Cultivate collective ingenuity


A new form of leadership is emerging that cultivates collective ingenuity at any scale (self, family, neighbourhood, organization, city, nation, humanity) by  creating social habitats in which we figure out how to serve ourselves well, so we can serve our cities well. When we serve our cities well, they serve us well in return: a mobuis relationship.

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The creation of social habitats that allow citizens and cities to thrive is critical prototype work today that requires people to step into leadership roles to create new kinds of enabling places and spaces that “help people co-sense, co-develop, and co-create their entrepreneurial capacities by serving the real needs in their communities (Scharmer and Kaufer, Leading from the Emerging Future, p. 87).”

The leadership is about people initiating the creation of these places and spaces, but also the co-leadership of people to co-initiate, to jump in on the learning journey. This isn’t leadership work for one leader out front, but for that one leader and all the other leaders who choose to join in. The work to create social habitats that allow us to expand our awareness and consciousness belongs to all of us. It requires all of us to be subject not to change, but to changing.

With my colleagues in the Art of Hosting community (in Edmonton Nov 12-15, 2013), we shift how we meet with each other to create the conditions to co-sense, co-develop and co-create social habitats for changing, social habitats that cultivate collective ingenuity as we have never experienced before.

Here is why this work is important:

Depending on the state of consciousness of a social field or the quality of people’s awareness, social systems enact completely different structures and behaviours. Just like water in the physical system, the makeup of people in a social systems stays the same under a given set of conditions. The difference between natural laws and the social field is that the actors in social systems are able to initiate change. In other words, they are sitting in the water while the temperature changes – and they potentially can get their hands on the temperature control. When their field state of awareness or conversation changes, the actors relate to one another in different ways, and end up creating very different results (Scharmer and Kaufer, p. 69).

Humanity is learning how to consciously notice the temperature changes and how to put our hands on the control. We are learning how to create social habitats in which this can be done as an effective collective – no easy task.

The emerging social habitat is more easily felt, than articulated. We can sense its direction now, but not its destination. It is full of diverse knowledge and opinions. It is full of positions that are cross-purposes. It is full of conflict and uncertainty. It is also full of intention to integrate this massive diversity in an effort to fully see what we collectively know. It is a form of flat, distributed leadership that co-exists with hierarchy when needed. It seeks to meet the needs of many, and trusts that the work we each do is meaningful.

That is what I sense.

What is the emerging social habitat you sense?


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If the notion of social habitat intrigues you, you might be interested in The Art of Hosting BIG Decisions – While Looking After Self, Other and Place, November 12-15, 2013 in Edmonton.

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While working on my book, Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities, I am sharing some of my thoughts along the way. Here are some plot helpers to help you navigate the posts:

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