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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Facilitating Prototyping of Small Social Systems: Is a Meta-model Possible?

So, Simon Okelo, a young man in Kenya, because of who he is, gets the idea of creating a new kind of music school in his city slum. And he pulls it off; the school is thriving and morphing into new forms and activities for the past eight years: onevibeafrica.org. Simon wants his endeavor to become a prototype.

Great! But what's involved in being a good, easily-useable prototype? What resources are available for him and for those who might seek to replicate his endeavor, either in all specifics, or in some aspects? Suppose a young musician in Brazil wants to use Simon's school as a prototype for something in his city slum. Where does he start? 

The traditional method when there is a particularly successful pioneering effort in some social system, such as a business, organization, school, or program, is that others interested in adopting it travel, visit onsite, observe, study, have conversations, take notes, then go back home and try to duplicate the system. Sometimes the new effort writes itself up, describes its history and current situation, and publishes that, even engages in teaching and spreading it. (Such as Brian Robertson with Holacracy and holacracy.org). Or others do the writeup and help spread the word, the description of the project/endeavor/creation. (For example Frederic Laloux in Reinventing Organizations. See especially pp. 206-7.)

But does anyone, on either side, understand exactly what makes the innovative system successful? Does anyone know what is essential, and what is actually not essential, to success in some other social setting or context? Does anyone really have a complete description of the parameters relevant to success? Does anyone know what parameters can be tweaked, and still have success elsewhere, or how far they can be tweaked? (Seeking answers to these questions about certain highly successful pioneers in human consciousness transformation is what led to the creation of Neurolinguistic Programming, a highly successful meta-model.) Does anyone know which kinds of parameters would have to be adapted to the new situation, and how to do that and preserve whatever is essential to success? Does "success" even need to look the same in both situations?

Let's zoom out a bit. Why is this an important issue? As we look around our world, we see old systems dying, dissolving, being plowed under. New systems, mostly spontaneous, organic emergents on the grassroots level, abound. By the hundreds of thousands, if Paul Hawken is correct. Many of them have served as prototypes for others. Or want to. Or will want to. Or will be asked to.

If we want our new world "online" as quickly, easily, inexpensively, and ecologically-balanced with all other human and natural systems rapidly appearing in the same world, then we had best pay some attention to the process of prototyping: how to make it efficient and effective, in as many different situations and contexts as possible.

Is there some better alternative to self-descriptions and others' descriptions? If not, and it seems not, then what would be involved in creating/co-creating something?

There are a budding number of endeavors which seek to help grassroots organizations/projects synergize with one another. (Hawken's Wiser.org, and the proposed ASELF Vision, are two of many). What framework or meta-model do they use to accomplish that? I don't know yet.

What I do know is that "my hair is on fire" with this quest, this new (additional) ministry for my church. 

Based on what I learned about Simon's endeavor, in an evening presentation he made, I created (and shared with him which he found helpful) a "description" of his project which is in terms that might translate to a similar project elsewhere, but this was just a guess at the relevant parameters. Also, it didn't take into account Simon himself; could someone without his unique constellation of experiences, contacts, and personal wisdom and knowledge, pull off the same success? No way to predict what it would take.

So, what's next, what's next? Is there even such a thing possible, as I am imagining, which might be useful in a variety of situations? Is this quest quixotic? There actually might not be any useful meta-models for prototyping which are of sufficient generality to be helpful. I'm betting there are. Do you know of anyone who is engaged in this inquiry?

I seek to gather any information you might have, relevant to this quest. And your reflections, comments, questions, suggestions, cautions, etc.

Naturally, I'm thinking about a Second-Tier approach to this Holy Grail "Meta-model for Prototyping Small Social Systems." 

Here's one Turquoise-consciousness consideration, although it could be phrased in other terms:

A prototype cannot be transplanted or seeded into non-fertile soil. That soil not only includes various factors in all 4 quadrants, it also includes whether there is something in the new place's energetic field which offers fertile soil. Or, to use a new buzzword, the new endeavor has to be already-emergent, energetically, for worldly success in implementing a prototype to assist its emergence. 

It seems to be part of the approach of Apithology (Will Varey, Founder)
in considering various factors in facilitating a system toward greater thriving, to assess what is "emergent" and I am wondering whether in this way, and other ways, Apithology might have something to offer my quest.

Comments, please!

by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
"Amplifying Divine Light in All" is a completely independent church fostering empowerment of people to co-create loving, thriving God-realized lives, and wellbeing for everyone, on a clean, peaceful Earth.
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"Amplifying Divine Light in All" Church said...

This comment has to be in three parts. This is the first.

Here are the specifics of my attempt to describe Simon's project in a way that facilitates its use as a prototype. One Vibe Africa has since 2014 indeed become a prototype. I don't know how relevant this was in helping, but I hope, some help.

Here's what I wrote in early 2014, as an email:

My "hair is on fire" about the possibility of coming up with a generic (Integrally-informed) template for turning ANY world-improving endeavor into a "prototype" which can be spread easily and quickly. I have some ideas, and would like to work on this goal with others. AFAIK there isn't any work on this existing so far. Will look around.

So, I suggest that some of us focus on coming up with a description of the parameters of any prototype of a human organization, and if that is too general and abstract, which it probably is, perhaps we could take OneVibeAfrica or OneVibeEntertainment as a case study and try to discern the parameters of description which would enable us to describe it as a prototype, that is, something which others could build on easily in other parts of the world to create a similar endeavor.

Here are my thoughts along those lines, so far:

These are maybe some of the principles which are the prototype. These are transferable to a similar grassroots kind of endeavor organized around anything, not just children and art.

(None of the items in these lists are in any particular order, except the Spark of Life list.)

The spark of life:

Do what you love, do what is natural to you.

Do it for yourself, and share it with others.

Seek/desire/intend to be of service.

Take the next step you become aware of, in every moment, whether it's an impulse/idea arising within you or something you respond to from outside yourself.

Find others like yourself to interact creatively with.

Keep learning.

Get and give support and encouragement.

"Amplifying Divine Light in All" Church said...

This is the second of a 3-part comment


Let the "how are we going to do this?" unfold in realtime.

Do as much as you can with unpaid volunteers.

Most or all of the people should be local, known people.

Figure out what expertise you need, and find those experts.

Let things unfold organically; don't seek to control or micro-manage. Let things be messy when they are, and keep learning and modeling.

Document everything you do, preferably on video with interviews. Document changes and results, and capture enthusiasm.

Get the word out in all the natural ways available.

Have ways of monitoring, getting feedback, and revising/improving.

Model the human relating you desire to encourage.An operating ethics, ways of relating.

Discerning what functions are needed, creating roles to do those, filling those with people.

Boundaries, identity. A way of taking in people, maybe screening first whether they will fit, and also a way of removing people who don't fit.

Integrating and increasing synergy with the larger culture.

Intend to be a prototype, build in those functions and activities.

Allow others who want to build on your model to come in and participate and then go out and create their own versions; stay in touch; synergize.

"Amplifying Divine Light in All" Church said...

This is the third of a 3-part comment

Elements of a school for children:

Theme (Like art, music, dance, etc.": Choose what is natural to the people and the culture, and bonding and doesn't require experts, and builds confidence and transcends differences

A place to operate, preferably a dedicated space.

Getting the word out

How children find the place and are accepted. Relationship to parents and families.


A way to handle money.

A way to agree on decisions about operations and policies.

Children teaching children.

Emphasis on excellence but without fear of making mistakes; learning and enjoyment as primaries.

General notes to myself about possible systems relevant to a template prototype:

Parameters of description applicable to any prototype endeavor: PatternDynamics? Organizational functions and roles? Other "living systems" frameworks of description?

Prototyping results in a Movement and is the way it spreads most rapidly. Principles of living systems, for both the prototypes and the movement. See Bill Baren's new emphasis on "Movement Marketing!"