The Transformational System as Enneagram

Last run 17th November 2020

In a world of change and turbulence we are challenged to transform our situation into something qualitatively different which takes us out of the degradations that have led to a global problematique of climate change, habitat and species destruction and extraordinary wealth disparity. This requires not just change but transformation. Yet we have little in the way of theories of change and even less in theories of transformation, leaving us with the danger that our remedial efforts can end up ineffective or even making things worse.

However, there are forms of knowledge and understanding that can help us change our perspective and take innovative looks at what transformation requires. These have arisen in widely different times and cultures. They have yet to be integrated. In this short course Anthony will share an introduction to such an integrated perspective which reinterprets traditional knowledge combined with systems science and practical consulting experience of navigating complex processes. At the centre of this perspective is making a shift in our own consciousness and belief systems to take into account the new conditions of humanity in the Anthropocene.

Session 1 – Transformation as a Complex Process

Transformation as a complex process needs takes to take place in a viable system that weaves different processes together and is guided by both feedback and feedforward internal connectivity; call this the E-system; the enneagram provides a mental model for a master weaving system; the nature of systems of quality as distinct from quality; the basic structural diagram interpreted as a system; the need for its conscious construction for application to socio-ecological challenges; summarised as the E-System.

Session 2 – Steps of Transformation

Transformation processes as a series of discontinuous steps each with distinctive quality; understanding these qualitative steps from both observation and reflection; a simple descriptive language using the code of the musical octave; learning to see and feel the qualitative stages of any process of transformation; the hazards of transformation in relation to the discontinuities in the eight stages; how they show up in nature; how they show up in human projects; explaining how good intentions easily turn into their own opposite.

Session 3 – Transformation and Hazard

How the hazards are reduced by the development of multiple processes in the E-System; the principle of requisite qualitative variety; the nature of deviations and discontinuities; mutual adjustment between parallel processes; the role of positive shocks; what goes by itself and what needs conscious intervention; the importance of creativity; everyday examples.

Session 4 – Putting the E-System to Work

The distinction between control and guidance; guidance and the inner connectedness of the E-System; the strange pattern that transcends conventional time; feedback and feedforward; the role of this meta-level of the E-system; anticipation, resilience and inspiration; examples from different domains of life; from E-System to transformational design and facilitation; transformation as an integration of science, art and practice; what happens in the absence of the E-system.


Session 1 – Tuesday 17 November

Session 3 – Tuesday 24 November

Session 3 – Tuesday 1 December

Session 4 – Tuesday 8 December


Sessions run from 7:30 pm to 9:15pm BST


Professional £120

Student £50

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