Taming wicked problems, planning projects, designing learning—try Compendium

UPDATED: Have a look at some more advanced Compendium maps.

Compendium, its stewards at The Compendium Institute say, “is a software tool providing a flexible visual interface for managing the connections between information and ideas.” Wicked problems, as I’ve written recently, contain social complexity, so solving them is a fundamentally social process requiring many people. Compendium software allows a person working alone, or people in a group, to bring together visually the diverse ideas, assertions, arguments, and resources that might contribute to the “taming” of a wicked problem. I’ve done some very preliminary playing with it and I’ve already found it’s highly versatile. I’m certain it can be used for solving even simple problems, or as a decision-making assistant, and I’m coming to believe it’s a good tool for planning a project or designing an experience—or both, in the form of a Project-Based Learning experience.

I’m still learning what the software can and can’t do, so if you happen to have used it please feel free to leave me a comment. I love the keyboard shortcuts that let you quickly add icons representing ideas etc., and draw relationships between them. You can add documents and link websites and export the entire “idea map” as a self-contained web site.

[At time of writing the summary of Compendium on Wikipedia doesn’t meet the latter’s citation standards, but I find its description of the software and its features to be accurate.]

I’ve added a great deal more to my map even since I did the video. I’m reaching a point where the tool is helping me connect ideas and leading to new ones. I need to know much more about using Compendium to collaborate over the Internet. But I can certainly say Compendium is a marvellous tool for thinking about thinking.


* The video link was updated to provide louder audio (moral: don’t mix at 3AM with people sleeping in the next room!)

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