December 11, 2009
MarkBernstein.org
 

Tinderbox 5: Smart Adornments

Tinderbox 5: Smart Adornments

I was mostly kidding when I wrote about PA Consulting’s planning chart for the Afghan counter-insurgency effort,

These guys need Tinderbox!
Tinderbox 5: Smart Adornments

But Mark Anderson took up the challenge. It’s a tough challenge, because the chart isn’t all that good: the big labels, for example, obscure some items that happen to lie beneath them. But if you really wanted to study, annotate, and revise a complex graph like this, Tinderbox might let you use it for things besides pretty pictures.

Anderson’s first step was simply to get all these notes into the system and get them in roughly the right place. Smart Adornments work well for this. The “Popular Support” adornment automatically gathers (and color codes) the pertinent items. The “Narcotics” adornment gathers its own items. This sort of automation lets you rough out complex data sets more quickly and more gracefully.

Tinderbox 5: Smart Adornments

At a later point, we can adjust the labels to make this look as a poster. But the point isn’t to make an impressive chart; the point is to promote understanding and, even more important, to get the details right. One can see how Tinderbox might actually help.