Marveling at Spiral Dynamics by Tim Morgan

Tim Morgan @TimothyNMorgan (Director of Strategic Foresight at North Texas Foresight Institute) gave this presentation at the  2018 Spring Foresight Event at the University of Houston and I thought it was brilliant!  I begged him to put it in blog form for me to post here. I bet you will love it too!

 

Spiral Dynamics is a theory of emergent values development based on the work of Clare W. Graves. These emergent values levels, called vMemes, have a reputation for being notoriously confusing when first encountered. Don Beck & Christopher Cowan attempted to ease the way for newcomers by describing Grave’s original research using symbolic colors & tags. Beck & Cowan’s kaleidoscopic levels are a bit easier to absorb, but still can seem daunting to beginners.

Can we make it even easier or more accessible so that people can begin to understand Spiral Dynamics?

We can try, via Marvel comic book characters.

TIER 1 LEVELS OF EXISTENCE

The Incredible Hulk: Level of Existence #1, Beige SurvivalSense

hulk

Beige values center on individual survival in a hostile world. No one puts the Fight into Fight-or-Flight like the Incredible Hulk. The Hulk represents human values in its most raw, survivalist form. He can barely speak and has an extremely limited view of the world. His values are completely centered on moment-to-moment action. Anger triggers Hulk’s emergence from Dr. Bruce Banner when survival is at stake.

Hulk – Image sourced from http://www.movies.com/movie-news/comics-on-film-hulk-finally-getting-more-love-from-mcu/23203

 

Guardians of the Galaxy: Level of Existence #2, Purple KinSpirits

GuardiansPurple goes from individual survival to thriving as part of a larger group. The Guardians of the Galaxy typify that transition from individual survival to group purpose. Each Guardian brings their own unique virtues to their tribe-like circle. Together, they go beyond mere individual focus, to thriving kinship in a hostile universe.

Guardians of the Galaxy – Image sourced from https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2015381/

The Red Skull: Level of Existence #3 – Red PowerGods

Red Skull

Red wants to break tribal limits to impose their will on the universe. The Red Skull embodies the PowerGod vMeme. He seeks out both mystic and physical power to impose his will on the universe. He creates pecking orders of trusted lieutenants around him. He revels in the destruction of his enemies, and dreams of a never-ending empire created by his own hand. He bridles at containment. His will is to command, and never to be shamed by failure.

Red Skull – Image sourced from https://www.quora.com/Captain-America-creative-franchise-How-did-the-Red-Skull-get-his-red-face

 

Captain America: Level of Existence #4, Blue TruthForce

Captain

Blue has a capital-P Purpose. Captain America is Marvel’s embodiment of Blue’s traditional values: truth, order, and community. He works for the good of society, willing to sacrifice himself for the greater good. Everyone has their place in the grand scheme of things, and Steve Rogers accepts his: working to defeat chaos and restore order.  Just as Blue values first emerged to contain Red impulsive dominion, Cap emerged in WWII to defeat Hydra and the Red Skull.

Captain America – Image sourced from http://www.wallpapers13.com/avengers-age-of-ultron-captain-america-marvel-poster-hd-desktop-wallpaper-2560×1600/

 

Iron Man & Black Widow: Level of Existence #5 Orange StriveDrive

Iron Man – Image sourced from https://variety.com/2014/film/news/robert-downey-jr-talks-iron-man-4-1201299776/ Black Widow – Image sourced from https://costumewall.com/dress-like-black-widow/

WomanOrange strives for autonomy and achievement. Billionaire genius Tony Stark typifies Orange’s success-oriented, no-nonsense view of the world. Stark’s ultimate achievement is his Iron Man exosuit. Stark constantly pushes the limits of science and technology making each new version more advanced than the last. Orange achievement isn’t always about money or technology. S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Natasha Romanov, code name “Black Widow”, chose a different path. Black Widow masters every challenge through keen observation, focus, and strategy. She is spycraft personified: cool, calculating, pragmatic, preternaturally competent, and precise

Groot: Level of Existence #6, Green HumanBond

rootGreen values reject hierarchies and roles in favor of relationships and empowerment. Groot is the living embodiment of such community-focused nurture and alignment with nature. His plant-like form grows and adapts to the needs of others. He guides his friends towards a spiritual sense of nature and fellowship. He willingly sacrifices himself to save his fellow Guardians, telling them “We are Groot”, only to be reborn again through their care.

Groot – Image sourced from http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/File:Textless_Groot_GOTG_Poster.jpg

 

TIER 2 LEVELS OF EXISTENCE

The Vision and Doctor Strange: Level of Existence #7, Yellow FlexFlow

The Vision – Image sourced from https://media.comicbook.com/2018/07/avengers-infinity-war-vision-mantis-1125066-640×320.jpeg Doctor Strange – Image sourced from http://marvelcinematicdatabase.wikia.com/wiki/Doctor_Strange

America

Yellow breaks past previous levels of existence to a new level of systemic understanding. Yellow values both the analytical and spiritual. It focuses on “I”, but never to the detriment of “We”. It is unlike prior values levels which center on either “I” or “We” values but not both. Two exemplars of Yellow’s integrative “systems-of-systems” perspective are The Vision and Doctor Strange. The Vision is a living robot, born from the fusion of advanced technology and an Infinity Stone. He strives to balance his desires with other’s needs. Yellow emerged differently in Dr. Steven Strange.  Strange was a world-class surgeon, a true man of science and rationality. He went on a transformative journey of discovery after a debilitating accident. That journey ultimately led him to arcane knowledge of a wider universe where science and mysticism are different maps of the larger reality. Both The Vision and Doctor Strange stand apart as powerful individuals who are compelled to gain an ever wider understanding of the universe, simultaneously desiring to keep everyone at every level safe.

Wakanda: Level of Existence #8, Turquoise GlobalView

Wakanda – Image sourced from https://www.slashfilm.com/black-panther-concept-art/

Wakanda

Turquoise senses the world artistically through its interconnected flow. It looks to “We” first, but in ways which empower “I”. The hidden city of Wakanda is the embodiment of this holistic worldview. It blends its separate cultures in ways which preserve each’s uniqueness but gives common voice to all. It does not shirk from sacrifice and looks to sustain all within it.  A Turquoise citizen of Wakanda is one who moves comfortably across all the levels, using each to harmonize the whole. Wakandans go beyond seeing the world via Yellow’s integrated system-of-systems eyes. They know the world as a holistic continuum, an environment of environments. They celebrate both cultural diversity and shared values. Turquoise Wakandans do not see competition between technology and nature but use each to enhance the other in a dynamic balance.

Level of Existence #9 & Beyond

Grave’s theory indicated that new levels of existence would continue to emerge as new life conditions arise beyond the current levels. Some claim emergence of these later levels, even though Yellow and Turquoise are still forming. It is almost impossible to comprehend what new values and patterns of thinking will emerge as we confront life conditions beyond the growing environmental stress and global strife giving rise to Yellow and Turquoise. We can only speculate on later levels. Certainty must wait as the future unfolds new challenges along the infinite spiral of values.

Coda on Imperfect Analogies

The fun pop-culture examples barely scratch the full extent of the Spiral Dynamics theory. They are only an entry-point for understanding this unique model of human values development. Spiral Dynamics is a flexible tool for understanding human behavior and aspects of social change. Enjoy your journey up the spiral. Excelsior!

The Future of Hate!

Development
https://www.dailyevolver.com/2018/01/evolution-humanity-human/

Hate will always be with us. Developmental Psychology tells us that until a human or a group of humans  mature to a certain level, there is an allergy to values that are not of our own. To complicate matters further in this area, our shadows will blind us to the possible truth that the traits that we dislike in others could reside in ourselves!

At the tribal level (see chart) of maturity, whatever is a danger to the group is the focus of hate. There is power in numbers and thus we can relax in relative safety.

At the egocentric (Warrior)stage, whatever threatens the perceived individual loss of power is the focus of hate. Think gangs, the military and patriarchy for a feel of this level. At the Traditional level, the boundaries are set and whomever does not comply is considered a threat. This level grew out of the need to contain the Warrior level.

At the modern stage, science and rationality rules and whatever does not have that world view is a threat. This level is where many of my friends think they can just persuade others with logic and rationality. Ever try that and fail? This is probably why.

Even the pluralistic stage (modernistic) does not see that it discriminates when it rails against those that discriminate. It’s not until the individual makes a difficult leap to the level of maturity where truly everyone is given a voice that there is a lesser chance of hate because of the decrease in fear. (Emergent Integral)

Only about 5% of the population is at this maturity level so one can see why all hell is breaking loose in the world at the moment! And by the way, every human slides in and out of all these levels at any given hour of any given day. It all depends on what life is presenting and how your feeling about it.

man couple people woman
Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

Everyone has a right to their values but someone who is trying to get others to act out of fear is not doing the greater good. When folks are acting out of fear, they are responding from a part of their brain (amygdala) that cannot be creative to actually solve a problem but acts out of fight or flight. The prefrontal cortex (reasoning, creative part) shuts down, and the focus is on keeping safe both physically and psychologically. There was once a saying “it takes all kinds to make the world go around” but currently it seems there are many that believe only one way makes the world go around, and it’s their way!

Lately, it seems there has been an uptick in usually good people using their power to incite people in fear! It is so disappointing to see this and I for one would like to see them use their power to inspire instead are stoking the fire of fear!

When life conditions are good, it is easier to grow developmentally to that place of less fear, however, when life is threatening, most folks go to a lower level or one of tribalism because there is safety in numbers. The fear rules and with all thing’s the Internet, the fear spreads like wild-fire!  Havoc and hate ensue!

So what to do to keep the fear down and thus also possible hate? Take a relaxing breath and do something fun to better deal with stress. Keep off the fear mongering social media and get out into nature, which will give you a more realistic perspective on life. Give and or get a hug from a fellow human being! Watch a funny movie! Take a bath or get a massage! Find what makes you happy and do it!

Agree or disagree? I would love to hear your perspective if it is constructive but keep quiet if you just want to be mean and hate.

The Future of Associations

Recently, I attended the Association of Professional Futurists (APF) in Pittsburgh for the “The Resurgent City and the Future of Urban Environments.” It was a great conference! It has been on my radar, and I have been told by the media, that the Millennials and Generation Z have not been attending and joining Professional Associations like the generations before them. It got me to think why that might be.

ground group growth hands
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

One of the reasons is probably cost. They simply do not have the financial opportunities that have been afforded us older folks. With the “gig” economy and such, it’s harder to make those big bucks that Corporate America use to pay to the older generations.

Another reason may be it is much easier today to connect via social media and all thing’s Internet so that you don’t have to pay anymore to have access to others in your field. One does not need an organization to help you network as it is much easier to find your tribe!

At the most recent World Future Society (WFS) in Chicago the format not only suited the lower numbers in the association but I think it also suited the younger generations as well. The presenters were all younger than boomer age except one. They all told stories  to engage and it was much more interactive. Many of the boomers that attended were not happy with these changes, but my opinion is they were dissatisfied because it was just different from their preferred style of presentations.

accomplishment achievement adult african
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Perhaps it is time to let the bigger demographic in the workplace  take leadership in the evolution of Associations and the rest of us need to get ready to adapt. We the older generation, need to change our attitude about how these types of gatherings look, along with our behavior. We need to explore their culture around this, and access the systems that encourage them in this endeavor. We need to get on board with championing them in the evolution for transforming this terrain.

Agree or disagree? I would love to hear your perspective as long as it is constructive and not rude. Thanks!

 

Future of Food – Stephen Layman

There has been a recent upturn in the interest of the future of food. Of course, we are all invested as daily consumers, but with the emergence of new technology and the issues with current animal treatment conditions, there is a renewed surge among us to discover what our food will become. It is an issue of public health and safety that we find safe alternatives to the current state of our food industry. The important changes include:

  1. Personal nutrient trackers
    1. Customized food
  2. Man-made artificial meat alternatives
    1. Veggie burger – but not
  3. Service industry jobs being phased out
    1. Personal touch/connection

 

Firstly, let us look at the evolution of food, as society has evolved by applying an integral approach through spiral dynamics:

Levels Ideals Coping Methods Related Level of Food Evolution
Beige /

Purple /

Red

 

Pre-Cognitive Animal World

Unsafe/Threatening

Jungle/The strong survive

 

Survive

Family First

Strong Allies

Hunting & Gathering
Blue / Orange Chaos – No order/Consistency

Opportunity flourishes/Creativity Rewarded

Rules/Procedure

Competition

Introduction to Agriculture/Farming
Green /

Yellow

Materialism =/= Satisfaction = Humanity

No Guarantees – Man-made not working

Egalitarian, Serve fellow man

Respect all resources to survive

Restaurants / Public Dining

Utilizing all parts of animals.

Local sourcing.

Turquoise Problems are too great for individuals.

Order amongst chaos.

Searching for solutions to population connectivity/disconnect Current state.

Mass Consumption.

Mass Animal Manipulation.

Unknown food origins/additives.

Coral Solutions fail to meet needs of individual. Strong Self-Expression Individual nutrient mapping/genetically enhanced food sources.

Artificial Meat.

 

*The Coral level is a future projection based on current headings and emerging technologies.

 

  1. Personal Nutrient Tracking

While this technology is not ready to hit the stores, the patents are being issued. With the spread of personal health monitors, such as FitBit, Garmin, Withings, Kito+, and others flooding the market, we can expect a diet and nutrient tracker to be released in the near future. With the desire for personalized food options comes the need for personal food manufacturers. These personal-manufacturers would artificially create the nutrient rich foods that each person requires to remain in peak physical and healthy condition.

 

  1. Man-Made Artificial Meat Alternatives

This technology is already emerging and is said to be 15 years out before it is available to the public. I know that the idea of manufactured meats does not initially sound appealing, but it does open up a lot of possibilities for personalized diets and nutrient enhanced meals. It is not far-fetched when we consider the current manufactured foods, such as veggie patties. These new meats will be recreations of natural meats, but with the ability to eliminate the need for additives at the molecular level. Of course, for the humanitarian, this also eliminates the need for animal slaughter in order to obtain meats.

 

  1. Service industry Jobs – phasing out

This is a topic that has been of much debate as technology looks to alter the state of current industries – including the food & beverage industry. A reduction of jobs has already begun as servers are being replaced with tabletop tablet ordering capabilities. Of course, with change comes the introduction of new jobs to facilitate the technology, etc. There is a learning curve for the industry, and for the adoption by the public. Many restaurants will hold tight to their current state as we grasp for nostalgic processes and the human-factor. With the adoption of personalized food and manufactured meats the landscape of the restaurant could be altered drastically, or restaurants could evolve to function in the future.

 

 

SOURCES:

Beck, Don. Spiral Dynamics Integral. WordPress. 2018. http://www.spiraldynamics.net/about-spiral-dynamics-integral.html

Bever, James, Burdon, Jeremy, Thrall, Peter. Evolutionary change in agriculture: the past, present and future. Evol Appl. 3(5-6): 405 – 408. September, 2010. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3352499/

Stephen Layman

 

Futurists in the Media by Stephen Layman

I love promoting the future! The University of Houston Foresight Program https://tinyurl.com/guzsb2q has been generous enough to let me shepherd an intern, Stephen Layman. Here is a passion of his in Foresight!

Futurists in the Media

Stephen Layman

The Facts:

Foresight discussion in the media is lacking. We are expanding public knowledge on foresight, while sharing a successful approach to planning for the future, but continue to be overlooked. The communication of what foresight is, and what futurists are doing is still minimal. I will be collecting all of the articles flagged by Google Alerts under foresight and futurists over the next few months (January – May 2018). So far, the results are promising, but the traffic is not enough. We average two article a day that discuss foresight. The most articles I’ve collected over a single day is four.

 

The articles range from the introduction of new methods of foresight, to keynote announcements for speaking engagements where futurists are featured. Topics being discussed are energy, technology, the environment, government, etc. It really goes to show how inclusive foresight as a field has become. Everyone plans for the future – and foresight has the tools to guide us to the most preferable.

The Positives:

Most of the articles that were tagged have either been written by futurists, are promoting a single futurist, or describe the newest influences on the foresight community. Futurists are becoming professionals at promotion. Half of the articles received are linked back to a foresight website, a foresight association, or the most recent completion of collective foresight works. The remaining articles are of a new frontier in foresight, where the applications are being applied in fields of all types, an integral approach. The spread of corporate foresight, and the growing need to retain a futurist on staff, is leading to future-thinking in medicine, farming, housing, and shipping, to name a few.

There are new research articles being released that promote foresight as a tangible improvement to the previous method of thinking on the future. The impact of having a futurist on staff is being measured, and the applications of foresight are proving impressive. Previously, articles have been informative, but the focus was simply to discuss what the studies are aiming to accomplish, not how impactful the actual work is or how the long term effects of future forward thinking have changed business outlooks for the better.

The Points:

  • Having been a tech-oriented and focused industry, as foresight has had to be, we are well adjusted to the task of self-promotion. It’s no wonder that the most widespread articles are a result of those labors. Continued self-promotion will result in more exposure for the field as a whole. The need is for continued successful research that properly explores the field and positively reflects the outcome.
  • The expansion of foresight into new markets, and new regions for increased exposure.

Focus: Latin America

The tools of foresight are diverse, like integral foresight, which can be helpful across all cultures and demographics.

  • Government promotion, the inclusion of foresight, and the backing of futurists work will instill confidence in private sector involvement. Not only will this lend to overall exposure, but also enhance the publicity of results. As the methods become more understood the credit for decisions about the future will reflect the work of foresight.

The Breakdown:

Shared research among colleagues with differing viewpoints, as well as the welcoming of inventive ideas, from those being introduced to foresight with new perspectives, will allow for the work to prosper and for the field to become even more inclusive. The previous issue was self-promotion vs. the betterment of the field. Keeping cutting-edge trends and the newest ideas a secret is limiting the exposure of our work – as are the privatized efforts by foresight firms. The culture of independent consultants and analysts needs to be broken down. Allowing the practiced tools to become public, through promotion, will add to the enhancement of foresight in its entirety and result in a better outlook for all futurists. Also, remaining receptive to incoming ideas, perspectives, and applications: like the integral approach, will push each nook of foresight further.

Lingering Questions:

Is there enough research being conducted on the expansion of foresight as a field?

Too much privatized work vs. public exposure?

Lacking in a clear path to publication for solid works?

Is there anything that foresight cannot be applied to?

How can integral applications be used to enhance futurists in the media?

Building Foresight Capacity Is a Long Game by Andy Hines

Andy Hines, of the University of Houston Foresight Program, posted this on LinkedIn LinkedIn article  In it, he has a visual linking Integral, Scenarios, challenging assumptions and Critical Futures Studies. Enjoy!

Building Foresight Capacity Is a Long Game

January 31, 2018 by

Each spring in Proseminar class we explore the past, present, and future of the foresight field. It provides an opportunity for us to reflect, take stock, and think ahead about the work we are doing. My experience with this module over the years is that the students find the field’s evolution to be disappointing if not somewhat depressing. In a nutshell, the frustration can be summed up as “what’s taking so long?”

In short, we’re playing a “long game” in building foresight capacity. Even futurists can be impatient. We sometimes expect change to happen much faster than our own knowledge and experience tells us is the case. I suspect that same impatience we often experience with clients is even more magnified when we look at our ability as a field to change and grow.

Perhaps we don’t want to admit that we’re in a long game? Surely, if we got better at mobilizing we could speed up the use of foresight. One of the mantras in teaching foresight is “know your audience.” What is the climate for change in organization or industry or client group? And we adjust our approach and tools to be the best fit for that climate or prevailing conditions. We have learned that when we try to go too fast, or push too hard, we often lose them.

https://i1.wp.com/www.andyhinesight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/integrating-foresight-into-organizations.pngThe figure is a simple typical pathway for how an organization can introduce a foresight capability. The basic concept is start slow, raise awareness and build literacy, and move on to increasingly more sophisticated foresight work. My advice to an organization seeking to set up a new foresight capability is to think in terms of a five-year plan.

Much as we must be patient in our work with individual clients, I think we need to be patient with ourselves as we develop as a field. As I get close to my third decade of professional futurist work, and have gotten to know countless audience and the overall climate for foresight, I have come to accept the concept of being in a long game. It may not be the most sexy message – in contrast to the Ted talks of almost magical transformations – but we are making a difference, slowly and steadily. Could we go faster? Absolutely. We need to monitor and sense the emerging future – it may tell us at some point that the conditions are right for a foresight blitzkrieg. In the meantime, while we continue to push and advocate, I hope we can also be patient and realize that we are in a long game. And as futurists, shouldn’t we be pretty good at that? – Andy Hines

A great article by Tanja Schindler on Integral Futures

I always love to promote others who write about Integral Futures and this work is definitely worth promoting here! I had some difficulties posting one of the graphics so at that point in the article, I provide a link to the whole post on LinkedIn. Enjoy!

STEP3: How to Unlock your Futures Mindset?! by Tanja Schindler

Published on November 27, 2017 at LinkedIn

It’s been a while since my last article, but some of you may have noticed that we ran The Futures School Europe in Berlin – a 3day workshop program introducing methods and tools of futures thinking and Strategic Foresight. It has been a great success, especially, due to our fantastic crowd of participants and we are excited to do more workshops in 2018.

The workshop also strengthened my view on promoting a holistic approach to Foresight, especially in Europe, a very technology driven area. If you remember, in my last article I’ve already talked about how our worldviews and underlying metaphors shape our futures thinking. To expand this thinking to an unknown area, we need to analyze those worldviews and replace them at least partial to be open for something new.

Last time, I’ve also introduced CLA, the Foresight method by Sohail Inayatullah to analyze those worldviews. Today, we will focus on another framework that supports diverse thinking and steps aside from the general Foresight approach to discover our environment in a new way by using Foresight also to discover ourselves.

A New Framework of Environmental Scanning

The Integral Futures concept describes an approach where we not only uncover the system = external world we live and its social, technological, environmental, and political drivers of change but we also analyze our behavior and underlying mental models.

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

Once we are too confident about what we think or how the future will develop we start to see only those signals that support our own beliefs while neglecting information that would prove us wrong. Therefore, foresight and especially the approach of Integral Futures enables organizations and individuals to understand our interior, exterior, individual and collective world preparing us for the uncertainty of the future. Richard Slaughter published an article about Integral Futures as a ‘New Approach for Environmental Scanning’ already in 1999 if you want to dive deeper into the topic.

For the rest of Tanja’s article and more of her work go to LinkedIn