Integral City Thinking
Integral Leadership Review – Canada Issue offered a Leadership Tip on Generative Change, by Tam Lundy, that acted as a Guide to appreciating all the articles. Tam’s Tip gave the reader an energy boost as you passed through the Totem Entry Way to help you focus and harvest the significance of each and all the leadership contributions on offer in the issue.
Tam’s ideas on Technical, Adaptive and Generative Change offered particularly cogent recommendations for global cities – whether they be Smart, Resilient or Integral.
Smart Cities tend to use technical solutions to address first order change. As identified by Spiral Dynamics, first order change requires support for maintaining, adjusting or improving the status quo. (Think more data banks, driverless cars, faster Wi-Fi.)
Resilient Cities tend to use adaptive solutions that address mid-order change. As identified by Spiral Dynamics, such change addresses systemic adaptations, mitigations and restorations. (Think urban food security, reduction of greenhouse gases, daylighting streams.)
Integral Cities seek to generate solutions that meet second-order change. As identified by Spiral Dynamics, these changes address a greater order of magnitude of problems than has ever been encountered before. (The military have dubbed these kinds of circumstances as VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). Approaches to “VUCA-stances” demand that city leaders open up new mindsets, redefine city paradigms, and emerge new potentials for living systems not yet dreamed or tried. (Think cities as Gaia’s Reflective Organs, city as human hive, Planet of Cities as collective intelligence network.)
Integral City leaders use both Smart and Resilient solutions – in their appropriate contexts. In fact Generative Change approaches enable Integral City thinking to emerge – because they include and build on both Smart and Resilient Solutions – and step into a zone where they can act effectively to align first order technical problems with Smart City solutions and mid-order adaptive problems with Resilient City Solutions.
But Integral City leaders go beyond merely aligning technical and adaptive solutions and seek to discover for their cities how to align the very source of City Wellbeing, with City Purpose, Collective Vision and Strategies for thriving.
Leaders who follow Lundy’s Generative Change Tip, venture out beyond the smart city, out beyond the resilient city, into the Integral City. They create a Field … we can meet them there.
Beck, D., & Cowan, C. (1996). Spiral Dynamics: Mastering Values, Leadership and Change. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.
Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers.
This blog is one of a series that explores the relevance and application of ideas to the Integral City, in the articles published in the Integral Leadership Review – Canada Issue, 2015, curated and Guest Edited by Marilyn Hamilton.