Tim Morgan on Values-Forms Part 1

Tim Morgan continues to explore Values with a Form that reinforces Spiral Dynamics. Enjoy!

Values-Forms Pt 1: David Ronfeldt’s TIMN & Spiral Dynamics

One of the things that weakens confidence in Spiral Dynamics as a psychological emergence theory is the dearth of published scientific studies backing it up. That lack of evidentiary rigor along with the absence of Claire W. Grave’s original research data makes some question its scientific validity.
This is not an overwhelming objection, however. Spiral Dynamics practitioners have been using it in the field successfully for decades. Another confidence builder is when other researchers come up with similar theories and frameworks. The most valuable of these are the ones which take a different approach or perspective but arrive at similar results. David Ronfeldt’s TIMN Framework is one superb example.
Ronfeldt spent over 30 years as a political scientist in the International Studies Group at RAND. He is retired now, but his work ranged from predicting the rise of networked forms of terrorism, to the applications of the concepts of the Noosphere and Noospolitics to international relations. One of Ronfeldt’s accomplishments was the development of his TIMN Social Evolution framework. Most of his work on TIMN can be found on his blog, which he still updates. Ronfeldt arrived at TIMN via observation and analysis. His original paper on TIMN is available online, as well as his video description of TIMN basics.
Briefly, Ronfeldt observed that all social organizing forms appear to be emergent from prior forms, and that those earlier social forms act as a foundation for later social organizing forms (See Figure 1). The progression he observed was:
Tribes: T
Institutions: I→T+I
Markets: M→T+I+M
Networks: N→T+I+M+N

The + notation he uses indicates that there is always an active mix of all the forms in any functioning social system. A +M market never stands alone. It always has T (tribal) and +I (institutional) components required for the +M component to function properly.

figure 1
Figure 1 – Ronfeldt’s TIMN Emergent Social Forms Framework

This evolution of social forms looks eerily like the vMeme emergence progression of Spiral Dynamics. Figure 2 shows TIMN form attributes that map closely to specific Spiral vMemes (sets of values).
Some other similarities between Spiral Dynamics & TIMN:
• Both list a base emergence state: Beige Survival-Sense values (Spiral) and the Tribal form (TIMN)
• Both claim that their labels are attractor-like nodes on an emergent continuum, and that intermediate hybrids exist between nodes
• Both insist that you never evolve away from needing prior forms
• Both claim that their emergence pattern is driven by circumstances: Life-conditions for Spiral and Information technologies for TIMN
• Both state that there is no upper limit to what might emerge as conditions change, and speculate that later levels are possible
• Both state that each can function positively or negatively: Healthy/Unhealthy (Spiral) and Light/Dark (TIMN).
• Both try to create a self-reinforcing environments for themselves. Example: Institutional forms reinforce Institutional values (TIMN), and BLUE Authoritarian values reinforce BLUE Authoritarian social structures (Spiral Dynamics)
• Both follow similar patterns of emergence

figure 2
Figure 2 – TIMN Attributes

The last bullet above is revealing. We can see a clear mapping of each TIMN form with a matching Spiral vMeme: Tribes & kinship-based solidarity (Purple Clannish), Institutions & hierarchical order (Blue Authoritarian), Markets & individual freedom (Orange Achievist), Networks & social equity (Green Communitarian). See Figure 3.

figure 3
Figure 3 – TIMN forms mapped to Spiral Dynamics values

Each TIMN form clearly matches a Spiral vMeme. The TIMN forms match the most influential Spiral vMemes in terms of social organization: Purple (Tribes or Extended Families), Blue (Institutions), Orange (Markets), and most recently Green (Networks). TIMN implicitly points out which of the 8 emergent Spiral worldviews can support long-term stable social orders. Beige cannot create a stable social form since those values are focused individual survival. Red can and does form Chiefdoms or Dominions. Those personality driven intermediate forms usually fall apart when the leader is dies or loses power. Yellow and Turquoise lack the prevalence in society to determine yet if they will create stable social forms from their values. Figure-4 maps each emergence pattern to a preferred worldview (sets of values).

figure 4

Figure 4 – TIMN emergence pattern & preferred worldview for each stable social form.
Note: The Figure 4 Worldview labels are derived from Andy Hine’s book, CONSUMER SHIFT. A Tribal/Mystical worldview is added to match a likely Tribal worldview matching the Spiral Dynamics Purple vMeme, not discussed in his book.

It feels natural to combine the two frameworks into a unified combination. This quadriform of values-forms could then be used to tag and assess the dominant forms interacting in a social order, and simultaneously give a synopsis of the values interplay.
An example: What is the impact on the local values and institutions of small to mid-sized rural towns (dominant T+I values) when their local TV stations (dominant +I form) are purchased by an interstate corporations (dominant +M form), which de-emphasize local news (T+I values) in favor of national news and editorial content (dominant +M values)?
One likely result is that local social cohesiveness will drop because of loss of T+I values reporting. Another is that the towns will likely start to lose their unique T+I identity in favor of national T+I+M identity matching that of the media conglomerate.
Practitioners of Strategic Foresight & Futures Research along with anyone else interested in the interplay of social forms and worldviews should look closely at Ronfeldt’s TIMN. It comes with a convenient tagging system (T, +I, +M, +N), is simple to understand, and maps very well to Spiral Dynamics and conventional worldview descriptions (Mystical, Traditional, Modern, Postmodern). One side benefit is to use it as an introduction to some of the core concepts of Spiral Dynamics in a more simplified form.
Some open questions remain about combining TIMN and Spiral Dynamics. The one which jumps out is that Orange Achievist is the only self-focused vMeme to create stable social forms (+M Markets). The other three are socially-focused and lend themselves to creating a defined social order. This break in the pattern is counter-intuitive. Why would a self-focused vMeme promote a stable social form? That nagging question will be addressed in the next article, Values-Forms Pt 2.
TIMN alone is an enormously useful tool for understanding social organization and change. Combining it with Spiral Dynamics is a natural extension, creating a powerful new composite tool for exploring the interaction of systems of values and social forms.

The Future of Awareness

If you are a fan of Integral Adult Development, resilience, and meditation then I have a suggestion for you! Daniel J. Siegel, MD has written a book that promotes the development of capacity for ever-increasing perspectives and meta awareness. Siegel has written a book called “Aware” with a website that includes a meditation to practice this skill. https://www.drdansiegel.com/resources/wheel_of_awareness/


In the meditation it asks us to become aware of both our interiors and exteriors which promotes us to be Integral and by facilitating us to be meta aware, it promotes our adult psychological development in the subtle realms. Why is that important for Futurists? We are less likely to be blinded by our assumptions and biases with this practice because it asks us to go beyond our own perspective and it actively encourages feedback from our senses which can contain wisdom. Also, because the futures exist more in the subtle realms than in the concrete this practice actively prompts us to go in that meta aware subtle direction! After all, the futures do not exist yet so anything that guides us from the concrete to the subtle is a plus! For more on this  associating concrete vs subtle and adult development check out https://www.stagesinternational.com/the-evolution-of-the-human-soul-2/

Siegel is a Psychiatrist, Professor (UCLA School of Medicine) and Researcher (UCLA  Mindful Awareness Research Center) who  explores neuroscience and the nature of consciousness. What his research concludes is that “Where attention goes, neural firing flows, and neural connections grow” He says his research reveals that “the more we develop our practice, the more healthy and nimble our brains become in navigating the challenges that life brings our way.”

In our chaotic world of today this is a valuable skill in its self. However, as a Futurist, we all need skills that free up our neural energy for as much creativity as we can muster. If this practice helps to keep us calm, then more of our prefrontal cortex will be available to explore the unknowns of reality such as the futures we all want to be able to imagine!

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 /



Pre-Cognitive Animal World


Jungle/The strong survive



Family First

Strong Allies

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

Opportunity flourishes/Creativity Rewarded



Introduction to Agriculture/Farming
Green /


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.




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