Getting Started with PatternDynamics™ Part 3: The Source Course

Listen to this episode and discover how to put PatternDynamics™ to work straight away with a simple process that get’s you results every time. The Source Course takes you straight to the heart of the PatternDynamics™ framework to learn the three foundational aspects of it central organising principle. Understanding these 3 primordial dimensions within every system will help you gain critical insights for the better decision making, complex problem solving, and strategy design required to create systems that thrive in today’s increasingly complex world.


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Topics Discussed:

00:09 The Source Course: Getting Started with PatternDynamics
05:22 Source Tool: Demonstration
06:50 Purpose
13:24 Recommendations


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PatternDynamics helping you create systems that thrive.

Okay, now we move on to the source course. This is how we get started with PatternDynamics. It’s the very first thing we learn that allow us to get a result using the PatternDynamics framework. And we’re just working with one principle — that is, one pattern. The principle behind me, the organizing principle and if you look behind me it’s here, it’s the source diagram. That’s what we call the pattern — the diagram itself. And when we understand what that diagram means, what that symbol, the information or the meaning behind that symbol, then we’ll be able to apply it as a principle of how systems works, how it’s organized and how we can change it.

We look at the slide here, in the source course getting started with PatternDynamics. The source symbol that you can see there in blue is the source code. It’s what we call the collective awareness identity in purpose but you think of it primarily as purpose. That is, having strong purpose or strong aim as a system, as an organization provides a very, very powerful self organizing force — with all the parts, all the people within that organization are aligned and they can self- organize. They can determine what it is they need to do and they’re motivated to do it and that is an extremely powerful self-organizing force, and it’s a principle organization that work in all systems that we can come to understand and identify and then use as a principle. So, we call it the most central and important source of any system self-organizing capacity. So, PatternDynamics is the central organizing principle and it is the most important pattern in the PatternDynamics framework.

If we look at the diagram, that pattern represents three primary aspects of source or what we call the ‘three basic principles; sub-principles that work in source. Sometimes, we call it dimensions. So these dimensions of source, the part and the whole of the first one, you can see a bar; a slider we call it. In the diagram, you could see there’s two parts bounded by a whole. So, if you look at the chart behind me, we have these two parts and their bounded by a larger oval which is the whole. So, parts and whole are represented in this diagram. If we go to the next slider down, there are short term and long term as two different aims of a continuum because just like no system is just a whole. It always is composed of parts and nothing is ever a part because it’s always composed of parts itself. So therefore, it’s a whole. Then there’s a continuum between them — how we can look at a system as a part or a whole. There’s also a polarity there. When there’s a polarity, there’s also a polarity between the short term and the long term. Now, the long term here is represented by the infinity symbol which is very long term and the oval as one revolution as the short term; just one cycle. So again, when we’re talking about a system there are always short term concerns and then there are always things that need to longer term outcomes and finding the balance between that polarity is something that will allow us to adjust systems using the source principle or at least the dimensions of it.

And we have represented in the diagram the tangible versus the intangible. And the lines themselves are tangible; we can see them. They look like the thing that is the diagram but actually it’s only defined by the less tangible white space in and around it. And any system has its tangible things; things that we can measure and poke with a stick, more objective elements of the system and business sometimes. You know, money is a very objective tangible thing or plant in equipment is tangible but in the business world organization believes that the strength of relationships and trust in an organization — these are less tangible assets in fact, will be guided by the parts of the system. Again, it’s never ‘either or’ and they’re not really in conflict. They’re just two different sides at one point or two polarities. And we can evaluate systems or aspects of systems based on, you know, just how tangible thing are we talking about or how intangible and what difference does that make to a thinking and what does being able to make that distinction do for us.

And so if we go back to the slide, the whole course is on this one slide. And that’s what we call it getting started because it’s that simple and this is how you can get a result. You use, just draw the diagram or the pattern on a piece of paper or white board, label its source, draw the three sliders, put part, whole, short term, long term, tangible, intangible and use that to help you think more carefully about how this issue you’re talking about or you’re thinking about relates to the system. So, I’m going to do that exercise right now and just show you how simple it is and I’ll just put up my trusty white board. Okay, I’ve drawn the source tool up on the white board here direct from the source course slide. And what I’ll do now is I’ll go through an example from my own life and work to demonstrate how you can use this to get better insights about some of the issues in your own life and work. So the issue, I’m going to work with in this example is from PatternDynamics itself and its related to the creation of this level one training program as something as meaningful to me and this is a real life example.

So, I had a conversation with my, with Kenya O’Keith. She’s my chief collaborator, and my central flop partner in the development of PatternDynamics as a social enterprise. And in that conversation, we spoke about the creation of this training module. And my perspective, first of all, we use PatternDynamics on the development of PatternDynamics very often. It’s how we, it’s one of the central ways — this is not the only way but it’s our principal way of creating our own organization, designing it, making better decisions and solving our challenges. So, we sat down and the first thing we do is ask ourselves “What’s the source of this issue of what we’re going to discuss? We’re going to discuss the level one training program and its creation and make decisions about it. Then, “What’s the source of that? Well, you know the purpose. That’s where we start. “What’s the purpose of the level one training program? And the creation of it and how does it relate to our larger purpose, the social enterprise, the PatternDynamics itself? So that’s where we start, with source.

And then, we go on to explore our perspectives and point of view using the three primordial dimensions of source — well, ways that we can make adjustments to our purpose and in this case the purpose of the level one training course. So, my, I realize after this conversation, after we did this exercise; that I was very focused on the level one training program and I’m the one who is mostly doing it, and actually creating the video training modules and other support materials in the workbook and things like that. And I have been very, very focused on that and my perspective is very oriented around that part of our organization. Now, for a while I think of it become, for me just about all there was in the organization and the social enterprise. I’m so focused on it that, you know, I’d lost side of a little bit of the whole project. You know, with our discussion, Kenya; my interpretation, my inquiry after I asked her what she was thinking about how we were going with the development of the program; part of the reflection was, you know, (a) let’s think about how this serves the greater whole — the bigger social enterprise, the community practice aspect, our commercial aspects making sure this is available as for not profit resource on a planetary scale. (b) Let’s make sure that we consider how this part fits within the whole. So, she’s advocating for making sure that this fit with the big picture, and that we will make a good decision with regard to the whole enterprise. And also my focus, I realized or I came to understand with very much and I do; it’s right over here on the end of the slider for short term, long term. On short term, I was really keen, that it was a big priority for me to help people get a result and an outcome from engaging with the level one training right away. I wanted, especially the source course and using this tool I want people to be able to learn it easily, I want them to be able to go away and go up to the white board or the back of the napkin and just go through the exercise to get better insights, to start making that difference. You know, little bit by little bit, getting a result can be a small result at first but that’s okay and a slightly bigger result and get better and better insights and get more and more units too, reflecting on the systems dimension or how their issues relate to the system in their lives, their organizations, their communities, their businesses.

So, I want to do results with people; a short term result with people and that was my focus. And Kenya spoke more about the medium term, I think. That was my interpretation after inquiring about her perspective — about how she felt going with the development of the level one program. She said, “Yes, the short term memory is fine but don’t make it so simplistic that some of the depth on what we’re doing gets lost. We don’t have to unfold the full journey. That can be a bit more overwhelming. PatternDynamics, in its level three training can be very complex and it can be a bit overwhelming for beginners but look, don’t lose side of the fact that there is depth in this, and don’t dilute it and make it too simplistic.” So, we recorded those or I recorded those perspectives for you here that was my interpretation and I think with the level one program that I’m developing now, I’ll be doing; I’m very focused on the tangible dimension of it. That is, its creation as a tangible asset that can generate revenue so that we have a budget to fulfill our social mission. And I think, you know, I’m not overly focused because this is not primarily a commercial enterprise. It’s a social enterprise. Our overall source of PatternDynamics, our overall purpose is to provide a social benefit to helping people learn purpose-driven collaborative types of systems thinking. But, I did want sub tangible outcomes of this. So I’m quite focused on that. And Kenya, on her perspective, was a little bit more on the intangible side not much still we’re very, we’re quite aligned actually in the commitment to making this work commercially and making sure we have commercial-great product and that it would have a market that we can generate revenue. Kenya was also advocating for making sure that the level one program was designed, and we made decisions about how its constructed and disseminated that support the culture of our organization. Maybe a slightly less tangible outcome, where we use the training to help consolidate our commitment, our real belief in the value of systems thinking and being collaborative and having high purpose in our work for our social transformation.

So, that is how we recorded our perspectives or in fact, match thorough each of our perspectives and we can then reflect differently and allow us to avoid conflict. You know here, when we’re far apart, it’s easy sometimes to have conflict. Unlike, “You’re wrong.” “You’re right, I’m wrong.” So, in PatternDynamics and dealing with these exercises, we especially, as we get better at it, we can see that these are just two complimentary perspectives on our whole system and especially around the central organizing force of our system, or our source code which our moral purpose. And that I’m focused on that part. Kenya was advocating a little more for the whole organization or the whole system and that we can think now about ways to coordinate these and the value of these perspectives on maybe which ones we should prioritize, make sure we don’t have a blind spot and certainly making sure that we are collaborative, we coordinate our perspectives, we bring a collective intelligence to helping solve our complex challenges and help us make better decisions so that our system can thrive.

So, we have a series of recommendations now that we’ve gone through some of the introductory features of PatternDynamics, how to use it and giving you a basic tool. And these recommendations are:

1. Getting out of trying to identify the purpose and the source of issues in your life and your life from work. So, just find the trigger and the trigger sometimes can be something that’s bothering you; attention or an opportunity that gets you excited.

2. And second point: regularly evaluate the effects of how you and others are thinking about these issues in terms with the three dimensions of source. So, that’s the source course and that’s an exercise you can d0 — it’s actually a tool. Use the source tool, pull it out anytime you like, go on the back of an envelope when you’re at a café and think about any issue on your life or anything that’s causing you a bit of attention or looks like a bit of an opportunity and think about that central organizing principle and its three dimensions. How you’re feeling about it or the issue you’re thinking about relates to in terms of the part of what you’re doing or the whole, the short term outcomes versus the long term outcomes, intangible things versus the less tangible things and what impact that has.

Just draw that down, mark where you think your perspective lies on each slider, make this a regular habit and reflect on how it changes your thinking about issues that arise and your ability to communicate how you feel about them.

Reflect through, reflections through journaling, blogging, or other writing will be particularly effective here. And reflection, especially when we write gives us a chance to contemplate and consolidate what we have learned. So, the more reflection we can do, especially intentional reflection through things like writing and blogging, the better we will learn. So, I encourage you to start using PatternDynamics system. I’m passionate about it because I get a result from it and it works and I can make the kinds of changes that I’d like to make and help systems become healthier and more functional around me.

And the first place to get started is simply develop a habit of using purpose driven collaborative systems thinking and putting up, drawing the source tool and making the three evaluations of its primary aspects or its primary dimensions and seeing and then reflect on those and ask yourself on how you might change what you’re doing based on your reflections and understandings of source.

PatternDynamics helping you create systems that thrive.

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