Tool: Culture Mapping



With the software development team of a technology company, we conducted a story sourcing with peers from the corporate environment as well as internal and external customers as part of a culture transformation project. In addition, more than 200 employees were involved in story sourcing as part of a virtual meeting. The stories that emerged were structured on a virtual whiteboard in order to develop both development principles for successful collaboration and a connectable narrative to describe the future potential of the organization as part of a management workshop.

What matters (Principles)

  • In the process of culture mapping, it is important to recognize the patterns that emerge from the multitude of stories collected. What is the common thread that emerges? This is achieved by briefly summarizing the stories in statements or metaphors in order to assign them to one of the four quadrants on the whiteboard.
  • For the mapping it is important to adopt an appreciative attitude and to refrain from any judgment. For this reason, it is advisable to involve a neutral facilitator who is trained in social-emotional development work.
  • In the process of mapping, it is important to look at the collected stories from multiple perspectives, such as:
    • What past experiences are useful and helpful for further development?
    • Which future potentials can be identified and are connectable?
    • Which metaphors are suitable as principles that enable further development?
    • Which down-to-earth experiences continue the founding story of the organization and should be further strengthened?


Step by step

  1. Listen into the recorded stories from the story sourcing process and create transcripts of key passages.
  2. Transcribe the recordings into coherent text passages that contain metaphors or other linguistic stylistic devices.
  3. Collect these text passages on a board as a team and attempt to make an initial classification by developmental stage.
  4. Group the stories on the board, looking at them quadrant by quadrant in isolation.
  5. Group the stories on the left half of the quadrants into a future narrative. The key question is: Which stories are important to move to the next stage of development – and what does the future look like there?
  6. On the right side of the board, find stories that point to success principles that are important for further development. Proceed similarly to the left half and focus on stories that point the way to the future.
  7. Summarize both – the future narrative and the development principles – and resonate with your stakeholders via interactive communication formats!


Important aids


Duration 3-5 hours (plus time to prepare stories).
Formatvirtually virtual (e.g. video conference accompanied by virtual whiteboard) or face-to-face workshop
Participants approxManagement team (with subsequent involvement of the overall organization and/or customers)