chips used for general purpose computing and graphics) and wonder (innovation to meet needs like massive computation required for AI).

Equation of Innovation for a Software Product (B2C)

Joaquín Peña Fernández (joapen) (5 min read)
Visualising how innovation and learning can work in a software organization developing a product for a large number of users.

Evolution of a Professional Basketball Franchise

Joaquín Peña Fernández (joapen) (7 min read)
The evolution of a franchise depends on the evolution of its components: culture, organization structure, team and players.

How Facebook is Trying to Become a Metaverse Company

Joaquín Peña Fernández (joapen) (11 min read)
Reviewing how Facebook is trying to create a new tower of revenue using augmented reality, virtual reality and the creation of different use cases for the users.

Potential Gameplays for Twitter

Joaquín Peña Fernández (joapen) (2 min read)

Reviewing the evolution of Neeva Search Engine

Joaquín Peña Fernández (joapen) (5 min read)

The World of Video Games

Joaquín Peña Fernández (joapen) (11 min read)
The video games industry from the beginning to the future.

Zalando, a Wardley Map About How They Play the Game

Joaquín Peña Fernández (joapen) (5 min read)
Zalando continues evolving and gaining a presence in the online retail business in Europe.

Mapping Methods and Context

John Cutler (1 min read)
The challenge is viewing the practice (OKRs in this example) in the broader context. When people say “oh let’s do X” they often leave out the bigger picture.

Marketing and …

John Cutler (1 min read)
How Wardley Mapping is helpful because it lets you explore the interplay of “functional” skills (like content writing, storytelling) … and then domain expertise, customer access, and research. And how it adds a different perspective to a flat list of capabilities.

Amazon Outmaneuvering Competition in the Cloud

John Duffy (5 min read)
Amazon isn’t just big, they can out-think you too. Wardley Maps are one of their tools. Our friends made a Facial Recognition (FR) system specifically for Fraud Detection on AWS …

How To Not Sabotage Your Transformation

Jonathan Allen (10 min read)
Advice from a key player in Amazon Web Services (AWS) on reaching cloud velocity using Wardley Maps.

Turning Around IBM, Part 1

Julius Gamanyi (10 min read)
Reverse engineering Gerstner’s turnaround of IBM in the 90s by looping through the Strategy Cycle illustrating how initiatives change doctrine.

Turning Around IBM, Part 2

Julius Gamanyi (10 min read)
Reverse engineering Gerstner’s turnaround of IBM in the 90s by looping through the Strategy Cycle illustrating how initiatives change doctrine.

Turning Around IBM, Part 3

Julius Gamanyi (10 min read)
Reverse engineering Gerstner’s turnaround of IBM in the 90s by looping through the Strategy Cycle illustrating how initiatives change doctrine.

Reverse Engineering AirBnB’s Strategy

Malcolm Silberman (14 min read)
Including an in-depth visual analysis of potential gameplays available to AirBnB.

Mapping the Porn Industry

Mark Craddock

Healthcare Information Technology Strategy

Mark Wardle (9 min read)
How can we make best use of technology to support healthcare?

Behaviour Change

michaelhaber (1 min read)

Sustainable Aviation

Paul Comis

Visualizing the Work of a Software Delivery Lead

Peter Pito

Your CV as a Wardley Map

Philippe Guenet (1 min read)

Leading an Organization

Simon Wardley (swardley) (15 min read)
Experiences in how to lead an organization using situational awareness through mapping including a phased approach to doctrine.

Leveraging Diverse Expertise

Simon Wardley (swardley) (6 min read)
Working with different characteristics of evolution and showing how experts (both generalists and specialists) from different fields can share and communicate with each other preventive healthcare through the use of maps and thereby improve the maps.

Building a Business From a Great Idea Using AWS Lambda Services

Simon Wardley (swardley) (10 min read)
A future scenario of how we build a business in order to explore the future potential of AWS Lambda services.

Serverless Development

Slobodan Stojanović (7 min read)
A tale of Amazon Web Services (AWS) Lambda development showing what problem serverless development solves — illustrated by maps.

Evolution of Battery Tech and Its Impacts on Robotics

Steve Purkis

Barriers To Be Aware of in Strategy Creation

“The Strategy Club”

Traditional Life Industry

Tim Vieyra

Evolution of Architectural Components in Software Systems

Tom Asel (26 min video)

Please let me know your favorite Wardley Mapping example and I will include it!

The Art of Strategy: All Parts

Contents: A very short summary of each part
Introduction: What is strategy and why do you need it?

  1. Assessments: How to assess, prepare and shape
  2. Challenges: How to use and reduce inertia, entropy and friction
  3. Success: How to succeed together with stakeholders
  4. Setup: How to create resilience
  5. Momentum: How to use creativity, focus and timing
  6. Shaping: How to shape and avoid being shaped
  7. Engagement: How to engage using surprise
  8. Adaptations: How to adapt to shifting situations
  9. Movements: How to move to optimize momentum
  10. Landscape: How to approach difficult areas
  11. Situations: How to handle difficult situations
  12. Disruption: How to disrupt and avoid being disrupted
  13. Intelligence: How to use intelligence to create foreknowledge

Annex: Wardley Mapping Examples
Glossary: Explanation of key terms and symbols
Acknowledgements: Standing on the shoulders of giants
Sources: Where to learn more
Other reading and viewing formats

This is provided as Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International by the author, Erik Schön.

Wardley Mapping is provided courtesy of Simon Wardley (swardley) and licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International.