Early Visions | Community of Allies | Imagining Regional Metamorphosis

Riff #3:
Imagining Regional Metamorphosis

If imaginal cells can do it, why not us???

Nora Huddle's Imaginal Cell Story from her book, Butterfly, offers us a high resolution metaphor for our current, interim and future states. We are grateful to Nora for providing us this lens for our strategic viewing pleasure.

How do caterpillars, among the consumption kings of the biological world, manage to transform into butterflies—those magical nectar-sipping, crossfertilizing, species-propagating, beauty-beings that delight one and all? We will draw from the secrets of the chrysalis to provide strategic direction toward our community purpose.

Current State — Isolated "Imaginal Souls"
There are thousands of commitment-ready infinite players (Distinctionary) on this planet. They are scattered throughout all sectors and geographies. For the most part they feel isolated and constrained. All have experience with "immune systems."

Interim StateConnecting the Dots
Our strategy is simple: Using the Bay Area as our practice field, we find ways to "clump and cluster" in the service of spawning and supporting generative initiatives of all kinds in all sectors. As we weave a web of relationships among diverse allies we begin to realize, for the first time, that we are "something different from a caterpillar."

Future State — "Houston, We Have Metamorphosis" Collectively, we begin spawning generative initiatives that are much more like butterflies than caterpillars. These initiatives "infect" our traditional institutions in ways that facilitate their natural evolution into forms that are dramatically more rewarding to all their stakeholders. Once we collectively begin to experience what's possible in the Age of Conscious Evolution, it will become irreversible. Reverting to today's traditional organizing forms will become as improbable as vacuum tubes making a comeback and displacing transistors.

The power of this strategy increases exponentially as we begin to embrace the reality that we humans are operating in the same creation field that supports these imaginal cells. To the degree that we develop our collective faith and confidence in the presence of this field, and learn how to tap into that intelligence, we can realize our full potential as conscious co-creatives.

Introducing two clump-creating concepts with snow-balling potential

The primary purpose of this community of allies is to catalyze an irreversible avalanche of generative initiatives. This web site is designed to attract, appreciate, challenge, connect and support players who contribute to spawning and multiplying these special initiatives. Generative initiatives represent our vehicles for transforming organizations from finite to infinite games.

Strategic alliances are among the oldest and most innovative of today's organizing forms. This simple picture shows why they are so popular and effective. During the last half century, Silicon Valley provided a more nurturing environment for strategic alliances than any other region on this planet.

A generative alliance includes and transcends a strategic alliance. It includes all the desirable features of a successful strategic alliance and goes beyond it. The magic of the generative alliance lies in the extraordinarily high quality of relationships and agreements that are possible when both parties are deeply committed to maximizing their lasting contribution to the larger whole.

Generative alliances can literally multiply the generation of true wealth compared with what is possible with traditional strategic alliances. How can this be? We have only to look at the form of "alliance" called marriage to see the difference in lasting contribution between those that are merely "strategic" and those that are truly generative.

Alliances beget initiatives beget alliances beget initiatives...

In the ever-expanding, ever-evolving Information Age, entrepreneurial initiatives are increasingly calling for new strategic alliances, which in turn open up more entrepreneurial opportunities. This snowballing phenomenon will only increase as we move into the Age of Conscious Evolution.

A cornucopia of unexplored entrepreneurial opportunities lies at the intersections of the eight entrepreneurial domains. These opportunities lie in the "white space" among infinite players who, up to now, have been concentrating on their particular domain of expertise — and largely confined to their historical silos. As we begin to break out of our conceptual and organizational silos, and discover each other's special gifts, we will inevitably and naturally open up these dramatic new possibilities.

The players are ready to play. What's been missing is 1) a shared vision of the incredibly large field of possibilities (as symbolically represented by the 'Entrepreneurs for Wholeness' picture), 2) a marketplace that stimulates and nurtures the co-emergence of both generative initiatives and generative alliances.

Hedgehog as evolutionary engine.

Jim Collins and his merry band of researchers do some of the most useful discovery and mapping work I've ever seen in the game of business. They address both the art and the science of that very young and still immature field of play.

Their Hedgehog Concept, one of the many gems in their excellent book, Good to Great, seems to be the book's crown jewel in terms of its relevance to TIG. The Hedgehog Concept link above takes you to JimCollins.com, an elegant site designed for educating those who want to harvest the nuggets from their work. We recommend that you follow that link and play with the Hedgehog Concept before proceeding below.

The Hedgehog Concept name had its source in the ancient Greek parable, "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." Jim Collins' good-to-great companies all evolved a "simple, crystalline concept that guided all their efforts... and that flows from a deep understanding about the intersection of three circles."

The "simple crystalline concept" that guides our Community of Allies is based on expanding our definition of success. Our deepest commitment is to unleash our collective capacity to generate true wealth (Distinctionary).

What are we deeply passionate about?
This is the easiest question for us. By definition, those attracted to this "community," this particular infinite game, are passionate about evolving our organizing forms to the same level of beauty, elegant design, efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability, intelligence and co-creative collaboration found throughout the rest of nature.

What can we be the best for the world at? This is also pretty easy. Since we know of no other human-based organizing entity committed to what we're passionate about, and since we are attracting those whose gifts are most relevant to this task, we've a good shot at becoming the best for the world at it. Hopefully we are at least successful in catalyzing and supporting the emergence of other entities that become even better than us.

What unleashes our collective capacity to generate true wealth? This is a crucial question. Economic sustenance is as essential to infinite players as profits are to the sustainability of a business and as breathing is sustaining human life. It is probably also essential if we are to attract the same kind of entrepreneurial energy that enabled Silicon Valley to accelerate our movement into the Information Age.

However, the question also contains a trap. It "begs" us to stay focused on one or more money-linked variables as central to ensuring sustainability and growth. We need, to use one of Ken Wilber's favorite evolutionary principles, to transcend and include the "economic engine."

Following the keen logic implicit in Collins' notion of a single "economic denominator," we propose the following ratio as a key driver for our community of allies —

Net True Wealth Generated per Alliance

For a companion driver we might use Total Net True Wealth Generated as a consequence of initiatives catalyzed by this community of communities.

Focusing on maximizing the true wealth generated for all affected will best ensure long-term financial sustainability. The combination of these two variables will help keep our on-going search for new boundary-crossing synergies in the foreground of our thinking.

Although virtually impossible to measure, these variables would drive us to focus on what best supports the growing of generative alliances and generative initiatives in the service of achieving a quantum shift in the net true wealth generated by institutions in all sectors.

Imagining a Consciously Evolving Bay Area (CEBA) — "You can get there from here."

The story of the Vermont farmer's response to a traveler's request for directions seems especially relevant given today's dilemmas. In a world of accelerating complexity and mutually reinforcing local and global messes, it is beginning to look like we can't get there from here. Many of our solutions seem to be exacerbating the messes. A sense of hopelessness seems to be becoming more pervasive.

A Consciously Evolving Bay Area (CEBA) initiative as imaged here applies to "reverse engineering" or "backcasting" at a regional level.
The problem-solving mentality, as vital as it is in dealing with physical reality, too often leads us to a very limited view of ideal. If I have a toothache or I am starving, I have a hard time seeing a possible ideal beyond solving those problems.

The CEBA 2020 approach takes us above the rat's maze of today's problems and challenges us to stand in an ideal year 2020 and collectively answer the following kinds of questions:

  • What has irreversibly shifted that you feel most passionate about?

    By focusing on those shifts that are "irreversible," we are challenging the group to distinguish between effects and causes, between Band-Aids and evolutionary design. By focusing on the "ideal" we are lifting ourselves above the rat's maze and getting a glimpse at the potential provided by true wholeness. In this process we, in effect, are collectively celebrating the harvest from 15 years of generative initiatives — before they've happened.

    It has been useful for the total group to hear individual descriptions of what has shifted in the last 15 years. This helps both grow a compelling shared vision, and also to experience each person's passion.

  • As we look back to the early years, what was done to plant the seeds and nurture the seedlings that ultimately yielded this ideal 2020 harvest?

    This is a first step in the serious work of reverse engineering. With a large group it's usually helpful to self-organize into small subgroups, say 3-4 players each. This provides each player with more airtime and seems stimulate more creativity. Then, in total group, individuals from each subgroup share their initial "design" ideas.

  • Still back in those days, what did you as individuals or as a collective do to prepare yourself to contribute to the success of this journey to an ideal year 2020?

    We're not going to get to an ideal year 2020 simply be pooling and incrementally improving on today's individual and collective capacities. A breakthrough in our approach to the work of development is essential. This question helps us begin to face up to that challenge.
The possibility for creative collaboration across previously closed boundaries seems greatly enhanced by this process. When we rats feel trapped in the claustrophobic confines of a maze, it's natural to stay stuck in a shortage mindset. When we collectively gain elevation above the maze and can see the possibilities opened up by a pursuit of wholeness, a new world opens up. The emerging vision sets the stage for next steps — for spawning synergy-seeking, evolution-accelerating developmental initiatives.

Potential CEBA 2020 Initiative Strategic Elements:
  • Evolve the CEBA 2020 process with various Bay Area organizations
  • Identify infinite players/potential allies that emerge from those experiments.
  • Create forums/gatherings/programs/vehicles designed to support both the development of and connectivity among these emerging players.
  • Evolve creative ways to spawn and support generative alliances and initiatives within and across all eight entrepreneurial

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