Southbeach Modeller

Improve Everything Always


Click on a section heading for answers.

How is Southbeach different to mind map software?

Mind mapping tools arrange ideas or 'thoughts' in a hierarchy, outwards from a central concept. A Southbeach model can be arranged to look like a mind map, but the software is not limited to this. Southbeach models are graphs, with connecting effects between any two elements. In this sense, a Southbeach model is more similar to a concept map than it is to a mind map.

Mind maps use colour to distinguish different kinds of ideas, but there is no commonly agreed convention. By contrast, Southbeach Modeller uses the Southbeach Notation. It provides consistent conventions for useful and harmful elements, goals and risks, actors, issues, actions, choices, knowledge, insufficiency and many others. This allows our software to generate directions for ideation from any model.

How are Southbeach models different to concept maps?

There are many different concept mapping tools on the market, with little in common between them. By contrast, Southbeach uses consistent visual conventions. For example, a useful element is always green, signifying something you want more of. A harmful element (red) is something you want less of. By understanding the increasing and decreasing influences between elements of a model, Southbeach can generate directions for problem solving and innovation from any model. The output generated by our software points to needed improvements in a design, system or situation.

Why do you claim that Southbeach Modeller is unique?

Southbeach Modeller is the first implementation of Southbeach Notation. The software contains an embedded rules engine. Users can extend the software by writing their own rule sets. We call these creativity scripts. The rules are written in a simple domain-independent language called MyCreativity. Any rule set can then be applied to any model.

As users click around a model, information from the model is combined with the user-supplied rules (sentences, paragraphs or even entire reports), generating new content. Patterns of objects and tags in the model match patterns in the rules. By combining model content and user supplied creative knowledge, Southbeach can be 'programmed' to support many analytical and problem solving methods.

Can I use Southbeach to model business processes?

Southbeach is not a business process modelling tool but it is used by process change specialists. Southbeach is independent of what is being modelled. Southbeach can model products, processes, systems, architectures, organizations, even abstract ideas. Process designers can therefore use Southbeach to model a business process to uncover ideas for improvement and transformation.

Southbeach models are called 'situational' models. A 'situtation' is the state of something that needs to be improved, solved or changed.

Could I get by using a drawing package such as Visio?

There are many excellent drawing packages on the market. These rich tools are oriented to the final production of a business or engineering diagram, with control over style at every level. By contrast, Southbeach is oriented towards analysis and working quickly, alone or in a workshop. It focusses only on modelling, problem solving, innovation and idea generation.

You could draw Southbeach models using a tool like Visio, but it would take time. You would set up a palette of Visio objects, red and green boxes, other shapes, etc., and you would draw arrows between them. It would, however, be hard to draw all the features of Southbeach Notation using a drawing tool. And once drawn, how easy would it be to modify the model, for example, to change a goal to a risk, to change an increasing effect to a decreasing effect? Would those changes automatically ripple through your analysis? No.

Drawing tools are not designed for workshops. Southbeach has been designed for fast and effective modelling in group and workshop settings. We have benchmarked Southbeach against typical drawing tools. It is typically 10 to 30 times faster to create a model in Southbeach than in a package such as Visio. The notation is built in; ready to go. Southbeach is a tool for active consulting with colleagues and clients. It models situations quickly and with fluidity. It directly manipulates the Southbeach objects, their meaning and connections. It allows for models to be viewed and manipulated as lists as well as graphically. Models can be easily navigated.

Perhaps the most important reason for using Southbeach over a drawing package is that a diagram is just that, a static picture. Tools such as Visio have no idea generation or reporting engine. Southbeach has a built in creativity and reporting engine that understands the notation. It is built for design and analysis, not free drawing.

I'm working in a team. Can I give Southbeach to my colleagues and clients?

There are discounts for teams and volume licensing. Please visit our shop.

If you need to purchase a larger number of licenses or a site license please write to

Would an Enterprise Architect find Southbeach useful?

Yes. In the same way that Southbeach can be used to to model a process or service, it can be used to model the useful and harmful aspects of an enterprise architecture. Southbeach does not claim to be substitute for a professional enterprise architecture modelling tool, but it is rich enough to be useful in modelling those aspects of an architecture which drive improvement and transformation.

Southbeach provides an extensive and user-extensible tag library. This enables users to enrich the Southbeach Notation for any domain. For example, tags could be used to implement ITIL and TOGAF conventions. Rule sets developed can refer to the tags, opening the path to the development of industry solution templates.

Are there training courses for Southbeach?

The tool requires little training. However, there is a rich training opportunity in applying Southbeach to specific methods, e.g. Root Cause Analysis, Situational Improvement, Problem Solving, TRIZ.

If you wish to run a training course, or get involved in the delivery of Southbeach training, contact us.

Are you developing a version for the Apple platform?

There is currently no plan to develop a native OSX or iOS version. However, many of our customers run Southbeach on their Apple Mac desktop or Macbook Pro by using Parallels Desktop for Mac or VMWare Fusion. Models (.sbm files) are portable.

Why the strange name?

The early ideas for Southbeach Notation were drawn in the sand on South Beach, Miami, Florida, June 2005. The name was memorable and seemed to stick.

What does the future hold? Can I make suggestions?

Southbeach v4, a new upgrade, is due for release in Q2, 2023. Your feedback drives our development plan. We welcome your ideas and requirements. Register your software to be kept up to date. Click on the Feedback icon in the tool or write to

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