Site Tour | A REALLY Big Picture | From Nature's Design to Human Designs to Generative Design  
A REALLY Big Picture

The three lenses described below are intended to help us focus in on what our true work is as a species at this particular moment in our evolutionary journey. Our challenge is enormous. It amounts to nothing less than a collective metamorphosis of what it means to be a human.

NATURE'S DESIGN — Our design heritage: Designing for life and for on-going evolution toward ever-increasing intricacy, beauty, truth and goodness — wholes within wholes within wholes — infinite possibility — a 4,540,000-year history of action-learning research, design and development — the definitive infinite game.

On this planet alone, nature has designed millions of interconnected and interdependent species to populate this planet. It's been a history of both small incremental adjustments and mind-boggling quantum leaps (e.g., bacteria, photosynthesis, the eye, birds, humans even) — always toward greater intricacy, capacities, effectiveness, resilience, beauty, goodness, and consciousness.

Humans are a newbie species. If the evolution of life forms on this planet were condensed to a 24-hour period, humans would have made the scene at about 11:59 PM, invented agriculture less than one second before midnight, and the Information Age just one millisecond before the clock strikes 12. We are clearly a work-in-progress. Though equipped with exquisite bio-circuitry and incredibly potent neural "hardware," we have yet to figure out the basics of not fouling our nest. In terms of the maturity of our social systems we're somewhere between the "toddler" and "adolescent" phases as a species. Our "true work" as a species in still in progress.

HUMAN DESIGNS — We seem to be the one species that has been gifted with a combination of freedom of choice, consciousness of our consciousness, opposing digits, extraordinary vocal chords and more. We have been growing increasingly inventive in making use of our gifts. The second circle in this "Big Picture" focuses on a few of the many wondrous and horrific inventions we have come up with to date — and most all of them only during the last evolutionary millisecond. We've come a long way.

Our human designs include all our cumulative design choices as humans—all of our invented patterns of production and consumption, development and education, construction and destruction; all of our artifacts. Our human designs are strongly influenced by the beliefs and values implicit in our historical organizing forms.

We have shaped our structures and these structures have been shaping us.

GENERATIVE DESIGN — This web site focuses on perhaps our most crucial challenge as human designers:

Generative Design —

  • Transcends and includes the design breakthroughs of the Information Age

  • Will provide our bridge into the emerging Age of Conscious Evolution
  • Starts with Place, that geographically bounded space where humans intersect with the rest of nature (represented by the outer circle).
  • Is a synergy-seeking quest for design’s sweet spot — the intersection of four design domains:

    • Context Design — What is it that we choose to believe and value? What game is it we want to play—finite or infinite? How do we define success and keep score? How do we measure value? (Context design is represented by the space between the outer and the three inner circles)

    • Technological Design — The design of our “things,” including built environment, i.e., our physical and electronic infrastructure.

    • Green Design — Choosing our relationships with, and choices concerning, nature’s ecosystems; designing for resilience; a co-creative partnership.

    • Social Design — The design of purposeful relationships and agreements with and within self, our families, organizations, institutions, cities, regions and nations—our social infrastructure

  • Means designing for life — What design choices best contribute to the well-being of all of life?
  • Provides us a “North Star” challenge, serving to guide us toward the same design elegance and genius found throughout the rest of nature.

NOTE: Refer to Worldview-Expanding Books for some of the Context-Shapers whose pioneering writings have paved the way for our exploring this new design territory as a species.