Foresight "Group Genius" Weekend
Leaping the Abyss:
Putting Group Genius to Work
Gayle Pergamit and Chris Peterson
knOwhere Press, 1997
Table of Contents
"For what can the teeming molecules
that hustled themselves into self-reproducing metabolisms, the cells coordinating
their behaviors to form multicelled organisms, the ecosystems, and even
economic and political systems have in common? The wonderful possibility,
to be held as a working hypothesis, bold but fragile, is that on many fronts,
life evolves toward a regime that is poised between order and chaos. The
evocative phrase that points to this working hypothesis is this: life exists
at the edge of chaos. . . Networks in the regime near the edge of chaos--this
compromise between order and surprise--appear best able to coordinate complex
activities and best able to evolve as well."
-- Stuart Kauffman, At Home in the Universe
I: Three Days: Collaborating at the Edge of Chaos
compressing time to action and generating orders of magnitude
returns. . . bringing collaboration out of conflict and a scarcity mentality.
. . the structure must evolve because structure wins. . . you must start
with the current "DNA" and go from there
II: Gathering Genius
everything speaks. . . setting the tone in the music of
our lives and our work. . . folding many different perspectives and individuals
together in the work. . . employing a process to focus as much data and
energy as possible. . . creating a neutral space for discovery and interaction
III: Freeing Time and Attention
shattering the limitations we accept about time. . . employing
techniques to provide the focus and discipline necessary for breakthrough
creativity. . . balance intensity, immersion, concentration, attention,
rhythm over time. . . executing multiple cycles of the creative process
leads to geometrically increasing returns
IV: Prospecting at the Edge
learning to scan individually and in teams. . . stretching
mental muscles. . . employing a comprehensive toolkit instead of looking
for the silver bullet. . . you can't drive change and still be careful.
. . what it means to be in a design process
V: Mapping the Terrain
the difference between scanning and planning. . . employing
the first half of the creative process for learning so that good decisions
can be made in the second half. . . the importance of managing knowledge.
. . increasing the flow of the data stream. . . using scanning to outframe
VI: The Architecture of Collaboration
using changes in the physical environment as aids in making
mental leaps and emotional shifts. . . managing the environment so that
people become naturally and spontaneously creative, productive and cooperative
VII: Facing the Abyss
creating the game. . . engendering collaboration. . . the
discipline of the change agent. . . the role of the facilitator. . . embracing
the risk of starting with a blank piece of paper. . . asking the right questions.
. . living with uncertainty, ambiguity, and paradox. . . embracing discomfort
as a precursor to fundamental change. . . solving problems instead of assuaging
conditions. . . getting out of the box by being a kid again
VIII: Simplify by Increasing Complexity
employing complex metaphors to illuminate complicated problems.
. . using indirect and non-linear approaches to understanding complex systems.
. . understanding that the problem is so complex that it requires the consideration
of hundreds of options instead of just a few
IX: Inventing the Problem
following the process of iteration: design, test and redesign.
. . avoiding a limited solution set. . . broadening the definition of the
problem. . . building models
X: Magic Behind the Scenes
the science and art of facilitating the creative process.
. . flocking and swarming. . . exemplifying the behavior you want to see
established. . . supporting the creative process by being invisible. . .
being in the game as a collaborator, never an observer. . .
XI: Tactical Planning at Warp Speed
making deep changes; avoid exhausting yourself in the little
changes. . . the art of assembling the high performing team. . . envisioning
the preferred future state and then bringing a little of the future back
to here every day
XII: Designing the Ride
embracing wholeness in the process: there is no single point
or event that triggers the solution to precipitate. . . creating a balance
between scripting and improvisation. . . building a design for an event
instead of an agenda. . . using the scan focus act model as a template for
designing a session
XIII: Giving up the Illusion of Control
how to sponsor a DesignShop. . . overcoming the fear of
embracing true collaboration without exerting control. . . letting the vision,
plan and the implementation emerge
XIV: "The Future is Rational Only in Hindsight"
how to bring the results of a DesignShop back home. . .
structure wins. . . determining which structures to change in order to redirect
and loosen the hold of the status quo
the assumptions underlying collaboration, creativity, planning,
and the emergence of enterprise