Brain gave me a clear and succinct answer, so I thought I'd post it here:
Applied concept mapping is the application of concept mapping to problem solving in the workplace. Concept mapping is a theoretically and scientifically grounded diagrammatic method of knowledge representation developed by Joseph D. Novak in the 1970s and originally intended for educational purposes. In the past couple of decades, concept mapping has been applied to a myriad of knowledge problems in the workplace, many of which are covered in our book.
While there are many approaches to “mapping intellectual landscapes," “idea mapping,” and “visual thinking,” applied concept mapping is distinct in many ways. Few if any, are grounded in as extensive a theoretical and scientific base as concept mapping. None require the level of specificity that is the hallmark of an effective concept map. Indeed, concept maps require not only the articulation of key concepts, but the specification of the nature of the relationship between them. This specification, as well as the semi-hierarchical shape of the map and the extensive use of ‘cross-links’ that emerge as otherwise disparate concepts are connected, distinguishes concept mapping from other approaches to knowledge diagramming.
When created in the CmapTools knowledge modeling software kit, concept maps can be put to a vast array of uses: knowledge elicitation, transfer, and management; lexicon and ontology development; modeling; training and organizational learning; product, software, cognitive systems, and organizational design and engineering; stakeholder engagement; analysis; and distributed planning. This flexibility in application is a major differentiator – innovations in application spring readily from the basic notion of representing key concepts and specifying their relationships.
Has any reader of this blog ever used concept maps as a problem-solving tool? Did they effectively help improve the process?