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Releasing complexity, source code solutions, training post-formal actors, next generation leadership, sensemaking, open participatory organizations

A new generation of leaders

In this article I introduce the notion of the post-formal actor. In contrast to the notion of “formal-actors” as most people who follow the formal roles, rules, norms, and procedures that society, organizations and institutions assign to formally specified contexts, we define post-formal actors (PFA) as people who “operate on” the roles, rules, norms and procedures, by challenging and experimenting with them, (perhaps even ignoring and obliterating them), and by creating new roles, rules, norms and procedures. …

Help me build out C-LABS

During the lockdown I worked on creating a new project called C-LABS. You can check out the website (which is a work in progress) at

I am still in the process of building out the website, and producing content. But I thought I would start attracting people to the website sooner rather than later. (One of the action protocols we teach at C-LABS is becoming an attractor organization, which means you get interest flowing first, and then design your work around where the participation is flowing. …

In a recent twitter thread I talked about COVID and our policy response as a certain kind of problem that our existing mental models are not adequate to address. These kinds of problems are not causal systems where you intervene at a single point of entry. These problems are densely entangled multi-polar systems with complex feed loops and threshold events.

I posted this fantastic article on obesity to illustrate this kind of problem. The article details all the inadequate theories that have attempted to address the obesity pandemic that has now infected the entire world, including our pets, lab rats…

Image from Defense Systems Information Analysis Center

How action protocols reveal key choice points to solve wicked problems

Rule-bound coordination of action

Imagine you are lost in the forest. You have a map, but it is hopelessly outdated. The forest has changed a lot. The stream that was is now a lake (beavers!) the old paths are overgrown and the young paths point in different directions. If you use your map as a rule book, it is less than useful. You will walk right into the lake, in the same way that people drive off bridges when they merely obey the instructions that their gps is giving. …

Why you’re so confused by money

Years ago, I ran a boutique architectural-design-build-contracting firm. The seasonal nature of the business meant that you procured all the materials you would need for the coming season, during the off-season months. All winter we’d buy the masonry and landscape materials that would be installed in the projects that were contracted for the coming year. Clients would pay for their projects on an installment basis — meaning that cash flow was always tied up in inventory at the beginning of the season. But when the season started, that’s when the payroll and subcontractor…

An opportunity to turn things around has been laid on our doorstep
[Note, this and other articles in this publication, have been made possible by a writing grant from Perspectiva.}

In the midst of the Coronavirus outbreak, we have the chance to learn about how society maintains itself in the face of systemic vulnerability. Most of the emphasis is on making sure the system is stable enough to help us get through it. And of course, this is a big concern. But I want to highlight the opposite.

We are in a situation where people are staying home, away from…

How the Anthropocene is Changing our Minds

I have been writing and presenting how the Anthropocene is changing our minds. Some of this has to do with the deep, underlying ways in which we organize our conceptions of reality. We rely on deep, metaphysical mental models that operate below the radar of consciousness. These can be thought of as the very foundations of mind that make thought possible, or alternately as the architecture of mind. This particular architecture of mind that operates today has been around for approximately 3000 years. There is evidence that it is changing.

One of the…

Native Narrative Architects, Children’s Learning Center, Phillipines

Outlining a new infrastucture for transformational education

Note: This and other articles in this publication has been made possible through the support of Perspectiva

A society’s educational system exists in both time and space. It represents the continuity of intergenerational transmission over time, and the institutional structures that have been put in place from the policy makers down through the local communities. A “whole systems” approach to change would be needed to enact a transformational philosophy of education. But how would a society pull this off? There is an alternative. A society can have two parallel education paths at the same time. There would be the…

Excerpted from a work in progress on education for human flourishing

This and other articles in this publication has been made possible through the support of Perspectiva

A philosophy of education based on transformation and human flourishing would switch the inquiry from how much is the student learning, to what kind of person is the student becoming? If you are an educator, this is probably a daunting statement. It leads to an overwhelming responsibility for one individual. This is why, if the educational system is going to take on the responsibility for the character of the person, it must undergo a significant structural change. In early childhood, when the task is most daunting, it means something like an entire village must be created to meet this…

Bonnitta Roy

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