BigPicture Example Series: Investment Decisions

In the BigPicture Example Series, we’ll show you different ways you can make BigPicture work for you.  You can check out all these example files with your copy of the BigPicture software, which you can download here. Get BigPicture today and start playing with these fun and informative example models. The possibilities are limitless.

The BigPicture map below illustrates the investment decisions a company must make over multiple time periods. The purpose of such a map is to help the decision maker understand the various aspects of the problem. These include the inputs to the problem (monetary values and other inputs), the decisions involved, any uncertainties, and important outputs. Each of these is represented by a topic (an object of some color and shape), and the topics are connected logically by arrows to show what affects what.

Screenshot 2015-09-15 15.55.58

 

Normally, problems like this one are represented, and solved numerically, by Excel tools and possibly add-ins such as Palisade’s Evolver optimization add-in. However, a map like the one shown here is useful as a preliminary step to a formal analysis. It lets decision makers see the important issues in the decision problem and how they are related.

By studying the map (and using the Topic Key at the top left), the elements of the problem should be fairly clear. However, if this isn’t enough, you can Play the slide show that accompanies the map. This shows how the analysis unfolds in steps, and text boxes explain each step in some detail.

Once you create the basic map with BigPicture’s tools, you can then use Excel’s Shape tools to reshape or recolor topics or connectors.

 

 

What’s New in BigPicture? Easily Move and Reconnect Topics

The BigPicture development team is always working to improve our software, which means regular updates.  Here’s a sample of what we’ve added to our latest deployment of BigPicture Beta on March 30, 2015:

Easily move and reconnect topics

Good news–our developers have added some functionality to make it easier to move topics and connections in non-auto generated maps.

If you hold the left-mouse button down on a topic for a bit, BigPicture will go into a mode that allows you to move the topic (and optionally, its children) and connect to a different topic. You’ll see the topic temporarily change color when it’s in this mode. Then, when moving topics around with the mouse down, the red square highlights the closest available connection point on other topics. When you release the mouse, it connects to that red square connection site.

You can move and reconnect more than one topic at a time:

Hold the <SHIFT> key down while clicking on the various topics that you would like to reconnect elsewhere. After you have all of the topics selected, hold the left-mouse button down on one of the selected topics and move/reconnect it as you would with just a single topic.

If you would like to move and reconnect a group of topics that is made up of a parent topic and corresponding children topics,  see this blog post.

Click here for a complete overview of BigPicture updates.

 

What’s New in BigPicture? More Flexibility in Connecting and Moving Topic Groups!

The BigPicture development team is always working to improve our software, which means regular updates.  Here’s a sample of what we’ve added to our latest deployment of BigPicture Beta on March 30, 2015:

Move and Reconnect Multiple Topics that are Connected to a Parent Topic

If you would like to move a group of topics that is made up of a Parent Topic and its Children Topics:

  • Simply depress the left mouse button on the Parent Topic for an extended amount of time and it will automatically include the children in the selection
  • BigPicture will go into a mode that allows you to move the topic and connect to a different topic. You’ll see the topic that you clicked on temporarily change color when it’s in this mode.
  • Move the topics around with the mouse down, notice that the the red square changes and highlights the closest available connection point on other topics.
  • Release the mouse to connect to the current red square connection site.

Alternatively, to expedite the amount of time it takes to have it automatically select the children topics, you can also hold the <SHIFT> key down and click on the Parent Topic to let BigPicture know you would like the Children Topics included in the move.

Note: <SHIFT> only matters when starting the move. Once the topic changes color you should release the <SHIFT> key.

Connect Multiple Topics to an Additional Parent Topic

Utilizing the above instructions for easily moving and reconnecting a topic(s) you can also opt to have the topics that you are moving connect to an additional parent topic by holding the <ALT> key down at the start of the move.

Pressing <ALT> maintains the existing connection while adding a new one at the red “hotspot” of your choice.

Note: <ALT> only matters when starting the move. Once the topic changes color you can release the <ALT> key.

Click here for a complete overview of BigPicture updates.