At Experience Integral’s Embody Integral Sustainability Conference convenor Anouk Brack very wisely used a Theory U design for the five day discovery process.
Theory U process is based on the work of Otto Scharmer and is a multi-stage experience that enables a group to traverse the territory from initiation, to sensing, to presencing, to crystallizing to prototyping. and co-creating. I find the pattern to be very compatible (if not in the same family) of processes created by M. Scott Peck for the stages of community development, or David Isaacs’ stages of Dialogue or Martin Weisbord’s productive workplaces and even Clare Graves’ Change Model as described in Spiral Dynamics.
Building on the Theory U process we were tasked with creating a Meshwork with Purpose, People, Priorities and Place/Planet.
Purpose: Over the course of our five days we found that Purpose emerged as a superordinate goal (building on the lessons of Dr. Don Beck) that we described as ” Living as Though We Plan on Staying”. Under this goal we discovered that all 20 people had plans that could be captured on a Business Canvas.
People: We found that the wisdom energies we practised from Irini Rockwell’s Five Wisdoms gave us a picture of how our skills and capacities could be combined.
Priorities: With Barrett Brown’s new research on Sustainability Leaders, we were able to self-assess and create a group assessment of key leadership capacities and where we needed to focus our learning. We found that most attention was needed for: Integral Models, Systems Thinking, Complexity and Polarity Management.
Place/Planet: With a reminder from the opening lectures on the Big Picture of Sustainability, that Planet Gaia is our home, we came to respect Venwoude as the place where we were holding our inquiry as the proxy for Gaia herself. Thus we gladly committed to leaving Venwoude better than we had found her when we arrived.
Serendipitously when we finished our Meshwork we found that we had lived out the Master Rule (which may be related to what Don Beck calls the Master Code?) and Master Intelligences of Integral City. We Took Care of:
- Each Other
- This Place