Some days, stars are perfectly aligned, and sudden insights create these wonderful aha-experiences. A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting together with Philippe Coullomb and Charles Collingwood-boots, co-founders of www.wheretofromhere.asia and initiators of the Sydney chapter of Corporate Rebels United.
They shared their work about “Patches and Nodes”, a G+ Community of change agents determined to nurture and drive systemic transformation in Asia Pacific.
“We aim to inspire inclusive transformation by facilitating the emergence of new models for value creation, new mindsets for doing business, and new behaviors for the workplace”
It’s a fantastic slide that helps us understand that big change in systems requires “systemic innovation” and a sort “graph thinking”. The circle with the colored dots represents your company. Within that company, different silos work together in some form or – in some cases – not at all.
But companies do not operate in isolation. They are part of a system, and when other actors in the system have counterproductive behavior, which may neutralize completely the efforts you are doing in your own box.
My epiphany happened, when I started looking at this drawing not as a “flat” 2D map, but as something 3-dimensional, like a galaxy of stars, where there is no middle. Every point in the graph is the starting point of a journey.
It suddenly reminded me of the great graph thinking we had done during the Digital Asset Grid (DAG) project. It revived the thinking of “We are all nodes in the Grid”.
The lens of the DAG and the lens of Patches and Nodes started to align. Focal lenses getting aligned, like stars line up in a constellation.
Starting to form “formations” and “digital maps”,
almost like network cartography
Where had I heard this sort of things before? Oh yes, it was during our work on “Network Insights”, where Kimmo Soramäki from www.fna.fi showed us another type of network cartography for financial network analytics.
Like in the demo on the FNA site, I imagined how I could zoom in and out of the graph, to get deeper insights and greater levels of detail, like a spiral crawling itself through richer and more complete quality experiences and ambitions. The spiral reminded me of myself as a 7 year old – the same age as my daughter now – drawing of spirals on the chalkboard of my class,…
a form of creativity
that was forbidden
and consequently punished
And from a far distant memory, the inspiration from Don Becks “Spiral Dynamics” came back into focus.
From the spiral swirl on the chalkboard, via the spiral zooms into 3D graphs, it suddenly felt that I was where I always was meant to be. Not in a fatalistic way, but as a natural evolution and maturing during the different steps of my life.
Spiral Networks, Spiral Dynamics, and Dynamic Fluid Systems were all terms that made me realize that change programs don’t change anything substantial unless it systems change.
With thanks to Fabian Tilmant (@fabnet_be) for pointing me to this video on The Fibonacci Spiral in the song Lateralus by Tool
I had evolved, spiraled out…
…from the polarizing, poor and static discussions of black vs. white into something that felt more like a trajectory, from passively undergoing change to influencing and (co)-creating my own future. I had realized that we needed quality time for reflecting and – like a surfer – scanning coming waves of change and pick the best ones for a great ride. I had realized that to survive in this perpetual crisis, we needed quality time for scenario thinking, where it is about imagining some – not necessarily all – possible futures, hypothesizing, and defining what to do if those futures would happen.
The “Patches and Nodes” drawing suddenly started to make a lot of sense, not only as a way to solve ad-hoc problems in the system, but as a way of making viral change happen system wide and pro-actively, powered by the group pressure of credible and influential system partners.
All sorts of concepts started to spread themselves like viruses through my brain:
Could this be a way
to propel us forward
into a state of collective progress and prosperity?
What if we could seed “activism” into the patches and nodes, a different type of “creators of change”, from solvers of problems and answering known questions to creating a new reality/framework for deep system value creation? Could it lead to “Spiral Network Activists” like agents in “Systems of Endearment”?
Suddenly Corporate Rebels took a whole new dimension of System Rebels, Change agents for society, for systems, System Activists, a powerful group of “Unreasonable people”, together stronger than alone, like the components of Bucky’s geodesic domes.
“How can we catalyse a number of tangible and distinct but yet consistent and convergent initiatives across the board to initiate a self-reinforcing movement?”
I double-checked the “The power of unreasonable people” by Jon Elkington (Amazon Associated Link), and I noticed that that other Corporate Rebel – Laurent Ledoux – had a summary slide of Jon’s “unreasonable people” in his Rebel Jam talk.
But I wanted to go further than trying to measure the un-measurable, and go on a quest of what is worth measuring, measuring that which makes life worthwhile. Like Robert Kennedy 40 years go in his speech about the GDP, that does measure everything but what makes life worthwhile.
To create sustainable deep system change like in Nike’s Launch2020 initiative, using my advocacy and advancement of ideas toward a state of prosperity.
I suddenly realized we could use this model as a way to create deep viral behavior change, not only on companies, but also in systems of patches and nodes.
Where we go from spiral dynamics to cultural dynamics, as so magically described in the milestone post about Consumer Activism by Gunter Sonnenfeld (@goonth), describing new types of movements, archetypes, cohorts, and industries. Where Jennifer Sertl added this wonderful dimension of “frequencies” to the mix of nodes on the grid, where each of us is liberated to sing their own song, in our own frequency and at our own rhythm,
to make reverb and resonate the system at large
And where the pleasure comes from pure sharing of your mind-spins, without wanting to make a statement. A form of digital poetry just for the pleasure of play of words; and like in “Mavericks in a corporate world”, finding pleasure in just being human and developing and nurturing the capability to be touched by beauty, a picture, by mastery and harmony; developing a richer palette of responses, judgment, choice and appreciation. And to accept and enjoy that we are incurable romantics, and act from that true self.