Self-organization describes a system’s ability to change itself by creating new structures, adding new negative and positive feedback loops, promoting new information flows, or making new rules. For example, microorganisms have the ability to not only change to fit their new polluted environment, but also to undergo an evolution that make them able to biodegrade or bio-accumulate chemical pollutants. This capacity of part of the system to participate in its own eco-evolution is a major lever for change.
A system is defined by its goals. The parts (structures) of systems to be self-designed are its rules, its information flows, its reinforcing (growth) loops, and its dampening (control) loops, and it’s timing and through puts (delays).
Ability to “create new” system structure is the ability to INNOVATE. Innovation results from an now defined set of skillful conversational practices (Denning and Dunham, The Innovator’s Way). Successful innovators embody their own care, deeply sense others’ care and fearlessly create new offers that generate commitments.
- Humans self organize through embodied conversations that connect to deeply meaningful shared concerns.
- Innovation originates from deeply held cares.
- Social innovation requires deep connection to what others care about. The practice of connecting with others and moving together with others toward a shared future based on shared deep cares.
- Social innovation comes from truly understanding the discomfort of others and inventing a way to change the discomfort or its causes.
- Social innovation also comes from understanding human flourishing and finding ways to increase human flourishing. This is as powerful or more powerful than strategies for reducing discomfort!
- Social innovation comes from skillful conversations with partners and potential adopters that lead to nuanced understanding of their situation (Paulo Freire in the field of education). Skilled conversations about the benefits and costs. Skilled conversation about how to use it (training)
- Innovation requires skilled leadership and disciplined execution.
- The key to all of the above is embodied human presence–by any name.