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03 Mar

The struktör's eight tools

Datum: 2010-03-03 10:27

To be a struk­tör” is very much about visu­al­iz­ing; to clar­i­fy what at first sight might be expe­ri­enced as messy. By struc­tur­ing and visu­al­iz­ing you make it all appre­hen­si­ble and tan­gi­ble. Then it will be easy to see what is big and what is small (it can be prob­lems, oppor­tu­ni­ties or some­thing else), what’s impor­tant and what is not so impor­tant, what the next nat­ur­al step will be et c.

This type of work is a lot eas­i­er if you have well adapt­ed tools, tools which you are com­fort­able with and enjoy work­ing with. The struktör’s eight tools are:

Notepa­per for dif­fer­ent tastes

I def­i­nite­ly pre­fer Matton’s yel­low AD note pad, which con­tains unlined, slight­ly coat­ed (i.e. glossy) sheets of paper. On these papers the pen slides per­fect­ly and if I use mark­ers or felt-tip pens, they don’t bleed through the paper.

A new­com­er to the world of note pads are the White­lines pads, that I real­ly can recommend.

Usu­al­ly, I use this pad in land­scape for­mat, placed on the table, and I let the struc­ture emerge spon­ta­neous­ly onto the paper, guid­ed by what­ev­er comes to mind. I group the nota­tions by top­ic and prefer­ably link them togeth­er with arrows and lines. I write the to-do-tasks which come to mind in the mean­time, in brack­ets. That makes it easy for me to skim through the notes after the meet­ing and gath­er the to-do tasks and com­pile them into my system.


Most impor­tant is a black ball point pen with fine point­ed tip, prefer­ably Pilot G‑TEC-C4 which has 0.4 mm thick tip. The black ink con­trasts nice­ly against the bright, white sheet and the script nev­er smears, not on any paper.


Three mark­ers or felt-tip pens in dif­fer­ent col­ors, to draw time­lines, con­nec­tion lines, bound­aries, titles, head­lines and sym­bol­ic words with. I real­ly like the Japan­ese Cop­ic Mark­er pens with two tips, a fine tip at one end and broad tip at the other.

White­board markers

I always car­ry a set of white­board mark­ers in four col­ors with me. Often, the pens in the con­fer­ence room where I will work are so dry or worn out that it is dif­fi­cult to see what is writ­ten on the board.

All too many times have the dodgy mark­ers reduced dynam­ics at a crit­i­cal stage in a work­shop. If I bring my own, I know that they’ll write well.

Mind map tools

With a mind map pro­gram on your com­put­er, it is easy to cre­ate a struc­ture which can also be dynam­ic, which means that you can min­i­mize or hide the parts that you do not want to see at the moment.

I can real­ly rec­om­mend Mind­Man­ag­er from Mind­jet, but I know there’s at least a cou­ple of free alter­na­tives that works just fine (e. g. Xmind).

Process Draw­ing Software

A struk­tör is often in need of a pro­gram to draw clear process­es and pro­ce­dures eas­i­ly. I use Microsoft Visio for these tasks, which allows me to quick­ly and eas­i­ly draw up coher­ent process­es, prefer­ably with pic­tures and sym­bols to make them eas­i­er to comprehend.

I’m quite unortho­dox when it comes to deal­ing with process maps. The most impor­tant thing for me is that they are appre­hen­si­ble for the receiv­er, not that they meet the standards.

A con­vic­tion that every­thing can be made easier

The fun­da­men­tal atti­tude and belief that every­thing can be done more eas­i­ly will get you a long way. Too often I feel that things are made more com­pli­cat­ed than what is nec­es­sary, often due to that you’re tak­ing too many pre­cau­tions for all even­tu­al­i­ties with­out real­ly think­ing about what actu­al threats you’re up against. Per­haps there is, some­where, some­thing that can’t be made eas­i­er, but you’ll be right at least 9 out of 10 times, and that’ll be worth it, don’t you think.

A pos­i­tive, affir­ma­tive attitude

With a pos­i­tive atti­tude, you’re well equipped to deal with com­plex, unstruc­tured prob­lems. You’ll occa­sion­al­ly find that you don’t know how to bone out a huge mess, but if you stay con­vinced and con­fi­dent that you’re going to find clar­i­ty, you’ll also find clar­i­ty a lot more times than if you approach prob­lems with a voice that tells you that this will nev­er work” grind­ing in the back of your mind.

Then it may turn out that the clar­i­ty or insight in the end leads to a dif­fer­ent solu­tion than you orig­i­nal­ly had in mind, and then you’ll real­ly have great use of using your affir­ma­tive atti­tude. We shouldn’t think that we’re in full con­trol of how every­thing is going to turn out. Often it turns out to be bet­ter than what we had in mind in the first place, just a lit­tle different.

Those were some tan­gi­ble and some abstract tools that every struk­tör needs.

What do you use?

Which are your favorite tools that are essen­tial for you to do your work? 

Leave a com­ment below.