We lean into learning organizations over teaching organizations. Learning versus teaching is the difference between capacity building from within versus dependency on instruction. A learning environment creates space for the idea that experience is the teacher.
Symmathesy: A Word in Progress, by Nora Bateson
“Biology, culture, and society are dependent at all levels upon the vitality of interaction they produce both internally and externally. A body, a family, a forest or a city can each be described as a buzzing hive of communication between and within its vitae. Together the organs of your body allow you to make sense of the world around you. A jungle can be understood best as a conversation among its flora and fauna, including the insects, the fungi of decay, and contact with humanity. Interaction is what creates and vitalizes the integrity of the living world. Over time the ongoing survival of the organisms in their environments requires that there be learning, and learning to learn, together. Gregory Bateson said, “The evolution is in the context.” So why don’t we have a word for mutual learning in living contexts?
Being in service to the system is being in service to ourselves. It’s a circular, relational process of levelling up, nudging all attributes of the system in parallel. Until all interests commit to this alignment, until shared intent manifests, we will be stuck using the same type of zero-sum thinking that got us here to begin with.
Finding the balance between perspectives and vantage points involves a lifelong practice of accepting the complexity of things. It’s easy to surround ourselves with simplified ideas attached to clear and dogmatic philosophies. It takes courage to hold position where no one idea dominates the others. Equilibrium is work.
Transformation happens when the connections we co-create manifest trust. This happens best when we share space, make eye contact and open ourselves to vulnerability. And yet the viability of our systems will increasingly rely on remote collaboration, causing trust to devolve from being a value to a task. We believe that technology which captures the richness of in-person interaction and trust is the only technology we should aspire to create.
Thinking for the moment has created problems that will endure indefinitely. Everything we do now we must be intentionally generational.
People love what they design and own what they create. If only a few people get to design the solutions, only a few people will adopt them. For full systemic transformation, we need requisite variety in the room, from different levels of hierarchy, background, and vantage point.