ZIP-Analysis: Zoom-Innovation-Potential

ZIP-analysis is a simple method for developing gigamaps and finding potential areas for interventions, innovations and ideas. ZIP stands for zoom, innovation (idea, intervention, innovation) and potential (problem or ‘painpoint’).

The ZIP-analysis maps below provide examples of the method in practice.


A ZIP analysis is conducted by marking the gigamap with ZIP points. ZIP points are zoom areas, problems and potentials or ideas that stand out on the map. To add ZIP points, search the map systematically and mark the points. You can mark the points while developing the map or separately by analysing sessions where you investigate the map to search for these points.

Other points can be used, for example, risk points or leverage points or points where a systems intervention would have a greater impact on the whole system.

Intersection points are where several systems intersect. They are like touchpoints between systems.

Use the ZIP and any additional analysing points in your gigamapping to start a generative process and ultimately find innovation in the map that is truly rooted in the system.


Z:  Zoom is used to mark areas or points on your map that need more research. It is a reminder for you that you lack information, and it is an initiator to make additional maps by zooming into this area.

P:  The P stands for potential, problem, problematic or pain point. If there is an obvious problem, this is a potential for improvement. If you spot a potential problem but you don’t know what to do with it, this would be a P-point.

A P-point does not need to be a problem. There could be big potential in things that work very well. One could also use the P as inspiration to improve things that do not work so well. Also, you can think of the P-points as potential actors, for example, in the sense of ‘enablers’ and ‘blockers’. Also, think of them as leverage points. As described by Donella Meadows [.1].

I: I stands for innovation, intervention and idea. If you find something new you can do, find a solution to a problem or link things in a new way by creating new relations, these are I-points. Interventions are not changing the system structurally; they are more about tweaking the system, for example, removing bottlenecks.

How to work with the ZIP points

Mark the points on the map with the letters Z, I or P and with numbers to identify them.

First, make lists of the points and provide each with short descriptions. Then, you can make separate maps of the points if needed. The lists and maps help you decide which ZIP points you want to prioritise and work with.


Identify the Z-points on the map. To develop a zoom point further, make a separate map with a very high level of detail. Often, you need to use additional sources, such as the Internet, library or subject matter experts.

See example below: Zoom map that explores technical and human-machine interactions and interfaces. (Stig M. Henriksen et. al. NTNU 2016)


To find points of intervention, search for leverage points. These are points in the system where minor changes will have a great impact.


Identify the P-points or fields. To develop a potential or understand a problem, make separate maps and consult with stakeholders influenced by the problem. Back-check the problem or potential to the system. Investigate singular problems and potentials regarding how they are related to other problems and potentials. Develop the P maps by making them more problematic or fields of interrelated problems or potentials.

The concept of ZIP was first published on this website in 2011.

I-point checklist

  • Find resolutions to P-points.
  • Find or create new relations.
  • Look between the objects, and be relation focussed.
  • See if you can combine elements in the map in new ways.
  • Check for synergies.
  • Back-check with the whole system to foresee and avoid unwanted and negative effects.

Gigamap with ZIP points in yellow. Lucie Pavlistikova, Martin Malek, Mirka Baklikova, Mariia Borisova, Georgia Papasozomenou, 2016.

Dyrkelaget project in collaboration with Semcon.

An example of a zoom map is one that explores technical and human-machine interactions and interfaces. Stig M. Henriksen et. al. NTNU 2016.

Developed Zoom maps, problem maps and Idea maps. Lucie Pavlistikova, Martin Malek, Mirka Baklikova, Mariia Borisova, Georgia Papasozomenou, 2016.

Zoom map

Investigation of a P-point. Markus Gundersen, NTNU 2016.

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