Discovering Business Level Concept Models

The Exploration stage follows the principles from Design Thinking. The "explorer" (modeler) works on the conceptual level, mapping his/her findings using concept maps as new concepts are discovered. The knowledge is elicited from business people by way of brainstorming (typically as a top-down analysis) and/or by bottom-up "archeology" working from legacy databases, documentation, reports etc.
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The end result is a concept model, and in order to get to that, the modeler must:
  1. Map (that is the exploration part)
  2. Understand (including getting good ideas from information obtained)
  3. Design (scope, generalize and document) the concept model
Data modeling is very much about communication of structure and meaning. Our target audiences are both business and IT professionals at many different skill levels. In perfect harmony with what is going on in other professional cultures (e.g. behavioral economy) we should also use the findings and recommendations of psychologists and cognitive scientists in adapting our ways to the human conditions.
Thomas Frisendal

Draw Concept Models using CmapTools from IHMC

Some of the concept maps on this site are drawn with the product CmapTools. It is available from the website Institute of Human & Machine Cognition. Please note that the basic IHMC CmapTools software is free for educational institutions and US Federal Government Agencies, and at this time, the software is being offered free as a beta test version to other users, including commercial users.
Alberto Cañas and the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition have posted this information on their web site. There is no charge for this work:

Joe Novak, who with his research group invented concept mapping while at Cornell University, has written his autobiography "A Search to Create a Science of Education: The Life of an Ivy League Professor, Business Consultant, and Research Scientist”.

It is available for free at in pdf and epub formats.
You may follow the sequence or explore the site as you wish:

You could also take a look at the book about Business Concept Mapping:

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Since it was published in 2012 the book above has had more than 50K chapter downloads in research libraries all over the world. This makes it part of top 25% in its category!
The book on Graph Data Modeling gives quick guidance on how to get started with business concept modeling:
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