Our mission is to help teams perform better, through metaphors

Metaphor Mapping tools are the primary way the Metaphor Language Research Center LLC (MLRC) aims to accomplish its mission.

The roots of the MLRC date to 1987 in Geneva, Switzerland, where it started as the Visual Language Research Center with a consulting arm Newbase International, LLC. The MLRC is currently based in Boulder, Colorado, USA.

The main idea behind metaphor languages is that adding visual symbols to words encourages takes more of the burden of communication onto the originator, promotes open discussion and clear understanding. Metaphor map-building helps groups see a process in its overall context, build awareness of others’ views, spot opportunities and generate consensus for change strategies.

Symbols and metaphors help groups generate breakthrough ideas the same way they helped Einstein. Mapping insures systems thinking discipline but, the colorful stickers make difficult work seem like fun.

The conceptual foundation of metaphor languages and example applications are documented in REINVENTING COMMUNICATION – A Guide to Using Visual Language for Planning, Problem-Solving and Re-engineering, published in 1994 by ASQC Quality Press. The success of metaphor languages was featured in Entrepreneur Magazine.

The goals of the Metaphor Language Research Center are to:

  • Help individuals improve their perception, thinking, creativity and problem solving
  • Help consultants and facilitators grow their businesses by applying our tools or adapting them to fit with their existing offerings
  • Build a community that raises the art and value of visual metaphor languages
  • Expand into new languages, new applications and new geographies

The Research Center logo


The Center chose a logo consistent with its mission.  Geese flying in a wedge formation gives many aerodynamic benefits to all the group members except for the leader.  Each flies in the upwash from the wings of the bird ahead reducing drag by up to 65% and increasing range by 70%.  The birds rotate equally through the fatiguing role of leading.    Metaphor Mapping aims to align teams in an optimal way and help them achieve benefits similar to these astounding levels.

More detail about the benefits of flying in a “V” or wedge from wikipedia