Leading Living Systems

Pachamama Alliance • 27 January 2020

“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works, and the way people think.” - Gregory Bateson

Much of modern society is based on a mechanical system model, which sees us as separate from everyone and everything. Institutions, organizations, and groups that operate within this model reinforce separation in the ways they define and pursue success, leading to outcomes that can degrade both people and the planet—sometimes despite the best of intentions.

In this talk, Dr. Kathleen Allen offers a different model, one that uses nature as a source of inspiration. She offers a new set of questions for us to consider in working with others within this living system model that replace those that arise in a mechanical system:

What do I need to control? ➔ What can I unleash?
Who can make this work? ➔ What interactions will make this work?
How do I avoid resistance? ➔ How do I welcome resistance?
How do I influence individual actions? ➔ How do I influence the field (or culture)?
How can I create change? ➔ How can I transform energy that already exists in the system?

What reflections do you have on the mechanical system and living system models? What possibilities might the questions that arise from the living system model offer you in your home, work, or community?