This blog continues to share the Findings from the research conducted in three Learning Lhabitats exploring the 4 Voices of the City in the United States, Canada and Europe in the last year. Today we compare the results that open wider understanding of the role of the Civic Manager Voice in the city, from Learning Lhabitats at the Integral Theory Conference 2013,Federation of Canadian Municipalities Sustainability Conference 2014 and Integral Europe Conference 2014. Civic Managers include the administrative institutions at City Hall, Education, Health Care, Justice, Emergency Response and other City Agencies. (Integral City has characterized them as the Resource Allocators of the Human Hive.)
AQAL Profiles of the Co-Researchers
In collecting this data, it is interesting to note the profile of the participants in each conference from an AQAL perspective. The Integral Theory Conference 2013, located in San Francisco, USA, attracted thinkers and theorists with a major interest and focus on integral points of view – a group that were heavily weighted in the Upper Left /Consciousness Quadrant of the Integral Model. At the same time, this group self-identified as being strongly biased in favour of Innovators and Business or Diversity Generators.
The Federation of Canadian Municipality Sustainability Conference 2014, located in Prince Edward Island, Canada, attracted Mayors, City Managers and Civic Leaders with an interest in sustainability and action orientation. So from an integral perspective this group were heavily weighted in the Upper Right/Action and Lower Right/Systems Quadrants of the Integral Model. This group by definition were Civic Managers or Resource Allocators.
Finally the Integral Europe Conference 2014, located in Budapest, Hungary, attracted a diversity of cultures and actors from across Europe (with smaller representation from other non-European nations) who were heavily weighted in the Lower Left/ Cultural Quadrant of the Integral Model. This group had a strong predisposition to be Inner Judges from Civil Society (with a strong showing from Business as well.)
These three groups give us an in interesting sampling of the I/We/It/Its perspectives on the Civic Manager in the Integral City. Figure 1 sets out the comparison of the 3 Groups for Civic Managers.
Qualities of the Voice of Civic Managers
Each Learning Lhabitat was asked to define the qualities of the Civic Manager Voice. This voice was driven by the value of structure in service to the bigger picture and finding out what is best for the community. Civic Managers were called “bridge builders between the unconnected”.
The voice of Civic Managers often triggered the next steps to a larger or spiritual consciousness.
This voice acted as connectors to the community and the resources required to build structures as well as allies with the Inner Judges of Civil Society. Acting as a hub or centre piece between Council, Citizens and Developers, Civic Managers can guide the Citizen Voice for collaboration on community interests.
Its bureaucratic systems can advocate toward long term visions (including sustainability) while using access to information to frame an objective view of issues that assists in staying on course.
Civic Managers can build consensus in an intelligent way, fearlessly delving into root causes of concerns, dispelling misconceptions and providing a synopsis of the issues to expedite workable solutions.
At their best, Civic Managers operate on a principle of majority [rules], but as professionals make sure they listen without pushing their own agenda.
As Resource Allocators it is the job of Civic Managers to innovate and introduce change and improvement, even supporting unpopular positions if that makes most sense. In doing so they must use systemic thinking, identifying the highest impact leverage points. At the same time they are called on to balance new approaches with the values of heritage.
It is the job of Civic Managers to act as responsible decision makers (and expenditure managers) to plan for short, mid and long term change, using processes (and motivating staff) that allow them to frame, deliver and maintain structures that work (implemented with considerations for justice and flexibility).
Civic Managers were seen as ensuring that the “wheels on the bus keep turning”, utilizing expertise and assets for measurable results.
While Civic Managers were viewed as positive Resource Allocators, they were also recognized as speaking from the Voice of the Skeptic. They are always balancing the needs of the community with a diversity of opinions. Thus, they hold powerful positions that enable them to reward success, as well as punishing failure.
The Value of Collecting Intelligence from Multiple Sources
These Learning Lhabitats are helping us see how Civic Manager Voices see themselves, each other, their city and the world. In these LLhabs, Civic Manager Voices are discovering how to strengthen their organizing capacities to build lasting foundations for the Integral City, so that the vitality of the other three Voices is well supported.