Friday, 22 May 2009

How far up the ladder dare we go?

Came across some interesting ideas from Tom Atlee in an article about 'crisis and evolutionary leverage for philanthropy'. (I'm talking about the creative uses of crisis at the Theatre Forum Ireland conference next month.) He describes an interesting 'ladder of intervention', suggesting 'the higher on the ladder that activism or philanthropy can intervene, the more leverage for evolutionary transformation it can have.' The word leverage inspires a bit of a twinge these days, but at least he's using it as a noun not a verb.

The ladder relates to previous topics about resilience and systems. Some of the terms may be a little opaque at first glance, and you could argue these things are not strictly sequential but the general idea is helpful, I think, for funders to think about. It might also be useful for peer-to-peer review or support and collaboration to think about. Here it is:

8. EVOLUTIONARY CATALYTIC ACTION: Tweaking the evolutionary process in a system, especially at crisis points, especially through enhancing its collective intelligence and wisdom
7. SOCIAL SHAMANISM: Working the context, culture, story, paradigm, goal, field, etc., within which a system operates
6. SOCIAL SYSTEMS DESIGN: Designing and reworking overall systems and feedback dynamics
5. SERVANT LEADERSHIP: Designing and empowering networks and communities; building capacity for self-organization in specific realms
4. PROCESS ARTISTRY: Hosting generative interactions among a system's diverse players, stakeholders, leaders, etc.
3. ACTIVISM: Mobilizing concerned citizens and victims for causes and candidates to change conditions
2. EDUCATION: Giving people the information/training they need to help themselves as individuals and groups
1. CHARITY: Helping individuals and groups directly
0. SYMPATHY: Knowing and resonating with another's suffering, and letting others know.

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