Getting Started with PatternDynamics™ Part 2

In this episode you’ll learn more foundational material for getting started with PatternDynamics™ and for putting it to work in your life and work. We cover the keys to understanding complexity itself, why collaborative systems thinking is a highly leveraged strategy for generative change, and why a pattern language can help create more robust organisational cultures. You also discover the step by step process we’ve developed for helping you learn to become a better systems thinker.


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Topics Discussed:

00:09 Keys to Complexity
02:27 Learning Outcomes
04:14 Learning Method
07:49 Learning Design


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PatternDynamics helping you create systems that thrive.

Well, the keys to complexity at least in PatternDynamics’ view, we have to look at the slide here, it said that: PatternDynamics is a unique systems thinking framework that enables a key strategy for managing higher levels of complexity. Now, the key strategy is that the key to complexity is a collaborative type of systems thinking. Not just an analysis of the system and like I said, trying to pull a lever to get it to change or tinker to get it to change, is to collaborate and use many perspectives to understand the system, communicate about it and that type of systems thinking is the key to complexity.

Now, the key to this type of systems thinking is patterns because the Dynamic patterns of organization that from how systems work and organizations and affect ourselves. How we work as complex systems shows up as patterns and once we learn to see these patterns of organization, our world changes. And we put aside our glasses that allow us to see the world in a whole new and more effective way. The key to these patterns is using them as a language because language is the key to culture. And in fact, culture — our beliefs, our values, our shared understandings; the things that motivate us collectively are actually what shape systems. At least in the PatternDynamics’ view and using patterns as a language is the power behind PatternDynamics because I mean, from the words of Peter Drucker: “Culture eat strategy for breakfast.” That is, you can employ all kinds of strategies to change the system instrumentally but unless you change the culture, in fact, unless you have a culture that helps create that change that change will be undone. That is the frustration I felt for years and years as a change maker. And once I learned to have a collaborative systems thinking that was a language that allowed us to create a culture together of systems thinking that valued exchanging our perspectives on a system, then I started to get some traction And that’s what’s so exciting for me about sharing PatternDynamics with you.

We have warning outcomes that we hope to achieve and I’ll read them here. There are three levels of skill attainment and each level of PatternDynamics training.

  • Familiarity – where you can identify the relevant patterns in your life, work and world with reference to learning materials or a support from an advanced practitioners.
  • Competency – in this level, this is the level where you can identify the relevant patterns consistently in most situations without reference to learning materials or at people.
  • And there’s fluency – where you can identify and prioritize the levels of importance of relevant patterns consistently in all situations without reference or support and communicating about your perspective effectively to different people in different cont

This learning resource is designed to support the attainment of competency in the use of the source pattern and its three dimensions and familiarity with the other six first order patterns.

We look at the chart behind me, those other six are: RHYTHM, POLARITY, STRUCTURE, EXCHANGE, CREATIVITY and DYNAMICS. And they represent different aspects of source well you know, the central purpose of any system on organization. They give us different dynamic patterns of organization that we can look at. What is looking familiarity with those? You can identify them with support from handbook or this resource or someone who knows more about the PatternDynamics system. But we’re looking for competency that is the ability to recognize the purpose at work as an organizing principle in any system — the purpose is strong, all the parts of the system seems to know what to do because they’re all aligned behind the aims of that purpose is pointing to.

We have a learning method, and I’ll read the slide here because PatternDynamics and systems thinking in general requires different ways of learning. So, I’ll read it.

Learning to think holistically about the dynamic patterns of organization and systems requires a different type of learning practice. This is different to how we usually learn about the parts of those systems. In PatternDynamics training you will notice;

1. A lot of repetition, a very similar pattern of explanation and each pattern module and multiple and closely related examples of ways of exploring each pattern. So, repetition is the friend of learning especially when we’re trying to learn something counter-intuitive because most of us if we’re trained in the western tradition and we’ve gone through school, we’ve been trained to learn about things — just trained to be analytical and look at parts. We haven’t really been trained to learn how to think necessarily unto our institutionalized learning about how things are put together, how whole systems work, the relationships, the dynamics, the patterns that help us think more holistically. So, repetition is really helpful. One of the reasons for that is that when we’re learning something that’s counter-intuitive the more times we’re exposed to the thing that we’re trying to identify, the better off we are. And we have a very, very similar structure through each training module because again that helps us with repetition and those elements are different but closely related ways at looking at the same thing. Now we think about the elephant example, you know, you got to look at all the different parts, the tail, the trunk, the side of the elephant, the ears, its tusks; these will all give us a different perspective on the system that makes up the whole elephant. Well, if you look at it as a whole biological living creature, and so taking multiple but sometimes very close perspectives, you know left leg might be very close to the right leg but in fact both of those perspectives are important because it’s actually left and right front and left and right back legs and they’re critical but very, very similar perspectives that are necessary for us to understand the whole elephant.

We go to the slide, the reason for this is that learning to see in inverted commas, patterns of organization and systems requires that we look at each one for multiple perspectives as I just described, in multiple context and in a repeated fashion. The different types of learning content to practices that the support to this approach include: written material — which we encounter in the work book and other written resources, videos such as the one you are watching now, the charts and the graphic symbols which form the core intellectual property of PatternDynamics and then the key learning resources, exercises and practices you can do in everyday life and work, examples of patterns and different contexts; and these examples are very powerful because they help us see in the real world, and embodied exercises that include movements and group practices. And you may encounter these in the PatternDynamics workshop, which is an embodied process where we work as a collective and use our bodies to form a living system and experiment with some of these organizing principles and most importantly how to talk about them and adjust them and get a better outcome.

Learning design states: the PatternDynamics learning system or what we call the learning practice is designed to start simply rebuild step by step towards more complex skills and understandings. So, with the introduction, what we call the source course which you will be exposed to in the PatternDynamics work book and also in this training module, we get started by learning about source the most central pattern in the PatternDynamics system and how to apply it simply and easily to get immediate results. And this is important you’ll see on the right of the slide there is the source diagram which I will explain in a moment. And there are three ways or three dimensions that help us think about our central purpose, our central organizing force or power as an organization as a system and it’s really simple. I’ll demonstrate that what in this video. It’s very quick and you can do it over and over again and get a result every time.

Level one, then we move on to learn the other six first order patterns, which I just illustrated on the chart behind me, which form aspects of source. This provides a foundation for systems thinking and applications. So, this is where we move from understanding one systems principle to understanding a number of important systems principles — some of the most fundamental ones. And when we can do that, we can start to think about the systems as a whole. Not just one principle but many principles and we can start thinking about how they relate but most of it just learning different distinctions about the different dynamic organizing patterns that we can identify in the systems.

Level two, you’ll be able to find the forty-nine-second order pattern and how to use them as an interrelated system for more advance system thinking and to help others learn introductory PatternDynamics skills. Now, level two you can see the yellow points to what we call the matrix chart. We don’t need to worry about that in any detail of this training module but it’s interesting and important for you to know the greater context of the system of PatternDynamics itself, where the next step is and put this training in that context.

Level three, the final stage helps practitioners to use a total system of fifty-six patterns to craft their application effectively for different contexts and to use these patterns fluently to support the development of systems thinking skills in others such as decision making skills and complex problem solving. In level three you become very fluent and we can apply PatternDynamics in multiple contexts and ways to understand, are understandable by people very, very easily.

PatternDynamics helping you create systems that thrive.

Next: Getting Started with PatternDynamics™ Part 3: The Source Course

Previous: Getting Started with PatternDynamics™ Part 1