Core Practice in Chaordic Design

Another element of my conversation with Tim included this precious insight.

I have been sitting for a while with a dissatisfaction around a description of Product and Process as separate things – or content/what and process/how as different.

In the conversation it became clear that this came from our experience that actually the new ways in which people and organisations begin to do things also become the new products that they offer the world. That in fact their own internal Practice becomes their Practice in the world.

A few examples:

  • The (re)evolution youth group lived through a transformation process, started doing and being differently and that is what they are now taking into their local community
  • An IBM business unit transformed its cultural and leadership resilience and they are now integrating that into a product for clients
  • An intentional community is making the shift from a more inwardly-focused spiritual community to becoming an example for how intentional communities can contribute to solving some of the core problems we are facing in the world. The process they are going through and the new practice they are moving into will become part of their core offering to the world

They have all developed a Core Practice which is at the same time process and content/product. This makes it fully authentic and powerfully attractive to others. And as a Practice it never stops nor is finalised. It is a continual evolutionary journey for ourselves and for those around us.


field of plants

In conversation with my brother Tim over Christmas, we identified a pattern in the kind of work that we are doing, that helped us to become more conscious of its essence. It emerged as:

Rapid / Resilient
Innovation, of the

Tim was drawing specifically on his experience of transforming some of the most challenging kids from Yarmouth (Nova Scotia, Canada) into leaders in a (r)evolution in youth work.  I was drawing on the last two years of work helping to transform a fear-ridden business unit in IBM BeNeLux into one of their biggest growth and innovation centres. Sensing into that, we found this deeper pattern that connected to the rest of our work.

Rapid : The U-Process combined with Chaordic Design that form a core part of the transformation technology we work with is proving itself to rapidly, powerfully and sustainably shift groups of people from old ways to new ways. Once through that first iteration, it proves itself to be Resilient.

Indigenous : We work from the principle that the next step for a group already exists within the system, and that it is our job to facilitate its emergence. The client is the content expert, and what we do is release their highest creative potential to create what they really care about. Insight from models such as Spiral Dynamics Integral enable us to make the approach fit. There are usually also content insights which we feed in, which become part of the unfolding scenario that emerges in its essence from the client.

Scalable : In enabling the emergence from the local system itself, we always notice a deeper Source Code or DNA that is relevant for the broader sector as a whole or even wider.  There is a core approach that can be transported to other contexts. The Code is scalable. The Content is indigenous.

Innovation : Truly new ways of being and doing always emerge.

Next Generation : There are two levels to this. It is always of the next generation within the system itself – so the product of those creative agents who are leaning into the future. And it is always of service to the planet as a whole and the next generation of human beings living here. The reason for the latter is that the space that we open and hold connects people to their individual and collective essence, which is as we know ultimately that of the Universe unfolding with the general directionality of increasing compassion and embrace.