Facilitating Transformational Journeys – Generative Methodology

A Preliminary Briefing


Transformations for human society can be better generated if a coherent system of generative methods are used to orchestrate the wide range of complexities in the many critical fields of ecology, society, politics and economics. In the Anthropocene and its accompanying climate emergency this is true for local as well as large scale projects.

Yet the history and development of most of our collaborative methods are based on analysis, specialisation and dislocation rather than synthesis, transdisciplinarity and integration. This legacy further exacerbates society’s access to the required role of creative imagination fully integrated with the best expertise and data. In our prevailing culture these do not sit comfortably together.

Decades of research and field practice before the founding of H3Uni explored many aspects of how creative integrities might be formed that are better able to tackle the complexity, urgency and ambiguity of the current global predicament.

To enable effective transmission these have now been distilled down a system of five core methods based on what we call generative methodology. We regard generative methodology as a key to human processes of transformation, regeneration and integration able to scale link from the personal through the local to the global.

The complexities of benign integration of humanity with the planet make demands on all aspects of the human being – mental, emotional and physical. Just thinking stuff, just feeling stuff and just doing stuff alone are insufficient and easily fall into disconnection, alienation and generation of unintended consequences.

Over a long period of time, and especially the last half millennium, the human world had become divorced from the living planetary world. Failure to appreciate this has led to exploitation of the planetsary resources beyond equilibrium. Although this situation in increasingly recognised, a combination of persistent exploitative attitude, personal greed and deeply ingrained momentum of human social systems largely blocks the development of human collaboration with nature for a viable and thriving earth. The education that has generated the current situation cannot reverse the trend. New approaches that link the inner and the outer through cultivating creative integrity are needed.

The H3Uni Course, Facilitating Transformational Pathways, is a contribution to this necessary turning point in how we approach life now and for future generations.

In the diagram, the human world and the planetary world are seen as strongly overlapping. This is a living ecosystem. Both need understanding in their own right. To understand the planetary world we have developed a World Mandala that facilitates paying holistic and comprehensive attention to the whole system in which we live as a component. To understand how we can act in concert with the values of giving rather than taking, regeneration rather than exploiting, we have developed an indigenous type wisdom wheel which facilitates the clarification of multiple perspectives integrate to a higher level of integrity.

However, in projects of transformation on any level, we need to progress through three main stages (working from right to left on the diagram).

Firstly we need to be able to grasp the complexity we are faced with. This must be for multiple stakeholders and transdisciplinary, beyond specialisation.

Secondly we need both to anticipate the future from understanding where we are and what the dysfunctional momentum is and to envision a future in which the situation transforms for the better through collaborative creativity.

Thirdly we need a way of continuously navigating the tensions and uncertainties of the interaction between the future vision and the inevitable push-back form the dysfunctional worlds we are seeking to transform and integrate.

Thus the core course introduces us to five methods to make this transformational journey possible, namely

  • The world mandala – the human world system
  • The complexity map – expanding our mental grasp
  • The three horizons – cultivating a quality future
  • Dilemma navigation – generating viable steps on the journey

These are positioned between an introductory overview to enable us to connect the journey with our own life and work and a final reflective overview which sets us up to apply what we have learned.

The course is not a panacea for our challenges but a set of tools and resources which have an organic effect on our capacities for wise action, much like planting seeds of different species that then can grow and develop in the course of living and acting in the world. In going through then course you will come to understand more deeply and practically the progression of the methods; and then, in applying them to life’s challenges, see more effective ways to intervene and improve situations.

Students who complete the course will be issued with a certificate that authenticates that they have taken the course. We anticipate this will become increasingly valuable in a world that desperately needs these kinds of capacity.

H3Uni five core practices

H3Uni interactive practices are based in strategic foresight, systems thinking, developmental learning, scenario planning, complexity and ‘second order science’, which combined, ensure that people are empowered to work together towards common goals easily and effectively: supported by well designed tools and facilitation procedure.

Three Horizons

(for futures thinking)

Hexagon Clustering

(for complexity mapping)

Dilemma Navigation

(for transforming polarities)

Wheel of Wisdom Leadership

(for shared multi-perspective decision making)

World System Mapping

(for human-planetary ecosystem understanding)

Background reading

There are several books that give background to the course:

Three Horizons: the Patterning of Hope by Bill Sharpe published by Triarchy Press

Ready for Anything: Designing Resilience for a Transforming World by Anthony Hodgson published by Triarchy Press

Systems Thinking for a Turbulent World: A Search for New Perspectives by Anthony Hodgson published by Routledge

Designing Regenerative Cultures by Daniel Wahl published by Triarchy Press

Dancing at the Edge: Competence, Culture and Organization in the 21st Century by Maureen O’Hara and Graham Leicester published by Triarchy Press

Change for the Audacious: a doer’s guide by Steve Waddell Network action Publishing