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Flourishing Through Coherence: Meshworking Multi-Stakeholders
By Drs. Anne-Marie Voorhoeve
The Meshworking approach is designed to develop effective multi-stakeholder cooperation,
in which systemic solutions are created to complex issues. Meshworking is a relatively new methodology. It is robust but also a work in progress and continuously under development. It is through experience that our capabilities are growing. This essay shares the story of my exploration in the context of building Yellow vMeme organizational forms in CHE Netherlands and The Hague Center for Global Governance, Innovation and Emergence from 2006- 2012.
Meshworking In The Real World
- Bibliotheca Alexandria, Egypt: Just After The February 2011 Revolution
45 young Egyptian citizens, boys and girls, have responded to a Facebook invitation. They have come together and are sharing their reasons for wanting to be in this meeting on their day off from school. They are confused and hopeful. What can they do now? What is best? How can they help to render more permanent this new found freedom? You can really see on their faces how much they want to play a role in the changes their country is going through. With enthusiasm they dive into the Meshwork process and go with the flow.
The chairman of YES Egypt and I kick off the meeting with an introduction to frame the contours. In no time at all they have split up in small groups to discuss potential breakthrough areas:
- “What would we like to work on?”
- “Which conditions do we need for progress?”
- “Who does what for the next meeting?”
Over the coming six weeks they will meet regularly to discuss progress, identify hiccups and check whether they are still on the right track toward concise actions and clear steps on the road to a joint purpose. During check-out, all of them speak from their heads and hearts about the deep meaning of this afternoon’s session. To be able to raise their voices and get full attention is a completely new and thrilling experience for them.
In 2012, more than a year later, YES Egypt had developed a number of initiatives for the development of jobs for young people by young people. Not every wish had been granted, of course. But, as is stated by YES, “The impact of this joint experience of talking freely and listening to each other with an open mind and heart, of building together in co-creation, can still be felt.”
- An Early Morning In Mexico, Puerto Morelos, Close To Cancun: December 2010
Together with nine Meshworkers and a guest, I am preparing for another day of work for the UN Climate Conference COP16. On today’s agenda: embodiment of the Principles of Synnervation. We are on the beach, working in a large circle and in small groups, practicing specific moves while softly pronouncing the appropriate matching affirmations. This will prepare us to tune into the day, to come and be fully aligned for the work that awaits us. Because of these preparations, participants open up to be fully in the flow of the day, and they open their hearts to meet each other there. From this state of being they can see clearly which specific piece each of them is holding in his or her hands, to help solve the complex puzzle of climate change. Nearby, pelicans are surfing the waves in a beautiful dance.
- Belo Horizonte, Brazil: August 2009
225 people from different countries and sectors of society came together: representatives of NGOs and commercial companies, activists and policy makers. During the four days of this conference, they created a roadmap for change, dedicated to the goal of significant reduction of CO2 emissions. We took this roadmap with us to the UN Climate Conference, COP15 in Copenhagen and to the COP16 in Cancun and shared it with the participants of those conferences. They experienced the roadmap in a way that let them perceive and discover the specific piece of the puzzle for each of them. This work provided them with a clear view and outlook, with energy and trust for further steps into the complex world of climate change.
- A Cold Winter’s Valentine’s Day, Overveen (The Netherlands): February 2012
In one of the authentic historical rooms of a majestic building complex, Herman Wijffels, Ard Hordijk and I are preparing for the roundtable conversation with around fifteen Marketing Executives. A five hour Meshworking session ensues about the necessity of the transition towards a circular economy and sustainable society, and around the question, “How will marketing contribute to this transition?” The motivation of the participants to contribute is convincing. Their attitude to cooperation and open sharing of knowledge is strong. The first moves in the initiation of the Meshwork “Beyond Marketing” are made. The roundtable conference eventually leads towards a new definition of the marketing profession, “A profession that facilitates relationships with all stakeholders (clients, shareholders, employees, customers) and takes care of those in a way that they are sustained and can keep evolving. Marketing’s aim is to foster relationships and create sustainable value.”
The examples in the above paragraphs are a testimony of my seven years’ experience (2006-2012) in working for the Center for Human Emergence, The Netherlands (CHE NL) and The Hague Center for Global Governance, Innovation and Emergence. At the core of all CHE NL undertakings is this injunction formulated into its Purpose & Principles: authentically work from and practice Oneness consciousness, as a sacred partnership in life. Meshworking is important in this respect because it can strengthen and improve coherence in the world. CHE NL is a foundation, a community, a movement of people from different backgrounds and disciplines and owns the consultancy agency Synnervate. The mission of CHE NL is to develop innovative concepts and sustainable solutions to address the huge societal challenges of the current timeframe. In 2008 Peter Merry (founder of CHE NL) and I set up The Hague Center in the context of CHE, working closely with Lisette Schuitemaker (now chair of CHE NL) and Juan Carlos Kaiten to serve the evolution of global governance, innovation and emergence by further developing the vision, concept and practice of Meshworks.
In this essay I will describe what Meshworking encompasses through our experience, why and how the Meshwork process is designed and implemented, and what is required on the side of participants and facilitators. I will also explain some of the underlying theories and concepts using real life examples to illustrate this. Over the coming years the team of The Hague Center will further develop the Meshwork methodology, following the change cycle of do, experience, learn and adapt.
- Need In The World
Our society is in transition, a process of unprecedented scope and scale. The crises and the challenges of the widening gaps between cultures are the consequences of our successes over the last decades. Solutions simply cannot be found when we keep thinking and acting the way we did until now. We need to develop new, more complex and creative ways of thinking and acting.
At The Hague Center and CHE we look at what is happening from an integral, evolutionary perspective. This shows us not only how everything is connected and interdependent, but also which role each of us plays in this individually. We look at the changes and consequences at all levels. When we are able to foresee the impact of changes on the individual as well as at the collective level, we can adapt as necessary, both in our personal behavior and in the way we organize ourselves. It is essential to learn to improve cooperation and coherence in all our doings, at a local, national, international and even a cosmic level. This does not mean that initiatives should always be combined, bundled or centralized. It does mean improving the coherence between initiatives in ways in which they can build upon and strengthen each other. In our research we do not have a clear picture yet as to the question of how to find a good balance between local and world-scale programs. The endeavor to create greater coherence is a relatively recent one, and initiatives can differ hugely in progress and successful outcomes.
Meshworking can be a way to realize coherence, following one comprehensive methodology. The concept was originally developed by Dr. Don E. Beck, author of the book: Spiral Dynamics and founder of the Center for Human Emergence Global and taken forward in different forms and expressions in the international CHE community. I learned about Meshworking in 2006. As it is, Meshworking in The Hague Center has been developed in a continuous interaction between theory and practice, reflection and action. In each and every situation, we have searched for, applied and evaluated further, ideas and concepts which would help create coherence. We proceeded by doing and learning, in collaboration with subject matter experts. We adapted our ways of working for use in later projects. From the start, we have been working closely together with Morel Fourman and his team at Gaiasoft. We have developed, and are developing, software tools to support Meshworking projects, and creating the right conditions for projects to be successful. Based on lessons learned, each time we are adding more building blocks to create a “Meshwork Body of Knowledge” to be made available to our world in transition.
2. Meshworking Concept
“Meshworking” includes the word mesh. In Beck’s paper, The Meshworks Foundation: a new Approach to Philanthropy, he describes seven different types of institutions correlated with seven value systems described by Spiral Dynamics Integral (SDi). The most recent and complex of those institutions, matching the Yellow, integral value system, is the Meshworks Foundation. A Meshwork Foundation aims to “identify, integrate, align and mobilize all available resources. These, in turn, are focused like laser beams on specific challenges, goals, objectives, or outcomes.” Beck describes Meshworking as an approach in which an overarching goal is found for all parties involved, which includes the individual goals, but at the same time asks parties to let go of purely individual interests, and as such brings in “the third win.” In this approach, the best outcome is not the best solution as such, but the solution that fits best in a given context.
When I came to know about Don Beck’s vision on SDi, Meshworking and the concept of a global Vital Signs Monitor, the Meshworking flame was immediately ignited in me. I am grateful for his tremendous insights and his endeavor to put it into wordings and bring it into the world. It was like I received all the right words pointing out my road to follow. It made me see how separate pieces of the puzzle of my life fit together, and I was presented with a roadmap with directions and orientation points for the next steps on my journey. Fred Matser’s invitation to work together for the startup of the “Malaria no More!” program in The Netherlands in 2006 was a unique opportunity to start experimenting, discovering and learning. In this same period of time the operating context of CHE NL became more explicit, and through this, a safe container was created for all our explorations. As CHE NL, we have grown from a network of people responding to the call of Peter Merry and Don Beck in 2005, to a community of practice with shared purpose and principles which keep evolving with us and our work. Our community of practice is organized using Holacracy and the Art of Hosting, and has a clear vital rhythm of coming together, physically as well as virtually, in the heart, to share, learn, develop, research, co-create and engage.
The further development of Meshworking is a major focus of The Hague Center as is developing Turquoise practices. We currently describe Meshworking as a structured approach for cooperation between organizations and initiatives, with the aim to accelerate learning and emerge results more directly. The ultimate goal of Meshworking is to enable the development and implementation of systemic solutions for the worldwide challenges we are facing. This includes developing and practicing new ways of cooperation. The expertise of Morel Fourman and his Gaiasoft team makes it possible to capture “knowledge accidents” during a Meshworking project. This collection of knowledge becomes available to support all participants within the Meshwork. This helps those involved to easily find the specific people and knowledge needed to best fulfill their role in the project. Time spent reinventing wheels is diminished, and costly failures are avoided. In the end, it is all about the development of prototypes which quicken implementation and facilitate upscaling, and in this way add value to our world in transition.
3. Underlying Concepts Of The Hague Center’s Body Of Knowledge
To further develop parts of Meshworking in each project we look for and apply value-adding theories. We use SDi and Integral Theory as common lenses to look at the world and understand the complexities and dynamics of change. Other concepts and theories we use in Meshworking are Art of Hosting, Theory U, Double S Curve, Lifecycle of Emergence, ECOIntention, Systemic Constellation Work, the Wheel of Co-Creation of Barbara Marx Hubbard, the work of Ervin Laszlo and the Club of Budapest, and the ancient wisdom of Egypt, Africa, Mexico and other Wisdom Keepers of the Earth.
Spiral Dynamics (Beck, 2006) describes the value systems of the world as “adaptive intelligences which come into existence in response to specific external conditions or specific challenges.” When and if a challenge is addressed, energy is released. Of course, the new found solution will come with new challenges of a higher complexity, which in turn will require new solutions at this new level of complexity.
3.1 Integral Theory
The model of the four quadrants is an important part of Integral Theory by Ken Wilber (Wilber, 2001). It helps us to understand how attitudes and behaviors of individuals, group cultures, and systems and structures in a given context, are connected and interrelated. For the development of effective methods and solutions for societal transformation, attention is needed to all aspects: technology, individual behavior, transformation and collective meanings and values.
Systems and structures
3.2 Art of Hosting
For the design of Meshwork processes, we make use of the insights in group dynamics, and of the methods and social techniques which Art of Hosting offers, such as World Cafe, Open Space and Peer Circle. Its principles help to bring forward the maximum collective intelligence, to integrate and collect the fruits of diversity, and to minimize and transform arising conflicts. Art of Hosting leads to joint clarity and meaningful action, and makes it possible to find sustainable and productive solutions for the most complex problems.
3.3 Theory U
In Meshworking we use the Theory U model as a compass for the development of a common vision for the future, around a certain theme that is shared by all parties involved. Theory U is designed to help transform systems and people, fundamentally and resiliently, from old to new ways of thinking and acting (Scharmer, 2007 and Merry, 2006).
3.4 Double S Curves And Life Cycle of Emergence
Both the model of the Double S Curves and the vision of the Life Cycle of Emergence make it clear to me which specific role Meshworking can play in the development of new systems. For that reason both are explained more elaborately here. In terms of the Double S Curves, Meshworking is mainly important for the connection and strengthening of all pilot initiatives, and for the spreading out and upscaling of successful initiatives. With Meshworking, in this sense, robust new ways of thinking and acting can be developed with the potential to evolve into real alternatives for existing systems. Meshworking makes use of the Berkana Institute’s model of conscious and planned network building, and the formation of Communities of Practice, both essential for the proper functioning of the Meshwork.
The Double S Curves model is based on chaos and complexity theory. The assumption is that a development graph of a complex social system takes the form of an S Curve. After a slow startup phase, a period of steeper rise follows, after which inevitably a slowdown takes place, which eventually leads to a total stopping of growth. Some people can understand when this slowdown phase has started, and have the capabilities to develop new ways of working at that point. This is when the second S Curve starts. The first phase of a new system has a lot of trial and error. Many experiments will fail and turn out not to be resilient; in other cases they are successful, they do grow and get adopted by others. This is the way a new system starts to develop, one that better matches the new context and conditions. The dynamics of the Double S Curves are shown in the figure below.
Wheatley and Frieze (Berkana Institute, 2006) have done a lot of research into the lifecycle of social changes. Separate, local initiatives and experiments are connected and build upon each other as learning communities (Communities of Practice). For external observers this often happens surprisingly quickly. Thus they form systems of influence. These in turn have qualities and capacities which surpass those of the individual initiatives, and have more power and impact than any individual initiative could have. With this, a new system has come into existence.
Movements of social change in the process of upscaling follow the same phasing:
© CHE NL & THC, Model of Berkana Institute adapted to Meshworking, 2010
- Phase 1: Networks. In the first phase, likeminded people find each other in networks. Often with an underlying self interest, a network offers opportunities to promote the realization of individual goals in one or more areas of life.
- Phase 2: Communities of Practice (CoP). A community of practice can evolve when a network develops capacities to learn, where people trust each other, gradually open up, share their dilemmas, and learn from each other. They start to participate, not only for themselves, but also to help others. In a community of practice, knowledge is shared and eventually brought up to a level of standardization that makes it available for even broader use.
- Phase 3: Systems of Influence. The third phase appears not to be predictable. Suddenly a new system emerges into life which has a power and influence of its own. In this phase, methods developed in the CoPs become standards, and people and organisations from different sectors of society adopt the new ways of working without much resistance.
Based on these insights, Berkana Institute has developed a set of roles to help organisations who wish to foster developments in the above direction:
- Naming role, for the identification of front runners.
- Connecting role, in which likeminded people are brought in touch with each other.
- Nourishing role, which takes care that the right conditions are created for initiatives to grow, e.g. for group learning.
- Illuminating role, to make visible and explain clearly the wealth of choices and possibilities the new system has to offer.
- Terminal care, the role to facilitate the decay of the old system in a way that is as healthy as possible.
With my background in PR and marketing, I can see many initiatives where my experience can be of value, particularly when the Naming and Connecting functionality is required. The challenge currently is in the forming of nourishing and illuminating roles, with the underlying question of how to gradually work towards building the new S Curve and systems of influence.
- Meshwork, Network & Community of Practice
A Meshwork differs from a network in a number of aspects. In a network, the individual participant and his or her goals is in the center of it all. Functions of the network can be finding a principal or client, and getting new knowledge or experience. In a Meshwork, however, the self-interest of the individual is aligned with the overarching goal of the Meshwork. Participants put themselves in service of this broader goal, and at the same time participants bring the best of themselves to the process. This creates a situation in which they can also serve their own interests. On top of that, a broader goal provides a direction to initiatives, and lets individual participants perceive what piece of the puzzle they are holding.
5. Meshworking In Practice
5.1 Tailored Approach And Basic Steps
Over the last few years, Meshworking trajectories have unfolded in very different contexts. In every specific context, and around every theme, a tailored approach has developed, building on our robust framework. Factors determining what is needed can include the complexity of the theme at hand, where the theme is on the Double S Curve, which parties operate in that field, how their cooperation is characterized, and at which level of mutual trust they cooperate. Taking into account all these factors means that the Meshwork itself is in a constant state of development. But at the same time, a number of generic building blocks have become visible, described in the case study below.
From November 26-28, 2008, the conference, “Parliamentarians Take Action on Maternal and Newborn Health” took place in The Hague, The Netherlands. The group of 85 participants consisted of parliamentarians from 35 countries, and representatives of the United Nations and the World Health Organization. I was asked to support the organizers in design, development and execution of the conference. The goal was to speed up the process toward the UN Millennium Goals 4 and 5, improving the health of mothers and newborn children. We designed the conference to be experiential with Meshworking as the chosen approach for vision, methodology and practice.
All participants came together, got acquainted, shared experiences, and met related parties like the Dutch and European parliamentarians, the Dutch industry, NGOs and research institutes, all of whom were in some way participating in the conference program. Also participating were the in that year 2008 Dutch Minister of Developmental Cooperation, Bert Koenders, and his counterpart of Health, Ab Klink, as well as Her Royal Highness Queen Màxima (who was then Princess), who personally stressed the importance of multi-stakeholder cooperation. At the end of the three days of the conference, the Roadmap for the Meshwork was ready. The following steps had been taken:
1) Identify a shared cause and goal around the key theme or area. In the case of the Millennium Goals 4 and 5, participants were aware of the necessity to act, and between them it was clear they also had the knowledge to do so. The MDG5 goals, and the research of WHO and UN organizations, provided the common theme and point of departure for the journey. During the conference, participants developed stories, images and visions for the future and of a world in 2015, in which the overarching goal indeed would be realized.
2) Identify the crucial breakthrough areas which have to be addressed in the Meshwork. In the old government building of the Second Chamber in The Hague, round tables were positioned to enable varying groups of ten to work together in a World Cafe setting and determine breakthrough areas. In the third and last round, participants were asked to give their input to determine the top five areas:
a. Commitment of policy makers,
d. Financial systems,
e. Health systems and cultures in combination with values and lifestyles.
3) Identify the conditions for success, and value-added to the overarching goal for each breakthrough area, and determine in what ways the desired end state is already visible. In the area of culture, for example, conditions were defined around media support, linking cultures, human rights and legislation, and also the conditions to counter negative consequences by planned interventions in which differences in values and lifestyles are acknowledged.
4) For each condition, identify already existing solutions, cases, challenges and active parties involved. An Integral Meshwork Case Audit was translated into a simple questionnaire. In groups, the participants worked with this questionnaire to collect lessons learned and find examples of solutions or cases for each local region. Where possible these lessons and solutions were combined with names of people with hands-on experience of the specific case. This information was captured into an online information system, thus becoming part of the structured framework. (In the future we will include SDi profiling in the process, adding to the global Vital Signs Monitor and serving connection and coherence.)
5) Identify the next steps for all participants. In an Open Space process, participants wanting to take similar actions could find each other and make plans for further cooperation. Often in cases like this we try to design an open podium or marketplace where participants present their plans using a range of art forms. This is a great way to offer others the opportunity to connect. In the case of this conference, the most appropriate format was a dialogue. This offered parliamentarians a chance to share ideas and steps they were planning to take in their home country. This was also a way for all individuals to anchor the resolutions they had made for themselves. The overall total of breakthrough areas, conditions and success stories was put into the online Meshwork Template, as shown in the figure below. The circles depict the breakthrough areas, and the blocks represent the conditions.
5.2 Monitoring, Implementation And Learning: Systems Carrying The Whole In A Comprehensible Way
In our experience there are many events in which people gather, inspire each other, and co- create and define actions, but it appears to be a real challenge to keep the energy high in the period after such an event. It’s also a problem when people gather to synchronize and decide on actions, even execute those actions, but do not have the awareness and binding impact of an overarching goal and grand vision. In the Meshwork approach, both the high energy, goal and vision, are meant to be linked.
The Meshwork template as developed in the “Parliamentarians Take Action!” case © THC & Gaiasoft
Besides the architecture of connections and relationships, the organizational structure is also of importance. The organizational structure can be in support of, or detrimental to, the realization of the goals and ambitions of a project or entity. The design of networks and projects needs to be attuned to the precise nature of the complexity. Over the last years, Marcel van Marrewijk has followed our practice and learnings and describes appropriate structures. In his book, Cubrix, zicht op organisatieontwikkeling en performance-verbetering (Marrewijk, 2011), he confirms that rigid methods of project management are not a good fit for complex multi-stakeholder trajectories because those methods do not take non-linear dynamics into account.
Also, multi-stakeholder trajectories seldom have a homogenous culture, which makes it necessary to consciously design an organizational structure that matches such situations. Furthermore, instruments are needed for the facilitation of face-to-face and online cooperation, sharing of knowledge and other resources, speeding up the learning and innovation process, and capturing areas of interest, roles, functions, sectors and locations where people can be found. All of this has led us to connect the Meshwork Template to the Meshwork Monitoring and Evaluation parts of the Gaiasoft software system. The system as a whole has, you could say, embodied the Meshwork intention, and is designed with the eye on the Meshwork process of “dynamic steering.” After each step is taken, the attention flows to the natural next step, while at the same time the potential tensions which are a consequence of the step taken become visible. The framework and scorecards of the Gaiasoft system can be used for structured meetings to monitor progress and look into the actions needed for success. In this way much becomes visible. Having said this, it is important that participants realize that scorecards are not meant to be used for judgment of individuals, but to create transparency for trust, support and cooperation.
5.3 Principles As A Steering Mechanism
One of the challenges which arise when we want to develop a Meshwork is the lack of one principal party that makes the final decisions and bears overall responsibility. Instead, there are a number of parties which are drawn to a deeper calling. They feel called, but are not able to answer on their own, so they commit collectively to find a solution together, the Third Win, as Don Beck calls it. From experience, we have learned that the formulation and affirmation of principles can help to create an enduring cooperation with real results, and can even be a critical success condition. By following the Meshwork Definition Process we designed for this purpose, we can quickly come to a set of principles for a particular case, and to the joint embodiment of those principles. An example of the principles developed with the Meshwork Definition Process:
Principles for collaboration
We take care to include all perspectives.
It is of crucial importance that representatives of all different interests are present (the whole system in the room), or that there are participants who are able to take an independent position, and from there can bring in all different perspectives.
We aim at the higher, overarching goal.
We focus on functionality instead of judging who is right or wrong.
What is right instead of who is right, so that we are taking the right decisions and actions together.
We make explicit which unique value-add each and every party brings to the higher goal, and appreciate them for it.
We make our own individual interests and drives explicit to each other, and look with deep attention into those of other parties.
In this way we prevent hidden agendas disrupting the process. We strive for openness because it is a critical factor to build trust between parties.
We identify existing initiatives and resources, and create focus and connection by collectively aiming for success in the breakthrough areas.
Breakthrough areas are themes that need our dedication and work to get the necessary breakthrough.
We use friction and supposedly opposite interests to foster synergy and co-creation.
We enter into a conversation instead of making quick compromises nobody really wants.
We take care that the Meshwork will have a clear and recognizable identity.
Example of Principles of cooperation with explanation, developed using the Meshwork Definition Process.
5.4 Leadership In Meshworking
In my everyday work in a Meshwork, I am fulfilling several different roles, such as Meshwork initiator, architect, group process counselor, facilitator and space holder. As stated before, there is not a main leader or key decision maker in a Meshwork. In essence, all participants in the Meshwork bear responsibility for reaching the higher goal. In most cases it is up to me or my team members to be the shepherd of the overarching collective interest. To be able to fulfill this role, personal prework, continuous work and a deeper consciousness are required, sensing capacities are needed, as are the capabilities to formulate a relational and energetic design.
In 2009-2010 a design group within CHE NL, consisting of three men and three women (including myself), asked ourselves the question, “What would be required to design a Meshwork and a Meshwork curriculum?” We wanted to communicate clearly about the roles and capabilities of a Meshweaver (a person who plays a critical role in the design and facilitation of a Meshwork), because we wanted to enlarge our group of Meshweavers. In an intense and sacred process, a set of principles emerged which we named the “Principles of Synnervation”. Synnervation means interconnecting and vitalizing, and is the core practice of members of Synnervate, the consulting group of CHE NL. During this process, we made a clear distinction between the different perspectives and the four quadrants of the integral model: I/WE/IT/ITS. Also we found that specific principles could be related to the chakras. The principles we formulated then were tested and sharpened during a CHE NL Salon, in a workshop with people of widely diverse backgrounds, and in various settings of The Hague Center’s projects.
Principles of Synnervation © CHE NL
Principles of Synnervation © CHE NL
5.5 How Can These Principles Be Used?
I make use of those principles in several ways, depending on my own needs, that of the group and goals at a given moment. A few examples to illustrate possibilities:
- Integral principles used to define the practices of Synnervation.
- Design principles used for meeting, group work or Meshworks.
- Principles used for integral cooperation.
- Affirmations to touch and awaken our chakras and energy system.
- Healing, connecting and vitalizing principles used to strengthen oneness consciousness.
- Principles used to touch, invoke and set free the complete (whole) spectrum of human capacities.
Based on my experience I nowadays tend to look at the focus I will need and the process that I serve. In the startup phase of a group it can be functionally correct to start with the I principles, inviting and allowing every person to be fully present and centered. The WE principles can play a role to strengthen the cohesion within the group. When I am working together with another facilitator, we will do this together. Depending on the level of consciousness of the group, and when relevant, I will bring the principles into the circle. In case of a teleconference I sometimes read them out loud as a form of support for alignment. In the Meshwork team Juan Carlos Kaiten and I lead of ten people from eight countries in Puerto Morelos, Cancun Mexico, for the UN COP16 in 2010, we made use of the Principles of Synnervation on a daily basis and combined them with a series of balancing yoga exercises.
- Resonating Leadership and ECOIntention
The principles of resonating leadership formulated by Hans Andeweg, Center for ECOIntention (formerly ECOtherapy) intended to direct attention and intention of an organization, fit well with my own work and experiences in Spaceholding and Meshwork Shepherding.
6.1 Principles Of Resonating Leadership
- Inner peace.
- Awareness of the whole.
- Capacity to sense into the whole.
- Expertise and experience.
- Define, visualize and affirm goals.
© Hans Andeweg, Center for ECOIntention
I consciously work towards creating a heart connection with the participants and the higher goal and with my personal intention to contribute. The four year vocational course Practitioner in ECOtherapy/ECOIntention, Energetic guardianship for Economical and Ecological balance has deepened my practice. ECOIntention is a well defined and scoped method for the development and improvement of the vitality and self-organization of systems. It is applicable to a natural, ecological system as well as for a human-made economic environment and can be used in systemic change processes. It can be applied worldwide, both on a small and large scale, in co-operation with the responsible manager (henceforth the energy guard or guardian).
7. Results And Lessons Learned
Over the last years our experience with all the different aspects of Meshworking has been growing. Meshworking practices are still young and under continuous development. Much has been probed and has proven to be more - or less - successful. There are recent initiatives, and those which lasted only for a short period. All this makes it difficult to indicate the outcomes and exact results for a given initiative. It is also complex sometimes to point out which outcomes are the effects of Meshworking and which are attributed to other causes.
Examples of lessons learned:
- Particularly in cases where no investments were made in harvesting and “community gardening”, it has proven to be difficult to keep the right level of attention and focus on the Meshwork Roadmap. Meshworks require a longer process to develop in which it is important to really keep the Roadmap alive. In a number of initiatives only one large meeting took place.
- Participants find it difficult to bring the commitments they made to the Meshwork with them into their daily work and find the right adaptations therein. Most of the time there were no financial means to professionally support this process. In the more recent initiatives, we are looking for ways to create and maintain long term connections amongst others by investing in the development of strategic partnerships with the relevant parties in a given field.
- Overall, participants are positive about the cooperation with relevant partners for a collective higher goal.
- Participants often state that they experience a renewed passion for their own work, because they have seen that they are holding an essential piece of the whole puzzle. Parties mention that working collectively towards a higher goal has made it easier to cooperate, because the higher goal lifts up the spirits to a level above day-to-day working relationships.
To illustrate this, I respectfully cite a few words from the final speech of the “Parliamentarians Take Action!” 2008 conference by Mrs. Mafubellu, Assistant Director of the General World Health Organization,
“My thanks certainly also go to Meshwork for bringing together the elements for the Roadmap and parliamentary action, and in particular to Anne-Marie Voorhoeve, who stopped us from only talking, but forced us to put our heads together and work on concrete goals, conditions and actions.”
8. Finally - Meshwork Shepherding
Working with the Principles of Synnervation and the principles of resonating leadership, and bringing in the experience from my personal practice, have made me become more aware of my own intuitive capacities in leadership development. Let me give an example that is relevant for Meshwork Shepherding. I now often make truthful choices not only based on ”knowing”, but also based on something of a totally different nature: I can sense a kind of pulsation in my belly and a feeling of awe (awesome) arises in me, while my breathing tends to draw inward. In situations where I get these sensations, my experience has lead me to trust this information, Based on this trust, I summon the courage to say yes to this, and bring something out in the open, something that pertains to what I or the group needs to do, even if it is not clear yet what this something is exactly. This signal, expressed by my body is so strong that I am able to follow it with ease, curiosity and wonder.
So the focus for me shifts to the evolving Turquoise elements that seem to emerge. Concerning Meshworking this requires the further development and deepening of the methods for co-creating in multiple dimensions, practicing the design of the energetic architecture, expecting that these could condition the vitality of the relational and material architecture of our society. This is the path to further professional expertise in operating in the role of Meshweaver and to fulfill my personal purpose. To serve the end of expressing Turquoise in organizational forms, I agreed with CHE Netherlands in 2013 to transform The Hague Center into a totally separate organization with its own responsibilities. . Juan Carlos Kaiten and Mona Rabie continued with me on this amazing journey; other pioneering souls have joined us, and from 2014 THC The Hague Center for Global Governance, Innovation and Emergenceis an official charitable foundation registered in The Netherlands, with THC nodes in Mexico, Egypt and Canada, exploring Turquoise and developing Meshworking processes. I am grateful for the support of the CHE Netherlands Souls in Roles in this transformation and for the courage of the THC team members to step into this adventure with me.
There are still many questions around Meshworking we cannot answer at this moment. We will go on seeking and exploring. From the tension of not-knowing comes a creative force. From engagement and sharing we get clarity, insights awaken in us, and our vision grows. And from this, again, new questions arise. It is my intention to contribute to wholeness in the world and co-create with the cosmos, and Meshworking will facilitate this end. My overarching goal is a heart that is forever open, filled with love and compassion. Towards that end I am experiencing how continuously sensing the heart is an art in itself. Still, sensing is even broader than listening to the heart. It includes being in Source, in our deepest self, listening not only with our ears but with all our senses, to the known and the as yet unknown. This all requires the discipline of a daily practice. First and foremost, it asks us to acknowledge that our thoughts and minds create an image of the world that does not, per se, reflect the full reality. To step on the road together to discover what the full reality holds, is a fascinating aim and interest, to which I surrender with heart and soul. Thank you all for meeting me somewhere along this road.
Much of this chapter was first written in Dutch in 2012 as a contribution to the book: Bloei!, edited by Kees Klomp and published: ISBN 9789056702892, NUR 800, 739.
Meshwork™ is a trademark of the Center for Human Emergence Netherlands (as a social process) and Gaiasoft IP Ltd (as a technology platform).
The Meshwork Development Process is a Gaiasoft Framework, Copyright © 2006-2010 Gaiasoft IP Ltd.
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Articles referred to:
Doorbreken met duurzaamheid
Meshworking-sessie over waardeketen en marketing
Herman Wijffels, Anne-Marie Voorhoeve en Peter Merry van Center for Human Emergence (CHE) een rondetafelgesprek met 15 marketing executives.
Tijdschrift voor Marketing, april 2012
Download (pdf) http://www.humanemergence.nl/uploads/2013/04/TvM-april-2012-Doorbreken-met-duurzaamheid.pdf
‘Marketing en ik zijn vriendjes’
Interview met Herman Wijffels en Anne-Marie Voorhoeve over leidende rol die marketeers kunnen spelen in ‘cool’ maken van duurzaamheid als levensstijl.
Tijdschrift voor Marketing, december 2011
Krachten Bundelen rond Kennis voor Ontwikkelingssamenwerking CHE Synnervate for ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken,