May 18, 2009
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Tinderbox and the Flu

My question about legal applications of Tinderbox garnered all sorts of interesting mail, from Vancouver the north woods of British Columbia to Kathmandu. Everything from teaching police officers to be better witnesses to mapping lines of influence in the Afghan resistance to the Soviet Union.

Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Fionnbar Lenihan writes from Edinburgh that he found Tinderbox "good for doing some quick pandemic flu planning." He’s the pandemic czar at his facility; closed communities like prisons are particularly worrisome for managing disease outbreaks.

Once I had sketched out some ideas on a map, I was able to print off a view and use that for discussions with other people.

This is an example of a “disposable Tinderbox” – a Tinderbox project that’s intended as a sketch or study rather than a long, ongoing project. Tinderbox serves its role in the early stages, where its flexibility and responsiveness help capture ideas without premature commitment to an organization or framework or conclusion. It’s easy, for example, to accommodate information in Tinderbox that “doesn’t seem to fit”, or ideas that might not fit with the expected result. Later, you can pick up and move to Keynote or InDesign or whatever you want to use for production; Tinderbox now serves as a storehouse of information from which you can draw.