Boosting insights impact: Unlock business growth through fractal journey mapping

Customer and user journeys have traditionally been limited to digital solutions and – to some extent – their surrounding channels. However, this article presents the concept of “fractal journey mapping”, a transformative approach that enables organizations to employ multiple journey maps to uncover cross-functional insights, challenges, pains, and opportunities. This holistic approach reveals how insights across the organization can impact each other on operational as well as strategic levels.

Katrine Ly
—UX and Insights Manager

What are customer and user journeys exactly?

If you’re not familiar with customer and user journeys they generally show the stages of the journey someone goes through when encountering and interacting with different parts of an organization. 

Journeys can roughly be thought of as a timeline (or matrix) with stages of interaction (i.e. awareness, explore, react, engage...) on one axis and insights derived from collected and analyzed data on the other (i.e. challenges, pains, opportunities…) See illustration below. 

User journeys exclusively focus on a product or service, while customer journeys holistically reflect the multichannel experience before- and after.

See detailed example

Using journey maps to drive evidence-based decision-making

Decision-making should be based on knowledge and data rather than opinions. Fortunately, many companies today are driven by insights; however, turning insights into action can be challenging.

This is where, in my view, journey maps showcase their most valuable attributes. Journey maps serve as an ideal tool for managing and “weaponizing” insights effectively. When evidence-based insights are incorporated into journey maps and properly tagged, they can easily be allocated to the right people at the right time, facilitating evidence-based decision-making. Moreover – as an added bonus – journey maps connect insights to specific recommendations for improvement, enabling relevant stakeholders to more easily start planning and executing.

User journeys exclusively focus on a product or service, while customer journeys holistically reflect the multichannel experience before- and after.

Introducing “Fractal journey mapping”

While customer journeys provide a rather holistic overview, their framework has the potential to expand beyond customer relations and be applied across multiple business areas. By adopting the concept of fractal journey mapping, organizations can gather and centralize multiple journeys in one place, unveiling cross-functional insights.

The concept of fractal journey mapping essentially implies that there can be a journey within a journey, within a journey, within a journey across micro and macro levels in an organization, see illustration below.

Each journey level presents insights throughout relevant stages, such as awareness to engagement, valuable for examining and improving internal as well as external processes and experiences. The top-most level (macro level) provides a bird’s-eye view of all journeys and key insights from the perspective of top leadership such as Board of directors, CEOs and Executive management teams, whereas the most specific level (micro level) provides an overview of detailed flows and tasks relevant to tactic management and specialists such as Product managers, UI designers and Engineers.

The fractal perspective would allow relevant stakeholders to examine multiple parallel journey maps within each other, adding a new perspective, both at macro and micro levels. Cross-functional insights in an organization, i.e. opportunities and challenges stretching across several journey maps, can help to form a new foundation for decision making.

The concept of adapting fractal journey mapping may seem overwhelming, but it isn’t necessary to tackle all levels simultaneously. A business case often starts with a single, very limited journey map, that reveals insights and exposes the need to map other journeys within the organization. This ultimately leads to a full transversal understanding of the organization at a given time, the “fractal perspective”.

Effectively implementing and managing fractal journey mapping generally involves four key components:

  1. Available knowledge and data: The scope of journeys is limited by the available knowledge and data in the organization. While hypothetical journeys can be developed, they should eventually be validated through research to reflect reality.
  2. Appropriate professional skills: Proper creation and management of journeys necessitate specialized skills within journey mapping, such as CX/UX researcher or service designer.
  3. Suitable management tools: Having or building a centralized platform for knowledge, data, and insights (e.i. Dovetail, AirTable,, Notion) is essential, along with tools to create and manage multiple journeys (e.i. Figma, TheyDo, UXpressia).
  4. Internal anchoring: Ensuring relevant stakeholders feel or assume ownership of the developed insights and journeys is crucial for establishing internal anchoring across macro and micro levels.

To sum up, this article introduces the idea of expanding user and customer journeys to embrace more business areas using a fractal perspective on journey mapping. This approach enables organizations to centralize multiple journeys and cross-functional insights, amplifying their insights-driven capabilities. Fractal journey mapping offers a comprehensive, multi-layered perspective, delivering valuable information to the right people at the right time. This ultimately leads to a more in-depth understanding of the organization and supports well-informed decision-making at all levels.

Katrine Ly
UX and Insights Manager

TheyDo: The collaborative patient journey mapping tool (Case), 2023

David Tang: Why your research insights aren’t making an impact, 2023

Massùod Hemmat: “Beyond ChatGPT’s Data: Navigating the Journey from Information to Creativity, 2023

Kritika Oberoi: Google researchers’ tips on Research Repositories, 2023

David Zimmerman, “Getting more value out of your insights”, 2023

Ogilvy: Customer Journey Maps vs. User Journeys, 2022

Spotify: Amplifying Research Impact, 2021

Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg: “What's Your Problem? - To Solve Your Toughest Problems, Change the Problems You Solve”, 2020

Ogilvy: “Incorporating Customer and User Experience Data into Holistic Journey Maps”, 2016