Posts Tagged ‘complexity’

In September 2015 the Centre for Human Emergence Netherlands explored with me a proposition: The politics of fear can be trumped by the politics of dignity, regarding refugees, immigrants and voters.

refugees-flooding-into-europe low

We explored this question (drawn from Angela Merkel’s challenge to Europe in the face of the tide of refugees) using Systemic Constellation Work (SCW). SCW is a core process methodology that Integral City uses to do research and development to expand our ways of knowing the archetype of Integral City as a reflective organ for Gaia. SCW supports presencing, prototyping and processing for issues, questions, situations and challenges encountered by the Integral City Community of Practice.

SCW as a methodology taps into the collective unconscious (or Knowing Field (KF)) and reveals to participants, the archetypal patterns embedded in the field of the human system of interest. (SCW’s derive from Bert Hellinger’s family system constellation work that has expanded into many human systems including organizations, social issues, indigenous tribes, nations and in the case of Integral City – cities.)

Our NL experiment began with identifying the key Elements of this proposition: Fear, Dignity, Refugees, Migrants, Voters, Trump (the verb not the US mogul), Policy and Politicians.  An eighth element self-identified as Non-Voters.

Mapping out the Knowing Field (KF) within the circle of about 20 Witnesses, volunteers stepped forward to represent the Elements across 2 intersecting axes: Future/Past and Below/Above.

The first pattern within the KF was very chaotic with Elements strewn about helter-skelter – Policy bumping into Refugees attempting to move to the Future; Dignity being elbowed aside by Voters and Migrants; Politicians positioning themselves close to the Past and Non-Voters (expressing anger) stepping right outside the Circle of Witnesses. Fear started out close to the Past – and started talking argumentatively with little intention of shutting up. Trump hovered with no direction. Another new Element emerged as a possibility – Courage – who became a disembodied position (marked by a card) almost out of the circle above the Future axis point.

The second pattern with the KF emerged when Fear made his way from the Past to close to the Future, causing a ripple effect where the other Elements stretched out in a zig-zag pattern along the Future/Past axis like this:


Fear          Refugees

Voters   Migrants

Dignity                (Courage disembodied)

Something Missing    Trump




Meanwhile Fear kept up his verbal rant, taunting the Facilitator and other Elements. In the midst of this a mystery Element emerged that we simply recognized as “Something Missing” and Courage became embodied by a tall imposing man.

In the third and final pattern, the Facilitator demanded that Fear lie down and “be quiet” slightly offside from the Future.

This move precipitated a final pattern where Courage moved quite compassionately to stand beside Fear, while standing behind Dignity. From the zig-zag of Pattern 2, the other Elements moved so that the Refugees and Something Missing became the centre of a circle held by Dignity (located at 12 o’clock), Policy (located at 3) Voters (at 7) and Migrants (at 10).  Politicians, Trump, Non-Voters (now happy with the outcome) clustered together behind Past.

Discovering How Politics of Dignity Counters Politics of Fear Image_Page_1

Politics of Dignity Trumps Politics of Fear

Comments from Witnesses and Non-Voters produced the insight that the “Something Missing” was Respect (as it relates to the Integral City Master Code). We also received a reframe of the proposition: The Politics of Dignity can trump the politics of fear by respecting refugees, migrants and voters.

A post-SCW debrief produced these insights for Individuals, CHE NL and the World in Transition (resonating with the sequence of the Master Code – Take Care of Self, Others, Place-Planet):

For Individuals

I have a better sense of Dignity.

I recognize the importance of Courage.

I was struck by the importance of Non-Voters in the world (and that they represent both ancestors and marginalized voices).

Politics doesn’t represent the people.

We didn’t need Policy – Policy self-organizes what is in everybody.

This is a complex issue and we made visible many intentions related to it.

Politicians never solve problems.

Everything got easier when the Refugees moved into the centre – when they were in the centre, Light came in.

I sensed a strange connection between Dignity and the Non-Voters.

I see so much potential in the Refugees.

Actually there is no separation between Refugees and Voters.

I have more respect for the Refugee(s).

I am struck by the power of Fear and Not Knowing.

Fear recalibrates Not Knowing.

Courage is replaced by Self-Confidence.

Our final image was like a ship pointed towards the Future with the circle in the centre. I am curious about the Element of “Something Missing”.

Perhaps this is like (Clare Graves’) Never-Ending Quest? – Where Fear disappears as Integral thinking and approaches emerge – maybe that allows Fear to even recalibrate as Unknowing?


For Centre for Human Emergence NL

CHE NL started by looking for core problem underlying refugee crisis.

This is an exercise in consciousness to step up to global consciousness.

Simply talking is not enough.

When Fear is out of the way, the systems self-organize.

We can work on our self/selves.

Politicians don’t seem to be part of the game.

Spiral Dynamics integral shows us multiple levels of Dignity and Fear.

We can’t design solution that is a one size fits all. There are needs for Purple/Red and Blue/Orange solutions (and even the basics of Beige).

We must look for the half a step ahead of the natural leadership that is being expressed.

For the World in Transition

The original proposition is a major challenge but it can unify EU.

Politicians relate to Politics of Fear.

Voters relate to Politics of Dignity

Even such a serious inquiry produces moments of truth and humanity.

We need to work our self/selves to make change.

Core Values (like attending to Basics of Life, Belonging, Self-Expression, and Respect for Life-Giving Order) underlie the possibilities for positive change.


The concluding reframe of the proposition helped us to discover how the Politics of Dignity can counter the politics of fear when both Courage and Respect are practised by people – especially when they combine their role as Voters with their role as Hosts.  Individuals, associations/organizations, communities, cities and nations all play roles in enabling The Politics of Dignity to trump the politics of fear by respecting refugees, migrants and voters.

(And since we completed this inquiry 6 weeks ago, the steadfastness of Angela Merkel to enact a Politics of Dignity in the face of mounting difficulties seems to embody the qualities of Courage, Dignity and Respect.)

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The Human Hive has many lessons to learn from the honey beehive.

Honeybee Hive

Honeybee Hive

Some years ago I was introduced to the biomimicry magic of the beehive and was fascinated to learn that apis mellifera –  the honey bee – has figured out a system that enables Smart behavior that not only produces energy for the functioning of the hive –  but Resilient inter-ecological action that enables renewable resources for the entire eco-region of the hive.

Paleo-biologist, Howard Bloom, describes these four roles of the bee hive in terms of systems performance that is modulated by what many are now calling the “hive mind”. Like all Smart Cities the bees have developed code that communicates resource data – like modern millennials they prefer a dance-rap code to a digital or spoken mode. They choreograph their Big Data information on a figure 8 design at the door of the hive. Like all Resilient Cities, the bees have measured their Eco footprint and figured out how much energy a hive of about 50000 bees needs to produce for survival – about 20 kg of honey per year.

The beehive is organized so that 90% of the hive are Forager-Producers – who have the job of foraging for nectar and pollen in the eco-region of the hive. They fly out, find a patch of flowers and return to the hive with both bountiful samples of the harvest and dance the information for other bees to locate it (with coordinates matched to distance from hive, angle of the sun, type of flower, maturity of flower, etc.). With 90% of the bees attending to this duty – the dance soon becomes a rave.

Meanwhile there is a special contingent of bees who have been given different roles to play – complementary to the Forager-Producers. These are the Diversity Generators – and they make up about 5% of the hive. It is their job to go anywhere the Producing Foragers DO NOT go. As a result they return to the hive with harvests from different flowers and therefore a different dance – let’s say a clog dance instead of rap rock n roll??? While most of the hive is preoccupied with the success of the Forager-Producers, the Diversity Generators are for the most part ignored. (Do you ever feel like that in your work – no one ever appreciates what you do???)

In order to fully appreciate the system of the beehive, we must stand back a little from the dance programs of the Forager-Producers and Diversity Generators and observe what the Resource Allocators and the Integrators are doing. Altogether these 2 roles are a very small percentage of the hive performed by mature bees and the wisdom of the hive mind.

The role of the Resource Allocators is to reward performance of the Forager-Producers and Diversity Generators. They measure the returning harvest loads and reward the foraging-producing bees with “Bee Juice” proportional to their performance. 100% load receives a 100% reward. In the background the Integrators check out how the hive is doing in manufacturing the annual goal of 20 kg of honey.

Bees Knees Pollen Harvest

Bees Knees Pollen Harvest

Sounds like a good system yes??? But what happens when Forager-Producer bees keep returning to the same patch of flowers? Sooner or later they deplete the patch – and the Resource Allocators reduce their rewards accordingly – from 75% to 50% to 30% and finally to 0!! And with the recent EU experience of risk/reward scenario analysis – what happens to bees who are cut off from the expected rewards of their non-performing efforts?? You guessed it – they get depressed. How do we know? We can measure depression in bees by the drop in their pheromones!!

But there is a benefit to this downturn in energy/performance of the Forager-Producer bees. It means that finally the hard-working Diversity Generators can finally be noticed. Because they have never stopped returning to the hive and doing their little clog dances. And when the poor depressed Forager-Producers have given up on their big party, they finally can take notice that another “hearty-party” is going on with the returning Diversity Generators. A few depressed Forager-Producers take notice and follow the information dance and discover the DG’s new location for nectar and pollen resources. When these newly motivated Forager-Producers return, they stir up the old party pheromones once again and the Forager-Producers fly off in pursuit of new harvests.

The Resource Allocators are happy, the Integrators are on target and the hive system survives and even thrives – not just because its internal conditions for wellbeing are met, but because the external conditions of the eco-region have also been supported by pollinating the producing plants – thus ensuring a variety of renewable resources for the next year.

And in nearby beehives the same system is being practiced, in competition with our exemplar hive. This ensures the evolution of optimal variations in the bee species that allow for adaptation and mitigation of changing life conditions for apis mellifera. (This may be what is going on with the hives that survive Colony Collapse Disorder while others don’t.)

Thus, it appears that the honey bees have devised a true metabolic economy that actually catalyzes and supports an integrated ecology following the rules of complexity.

(This blog is one of a series on Waking Up the Human Hive Beyond the Smart, Resilient City to the Integral City – thinking notes for a keynote speech at IDG’s IT Smart Cities Conference, September 23, 2015, Amersfoort, NL.)

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Anthropic Principles for a Planet of Cities can be derived from an examination of the levels of complexity.

Spiral Dynamics Emergent Spiral

Spiral Dynamics Emergent Spiral

These are nicely captured in the levels and colours of Spiral Dynamics integral. On reviewing this framing of Principles (which I first articulated in 2004) its seems that they address the Principles needed for Environment, Economy, Social and Cultural realms. These Principles also appear both to “unpack” the Master Principle and prove its evolutionary, universal qualities.

Here are the “A- Principles” I propose (named by Spiral Colour).


May the Anthropic Principles of living as a Planet of Cities embrace:

beige        to protect our individual needs for physical and spiritual safety and survival; and prevent harm to all individuals.

purple      to  honour the traditions and heritage of each group of persons so long as they do not threaten the health of *PPPPP; and honour the contributions of the elders so long as they do not threaten the health of  *PPPPP.

red            to defend the freedom of each individual to express their development and creativity without infringing on the freedom of others to express their development and creativity.

blue            to respect the value of order without imposing restrictions that harm individuals or groups; and honour the need for order that serves the entire *PPPPP.

orange        to promote the success of persons; to be accountable for the integral and fair exchange of products, services and ideas as long as resources do not accumulate for the benefit of a few interests, organizations and/or levels of development, at the expense of (or while depriving resources to) *PPPPP;  to publicly recognize the origination/originator of ideas, products and services.

green        to accept the dignity of groups; ensure fair opportunity for all persons to pursue happiness as long as no individual or group is prevented from doing likewise; to not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, gender, creed as long as such action ensures the health of *PPPPP; to not seek to favour any group at the expense of another group as long as such action ensures the health of *PPPPP.

yellow        to facilitate the integral flex and flow of energy across all aspects of *PPPPP; to unblock the barriers to the emergence of new ways of thinking, doing, being as long as they respect the health of *PPPPP; to mesh the elegance of natural patterns, processes and structures.

 turquoise    to value the geo/bio/noetic capacities of the planet; to respect the integral ecology of *PPPPP; to co-emerge the evolutionary intelligence of Life inherent in *PPPPP.



May the Principles of the Planet of Cities resonate the universal life-giving principles of

*PPPPP= Place, Plant, Phylum, Person, Planet

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Integral City how do we honor the many systems, structures and infrastructures that have emerged to shape you ? Map 4 offers us a cartography of organizational forms so we can appreciate how many functions serve the complexity of city life.

Integral City Map 4: The Complex Adaptive Structures of Change

Integral City Map 4: The Complex Adaptive Structures of Change

The built structures of the city are often the first boundaries that an observer remarks upon. These external expressions are artefacts of the internal structures in the brain/minds of city inhabitants that have now become visible (e.g. through fMRI scans). Both inner and outer structures of human systems arise from the adaptive process of people responding to life conditions (across all scales from global climatic-geological to local micro-biotic).

Map 4 is something like an archeological cross-section of the organizations that have emerged in the city over the last 5000 years.  Map 4 discloses the shapes of organizations as they have complexified  from family hearth, to clan circle, to territorial castle, to bureaucratic hierarchy, to industrial grid, to social network, to systemic ecology, to global noosphere.

And while all these organizational forms can be identified discretely, in fact they are now interconnected and cross-linked just like the organelles within a cell. Moreover, we know that the living system in each organization processes energy, matter and information through 19 sub-systems – just like all the living systems that make it up (including cells, organs, bodies, groups and sub-organizations). In fact Map 4 reveals that the organizations in the city, are moving towards further complexity, operating in the city just like the organs in  a whole living systems.

It is not difficult for us to imagine that soon individual cities will be operating as organs in a planet of cities, where cities will create the 19 global systems required to exist as a planet of living cities.

I have described the merits of this map (borrowing from the organizational icons in the book Spiral Dynamics) in the audio (and printed) book, Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences in the Human Hive. I also discussed it with Ken Wilber during our Integral City 2.0 Online Conference (and Integral Life) Interview. Map 4 as a whole captures the Integral Intelligences of the city with special focus on the Structural Intelligences , as well as Living,  Emergence, Meshworking and Navigating  Intelligences).

Map 4 in the Integral City demonstrates strong patterns that relate to the natural designs in Tim Winton’s Pattern Dynamics (TM) Structure and Dynamics Patterns. But the Pattern of Structure reflects very similar patterns of boundaries, networks, complexity and emergence as in Map 4. The Pattern of Structure in the city shows us how human systems shape-shift boundaries, internal patterns and purposes to strategically survive and thrive.  At its core the Structure Pattern gives systems their frameworks for enabling processes to be replicated into energy-efficient activity.

Map 4 brings into focus the levels of complexity that are embedded into the strata of Map 1. Map 4 reveals the organizational structures that are nested as holons into the holarchy of Map 2. Finally the structural patterns of Map 4 show the organizational contexts within which the relationship exchanges of Map 3 both normalize and emerge from. Ultimately without the structures in Map 4, a city would not be able to sustain its economy, social, institutional or cultural life.

PD Structure

Map 4 reveals aspects of the Pattern of Structure because it reveals seven qualities identified by the language of Pattern Dynamics (TM):

  1. Boundary: Map 4 shows that each type of organization is a system with a boundary. Because boundaries are fundamental to seeing in systems, it is valuable to know how to identify, respect and negotiate boundaries in the city.
  2. Holon: Map 4 shows how 8 different types of organizations can each be considered a holon – a whole system. And taken together all the organizational holons in the city make up the city itself as a holon.
  3. Hierarchy: Map 4 is effectively a hierarchy of complexity – each organization in the genealogy transcends and includes core aspects of the organizations that have emerged before it. It should be noted that within the organizational lineage, some organizations are dominator hierarchies – and these continue today for managing effective responses to such situations as emergencies and terrorism.
  4. Network: Map 4 can be re-organized to better display the self-organizing network that emerges when organizations create supply chains with inter-sectoral exchanges of information, energy and matter. These networks become the precedent structures necessary to deepen connections and commitments for the development of shared objectives like innovation ecosystems.
  5. Complexity: Map 4 shows a step-by-step emergence of complexity as each organizational pattern integrates more complex goals, roles and capacities into its structures. With each new layer of complexity the organization (and eventually the city) can impact greater spans of space, time and moral influence.
  6. Holarchy: Map 4 is essentially a holarchy of organizations shown in levels of complexity. This resonates strongly with Map 2 which nests this holarchy in ways that individuals and groups within the city overlap with one another. However, another implication of the aspect of holarchy is the opportunity it offers for meshworking. This means that capacities are aligned around shared purpose, goals, processes, standards, resources and timelines.
  7. Field: Map 4 only hints at the field of connections that emerge from the structures of the city. However, the field can be thought of as a non-linear, energetic set of connections that can be as intangible as the “spirit of the city”  (which we explore in Map 5)- or as visible as the skyline of the city which depicts its core values in built form.

Integral City how do we honor the many systems, structures and infrastructures that have emerged to shape you ? Map 4 reveals the historical lineage of organizational structures in the city. And although not every city has all these organizations or patterns at a fully mature stage, most major cities in the world have the organizations at least to the bureacratic and industrial levels of complexity – and in small experiments the social networks, systems ecologies and innovation ecosystems are beginning to sprout.  No matter how many layers of organizational complexity a city currently nurtures, they all co-exist in complex networks (and sometimes meshworks), that (like the brains they reflect) enable the production of all the goods and services necessary to support the life of the holarchy of Map 2, the relationships of Map 3 and the human systems potential represented in Map 1.

In other blogs we have explored of Integral City Maps Maps 1 , 2 and 3. In a future blog we add the spiritual insights from Map 5.

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Systems thinking is fundamental to understanding systems. So to understand systems, let’s start with exploring, what are systems? (1)

TED_city21, copyright TED

Systems are evolutionary structures. They are characterized by boundaries that contain system elements. Those elements have evolved across deep time, from the Big Bang until now. The basic evolutionary strata that we can point to on our planet can be classified as A – B – C (2).  Explaining this backwards …

C is for Cosmosphere – containing Universe, Earth and Matter . We study this with Astronomy, Cosmology, Math, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Hydrology, Meterology

B is for Biological Systems – containing the living environment and life. We study these with Microbiology, Biology, Botany, Zoology

A is for Anthropocentric Systems – or human systems. We study these with Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, etc.

As humans we are the most complex systems and we not only depend on all the ABC systems but we ARE those systems. We are in effect Awake Bhangara-dancing Cosmic-dust.

An interesting characteristic of systems, is when you combine two different systems a surprising result can happen that is not necessarily evident from looking at the two original systems separately. For instance if you look at Hydrogen and Oxygen as two separate elements, you would not predict that combining them as H2O would produce water – with qualities that neither Hydrogen nor Oxygen possess on their own. ( We call this propensity of systems for unexpected outcomes – emergence.)

The B & A Systems contain the living systems. They are wholes that not only have boundaries, but the elements they contain co-exist within the boundary symbiotically – that is the existence of each element is dependent on the co-existence  and adaptability with other elements.

Systems are considered alive if they can do three things. They …

  1. Can sustain themselves.
  2. Connect with their environment (or adapt).
  3. Reproduce.

When we consider how all these A-B-C systems have evolved together we can see that they make the world sustainable – as we know and need it to be.  Geology, Energy, Water, Climate, Food, Bio-genetic Ecology and Human Systems are all necessary to sustain our life and all other life on the planet.

And when we consider how these systems impact on one another we can see the major Threats that our global systems face today. Because human systems have become so successful, we are impacting on Ecology, Food Systems, Climate, Water, Energy and Geology in ways that are eroding these system as non-renewable resources or if they are renewable living systems, we are eroding their capacity to adapt and regenerate themselves.

Living systems evolve in complex hierarchies – which means as they evolve, they become more complex as they contain more and more systems.

Basic systems start with atoms, that make up molecules, that make up cells, that make up organelles, that make up organs, that make up organ systems, that make up bodies, that make up ecologies.

As a whole living system, the human body-mind is the system we are most familiar with.

But even our individual human systems belong to larger human systems: like families, teams, organizations, neighbourhoods, communities and cities.

Interestingly each of these systems is made up of other systems and we say they exist at different scales – that is they retain similar patterns, but each system is larger than the ones that make it up. And the larger it is the greater is its sphere of influence. The concept of scale lets us zoom in and zoom out to see systems with the same patterns at different magnifications and how they impact themselves, each other and their place on this planet.

My great interest is in the most complex human system that we have yet created – the city – because it contains all these systems co-existing in dynamic relationship. I call it the human hive.

In fact I believe we are in an era when even cities are being superseded by yet a larger system – that I call the planet of cities.

In human systems we need to consider not only what makes up our bodies physically – but also what makes up our minds consciously – and how we relate to others in group cultural systems and to the environmental and built systems.

So this brings us back to Systems Thinking. When we can SEE systems – i.e. recognize a whole with a boundary containing elements – we are starting to think in the basics of systems thinking. When we can see how different systems are interconnected, we are progressing our systems thinking to a more complex level. When we use our consciousness to design NEW systems we are demonstrating our evolutionary human capacity to use emergence and adapt through being innovative and creative.

As we design new systems, we eventually produce systems of systems – like say controlling water, by carrying it in water vessels, then irrigation channels, then viaducts, then water canals and locks; then building reservoirs and dams; and then creating plumbing systems; and- dare I say it? – bottling water.

But the challenge of systems thinking is not just to see one system in isolation of other systems – but to see the whole trajectory of ABC systems as an evolutionary supra-system. Then our thinking must consider the consequences of our innovations, designs and creations. True systems thinking embraces our responsibility for initiating change that impacts all earth systems – taking responsibility not only for our intended consequences – but the unintended ones.

One of the great values of Systems Thinking is that it is critical to being able to shift our perspectives so we can be effective change agents in the world. Systems Thinking enables and supports us to see (and respect) ourselves as whole living systems, in relationship to other whole living systems, within the larger context of environmental systems and ultimately the earth as a whole planetary system.

Thinking in systems impacts how we can shift perspectives and thus how we are able to adapt and innovate, design and lead and grow and expand our capacity for caring for the living systems we are, that we relate to and that we co-create.

This is fundamental to what I call the Master Code of the Human Hive: Take care of yourself, Take care of each other, Take care of this place … so that we can take care of this planet.


(1) This was presented to Waterlution Toronto, Learning Lab Journey ” Exploring Complexity & Innovative Leadership Around Water & Energy in Ontario”. January 26, 2013. See also Guiding Step 4: Systems Thinking Helps Shift Perspectives

(2) Concept from Dr. Brian Eddy

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The Values That Move us Through Conflict to Understanding –
Discover the Foundations of Spiral Dynamics integral* in Edmonton, July 14-17, 2011.

Why do people make such different decisions, given the same information and opportunities? How do
values develop and spread among people? How can we bring our diverse ways of thinking to create a
community that feels good to all of us? How can we make our way through conflict constructively in the
workplace and in our communities?

Over the years I have found that, Spiral Dynamics integral (SDi) is a model for people who think about complex systems –
neighbourhoods, communities, corporations and organizations. It is a way of understanding the
different values or “world views” that people use to make their decisions. Using SDi, leaders can
reduce the tensions in those differences, and create positive change in social and business

Based on the research of Clare Graves, Don Beck and Ken Wilber, this 3 day course reveals a
complex adaptive model for leadership, team, organizational and community development. You will
explore value conflicts with the intention of seeing opportunities move forward concretely.
SDi offers you tools to:
• Communicate with, and motivate, people in ways that matter to them.
• Construct organizations and relationships that align with the work to be done, the people
who will be doing it, the management that fits those people and the technologies that apply
• Weave people, purpose, priorities, profits, programs and processes to bring about change
that is ecologically informed and operationally integrated.
• Discover the origins, foundations and common tributaries that generate human value
systems over time.
• Learn how human values show up and connect individuals, teams, organizations,
communities, regions, countries and the globe.
• Explore the themes generated by value systems in human history and current affairs, and
how they inform our choices in todayʼs complexities.
• See how value systems contribute to the quality and health of our communities,
governments, health institutions, education systems, economic agreements, financial
institutions, production processes, and leadership codes.
• Explore how value systems affect our perceptions, choices, decisions and relationships.

Who attends SDi learning events?
• environmental leaders
• change managers
• city managers
• technology leaders
• health care leaders
• social service leaders
• community leaders
• HR and OD practitioners
• community developers
• entrepreneurs for the 21st C
• university presidents, faculty and admin
• senior leaders in finance, economics
• senior government leaders
• manufacturers
• coaches, mentors
• young president organizations
• resource management leaders
• community planners
• analysts, strategists
• education and learning leaders
• board members

Marilyn Hamilton PhD CGA, is the founder of Integral City Meshworks Inc. She supports teams,
projects, and organizations across Canada to chart new directions and strategies for themselves
and their communities. Marilyn is a researcher, facilitator, teacher, writer and blogger. Marilyn
serves as faculty at Royal Roads University, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser
University, JFK University, The Banff Centre, California Institute of Integral Studies and the Adizes
Graduate School.
Marilyn applies Spiral Dynamics and Integral tools across Canada and internationally by serving
executives of multinational companies, as community foundation president, chamber of commerce
president, designer of sustainable community development programs and as the developer of
Integral Vital Signs Monitor for City Wellbeing. Marilyn is the Canadian leader of Spiral Dynamics in
the Integral Age, a charter member of the Integral Institute, and represents Canada at the Center for
Human Emergence International. She is author of Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the
Human Hive, and a jury member of the Globe Sustainable City Awards. Marilyn is a co-founder of
the Center for Human Emergence: Canada

Beth Sanders BA MCP MCIP RPP, is the founder and President of POPULUS Community
Planning Inc., where she is engaged by individuals, communities, corporations and organizations
seeking to align people, purpose, priorities, profits, programs and processes. As a city planner,
Beth is regularly in the heart of conflict and political wrangling, ranging from siting hog farms or
homeless shelters, to the chaos of building North Americaʼs fastest growing city: Fort McMurray.
Beth applies Spiral Dynamics and Integral tools across Canada with elected officials and municipal
administrators, public and private corporations, a universityʼs board of governors, numerous
community boards, as faculty at the University of Alberta and Brandon University, on the board of
the Community Planning Association of Alberta, and as a convener of tough conversations that lead
to wise action. She received the Mayorʼs Medal in Urban Issues (Winnipeg) for her work in public
engagement. Beth is president of the Alberta Professional Planners Institute and a co-founder of
the Center for Human Emergence: Canada.

For Details and Registration
Full course details and online registration:

*Accredited by Dr. Don Beck, Founder of the Center for Human Emergence and The Spiral Dynamics Group

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Revolution is spreading through the north African and Middle Eastern countries – the inflammation has started in cities and spreads to other cities. Why are these cities the nodes of contagion?

I can’t help notice that all these cities (and nations) were on Thomas Barnett’s New Map in 2004. He included them in his proposition that the world had a functioning core and a “non-integrating gap”.  Since 2004 what has changed to shift life conditions in these disconnected cities? Have people been newly or differently connected? Because that seems to be the necessary condition for inciting the revolution – connection.

Using complexity theory (popularized by Malcolm Gladwell’s “Tipping Point“)  to explain the phenomenon that we are witnessing, we can see the evidence that in many of those countries more than 15% of the population now has internet connections. This is certainly the case in most Middle Eastern Countries we are seeing in the news – Iran, Iraq, Yemen. When we consider Tunisia and Egypt in the African stats, then we can see that there is almost a predictive quality to this information – where connections grow beyond 10-15% we arrive in the zone of a tipping point where revolution wants to happen.

Cities provide the container. The internet provides the new means of exchange between the citizens inside the city and between citizens of different cities. It would appear that it is time for Thomas Barnett to redraw his map? The equation of City + Internet Connections = Revolution is bringing about a rapid form of integration that is spreading like a virus – maybe even an intelligent virus?

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