This blogpost is the first public news of a project that I am working on with a small team of friends; it is focused on creating a tool for the interactive, 3-d mapping of the ecosystem of evolutionary initiatives on the edge. We call it the élan
also stands for
the yet-to-born Evolutionary Learning & Action Network
"The larger social structures are proving to be inadequate to solve
the problems they're creating. New social innovations are emerging
everywhere, but they are not sufficiently connected or empowered. So
right now, any effort that we can make to connect and create greater
synergy and participation in this awakening process is probably the most
important thing we can do". (Barbara Marx Hubbard, 2003)
proposes providing a technical and social
platform for collaborative sensing and meaning-making to augment the
collective intelligence, wisdom, and capabilities of groups and
movements on the leading edge of social evolution. It is to the
evolutionary impulse in them and us that we dedicate our work.
The concept of élan
when fully embodied, will be an activity ecosystem that includes an
interactive map for navigating Emergence (the concept of which is introduced here), an online
magazine, a bio-mimicry inspired, community knowledge garden, and a
network of self-organizing communities of users/contributors. The latter
will also include a research think-net that will scan the landscape of
our Emerging Planetary Reality to identify early signs of strategic
challenges and opportunities for the movement.
There are two lenses through which you can look at this project.
1. Seen through the lens of "global brain," it's about creating a visual tool to help organizations/groups on the edge:
• Experiencing themselves as neurons in the nervous system of the passage to a new civilization
• Discovering how they can interact with other neurons for rapid and effective transmissions
2. Seen through the lens of complex system of initiatives that are harbingers of the future in the present, it's about making it easier for:
• Individuals to decide which are the initiatives with which they resonate the most and to which they want to give more attention and energy
• Groups to assess their functional alignment with each other in the neighboring niches of the fast-changing ecosystem of evolutionary initiatives, thus multiply everyone's transformative impact
• A kernel of knowledge about the field of social transformation, to become a booster of the field's self-knowledge and collective intelligence
The last point also implies that "if we increase our ability to perceive (visualize, understand) problems or opportunities or activities, it will leverage our efforts greatly
If we really could perceive and make sense of much larger chunks at the same time, a lot of stuff would sort itself out quite easily." — Flemming Funch
What we also hope is that such a mapping tool will let its individual and collective users:
• Discover common patterns of concerns, projects, and practices
worth replicating across a vast range of initiatives, whilst remaining
sensitive to the uniqueness of each individual context.
• Discover and tell the story of emergence into a wiser culture, as
it unfolds. “Wiser” as in: capable of embracing broader and higher
• Increase connectivity so there are more resources available to
the ecosystem as a whole and its parts.
• Increase coherent communication between initiatives, to
facilitate the process of transformation.
• Make it easy for people to find the best match between their
desire to serve the whole, and the most suitable contexts for that
These are the descriptors that we currently plan to use for characterizing them: Philosophy (including Mission Values, Principles), Structure, Founder(s), Leadership patterns, Projects, Organizational affinities, News, Events, and Social media presence. That list will probably change as we play with a modified version of Narrative Fractals and other approaches.
Our current focus is on developing the content structure of the map, then go into an alpha proof-of-concept, and beta prototype. Once the beta is made public, we will explore what's next. Next moth, we also plan to open a public site for our collaborators.
Meanwhile, we started building two advisory groups. Terry Patten
, author and integral thought leader accepted our invitation to serve on the project's Wisdom Council and Scott Nelson
, an information technology steward, who will work with us to build out a Drupal platform for the community of élan
collaborators and serve on our Technical Advisory Group.
We're curious of what you think of the features and capabilities that could make the map and the mapping tool really useful to you as individual, and to your group or organization if it lives on the edge of social, knowledge, technology or business innovation.
Your input could directly influence the design of the mapping tool. Please comment.
P.S. on June 30:
Good tools always have unintended uses discovered by its individual and collective users, and hopefully, that will be the case of élan
map, too. Once we released the alpha version, a direction worth looking in to find new uses is this: there will be some hypertrails connecting the vistas that may emerge fro our very walking those trails. That's the subject of another blog entry