I would suggest that the Integral Theory Conference, held at JFK University in August 2008 was an unqualified success. Sean Esjborn- Hargensand Mark Foreman were the organizers with a whole lot of help from others. In order to provide you with a sense of the conference I asked Ed Kelly of Ireland, Australia and currently France, and Gayle Young of the US to join we me in sharing our experiences with the readers of the Integral Leadership Review. I will be happy to entertain additional presentations for the November issue. Just email them email@example.com.
The 1st Biannual Integral Theory Conference
Of approximately 100 presentations (often up to 10 concurrent presentations per session), I attended the 17 presentations reflecting the areas I am interested in. There were, however, many other wonderful presentations that I regretfully missed. My list includes: an integral calculus (Clint Fuhs), integral methodological pluralism in educational research (Nancy Davis), intuitions of altitude (Zak Stein and Theo Dawson), IMP and mixed methods research (Jeffrey Martin), does integral equal Ken Wilber? (panel discussion), developmental action enquiry (Bill Torbett et al.,), an integral approach to the Buffett phenomenon (Edward Kelly), integral situational ethical pluralism (Randy Martin), of elephants and butterflies (Mark Edwards), integral theory in academia (panel discussion), what’s sex got to do with it (Jeff Cohen), accelerating structure-stage growth (Brian Berger and Clint Fuhs), transcendence is sexy (Rogers Stace), the iteachproject (Sean Esbjorn-Hargens), integral art (Roger Walsh), research development (Suzanne Cook-Greuter) and Integral Life (Robb Smith).
Of the 17 or so presentations, highlights included presentations from Mark Edwards, Bill Torbert and Susanne Cook-Greuter.
Edwards provided some interesting thoughts on why Wilber’s integral theory, although presented as a “theory of everything”, may not include everything? For Edwards (and others such as Torbert) the second person is not fully explained or accounted for in Wilber’s integral theory. Neither is the important issue of power and how it effects perspective taking. Edwards also notes that there are some issues (some lenses as he calls them) that should not be included in an integral theory, for instance critical analysis of the theory itself, which are better handled from the outside. Edwards also goes some way to developing a ‘method’ of how one might conduct ‘meta-studies’ of the type he and indeed Wilber have conducted. In this context Edward’s talks about the different ” Categories of Conceptual Lenses” which go to the heart of how a meta-theory, such as integral (a bi-polar lense) is set up.
Torbert’s presentation on developmental action inquiry highlighted the four territories of experience (outside world, own sensed embodiment and performance, action logics and intentional attention), its interweaving of 1st, 2nd and 3rd person research in action, it’s recognition of three different types of research (single, double and triple loop feedback) and a discussion on the leadership development framework (LDF). Torbert noted how he liked to contrast his deep four (four territories) with Wilber’s flat four (quadrants) and how the deep four require both thinking and feeling whereas the flat four require only thinking – as a primarily a 3rd person ‘thinking’ map. Torbert’s presentation was extremely well received, due at least in part to his authenticity and the fact that he appears to have merged his theory and practice into his own life in a very strong 1st, 2nd and 3rd person sense.
Cook-Greuter also gave an interesting presentation on her research into the higher levels of ego-development and how her work had progressed on from Jane Loveinger (who died in January of this year). In acknowledging her debt to Loevinger, Cook-Greuter noted, that although there were frequent attempts, Loevinger was never particularly interested in what she was doing. In a later discussion, Cook-Greuter noted that while development occurs naturally, given the right support, individuals can move developmental stages over a five to six year period. She gave no prescription for how that should occur leaving me feeling that the common elements were enquiry and support for that enquiry. She also suggested that a collective development test of the ego (such as the SCT test) provides a better sense of a person’s’centre of gravity’ than a psychograph although she acknowledged that this was not shared by all in the integral community.
I should add that I also really enjoyed Zak Stein’s presentation although as yet I am not fully clear on what to take away from it (I hasten to add this is my problem not Zak’s and requires me to read his paper and or re-listen to the audio when available). What I did get was a sense that there are numerous developmental models that address different aspects of development and that there is no test/model that captures’overall altitude’ per se. These different models also follow from a basic intuition as to how development occurs. Zak and his co-presenter Theo Dawson were also a very positive influence around the conference, popping up in many presentations, offering suggestions and making many useful observations.
Clint Fuhs gave an interesting presentation on how integral perspectives can be represented in integral calculus. This presentation builds on Wilber’s use of integral calculus in the excerpts. Integral calculus is important as it provides an alternative language to help explain integral perspectives thereby deflecting to some extent the reliance on methodological definitions in IMP. Martin, Kelly and Cohen had all pointed to the challenges they experienced in applying IMP in an academic environment where confusion can attach to the difference between IMP as a methodology/method and the methodologies associated with each of the eight IMP perspectives. Clint Fuhs second presentation (with Brian Berger) on accelerating structure-stages seemed to be at a more formative stage.
The first panel discussion, does integral equal Wilber, was a slightly muted affair. This may in part have been due to the moderating influence of the session chairman, Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, but perhaps also because of the considered reflections of the panel. Most panelists agreed that integral was more than Wilber except for Edwards who felt integral did equal Wilber and that this created integral’s main problem.
The second panel discussion, integral theory in academia, was also quite a muted affair. I left the session with some sympathy for those integrally minded academics/teachers/administrators who sought to introduce things integral into a non-integral administration system. Also, as a non-academic, I was somewhat surprised at the miserly pay afforded to adjunct professors. In concluding this discussion, Bill Torbert gave a rather sober review of his lifetime working on the edges of the academy and how now that he was retired he was looking forward to pursuing his work unfettered.
Other presentations I attended included Randy Martin on situational ethics and how morals and ethics can change depending on the overall level from which they are perceived/relayed. I didn’t get to hear all of Roger Stace’s ‘transcendence is sexy’ but I heard others leaving the presentation saying it was one of the best they had attended. Sean Esborn-Hargens also presented a very interesting overview of the iteach project which outlines the integral theory masters course at JFKU. Sean is a real luminary in the integral community combining as he does a deep affection and respect for Ken Wilber with an ability to critically review all aspects of Wilber’s integral theory.
In conclusion, while the conference was conducted in a very supportive manner, this did not preclude integral from being under the critical spotlight. This might have come as a surprise to some delegates butmayreflect the change from a small cult to a broader movement (as discussed by Roger Walsh). There was also a sense that this conference signaled that integral was developing two distinct strands: integral research on the one hand and integral life on the other. Integral research is spearheaded by Sean Esbjorn-Hargens and integral life by Robb Smith and the integral institute. Both are complimentary, but both are also different. The integral theory conference was primarily about the former, although Robb Smith used the conference as an opportunity to re-launch integral life.
Finally, sitting on the plane (getting some high altitude perspective) I wonder whether I will return for the second biannual integral theory conference in two years time and whether I would encourage others to do likewise? Given all things being equal I will return in 2010 and in the meantime would encourage others interested in integral research to consider doing likewise. Overall the quality of the papers was very high, the presentations very engaging and the welcome and hospitality of the organisers (including all the staff at JFKU and volunteers) was wonderful.
Ed Kelly is an Irish and Australian citizen, married with four children currently living in France. He has twenty-five years experience in business, management and investing. He has developed particular expertise in the investing principles of Warren Buffett and the development and management of small to medium size businesses. His education includes: currently working on a PhD in management, Lancaster University, UK; Integral Theory Certificate (ITC) (2006), JFK University, California, USA; MBA (1991-92) Bradford Management Centre, University of Bradford, UK.; Diploma in Marketing (1992) Chartered Institute of Marketing, UK.; and BA Honors in History and Politics (1978-1981) University College Dublin, Ireland.
Reflections on the Integral Theory Conference 2008
Gayle Karen Young
I’m reminded of Caroline Myss who said that we evolve at the rate of the tribe we are plugged into. For those of us who have spent time wandering, driven by our dualistic seekers, the coming together of tribe in any form is beautiful. Thursday evening was the streaming in of the caravans from twenty-nine different countries to gather together, laden with precious gems of thought and the heady incense of open heartedness. The fluidity of definition of tribe was beautiful—in moments, it shifted from self, individual, teams, organizations, global world to kosmic and danced amidst all those constructs in the spaces between keynotes.
In Roger Walsh’s Friday night keynote, he made the point that the antidotes to stagnation are an awareness of complacency and an orientation to growth-related relationships. This conference also acted as antidote, a smack to the self to be awake. Rumi talks about moments of wakefulness “that will eventually startle us back to the truth of who we are”, and also says, “The doorway between worlds is round and open; don’t go back to sleep.”
During a session with Bill Torbert and his esteemed colleagues, Diane Musho Hamilton raised the question of the presence of the shadow and the keen awareness of it that seemed to linger and weave throughout various conference proceedings. In that, I was reminded of the nature of the shadow to arise where great light is. If the conference was meant to bring luminous beings together, and to strike sparks and kindle flames, then it is no surprise that darkness also arises. When striking a lamp in the darkness and the subsequent sudden deepening of shadows, it sometimes takes a while for that new relationship to the nature of the darkness itself to soften, to become penetrable, so we can again leave the light and journey into those shadows.
Susanne Cook-Greuter, in her keynote on Saturday evening, named the shadows we face beautifully. I know my ego felt naked and ashamed for having its arrogantly more “sophisticated” issues on display, wanting to hide. Fortunately, Susanne halted my freefall into anxiety with an invitation, an opening, to experience beholding our collective beauty through the visage of the glowingly radiant face of a baby and the weathered, wise depths of the face of an elder.
Another metaphor that arose during the conference was that of birthing. It made me wonder if Ken Wilber as a singular entity is a paternal archetype for us. Is not this community with its multiplicity of voices, different faces, and its fluid nature the maternal aspect? We could get really Freudian and talk about his seed in the vast womb of our overbeings, but I think that’s stretching it a wee bit far.
It is undeniable that seeds bore many fruits in this conference. The intellectual horsepower was awe-inspiring. Behind the papers, the rigor, the numbers, and the abstracts were the stories of love—love of truth, love of beauty, love of people and the more-than-human world. We move through these multiple worlds, and frequently other worlds get reduced to the merely tangible. While papers, posters, panels, and presentations formed much of the tangible structural spine for the conference, they also formed windows into personal and then collective stories of tenacity and courage, of descents into the ambiguous and into uncharted territories.
I enjoyed the panels a great deal, particularly the Integral Feminism panel. How lovely it is to dream together of a world in which each of the primordial tensions of the universe might get to live in full partnership, communion, and intimacy with each other. One point that was keenly made by the panel is that, regardless of the status of women in countries where we are privileged to not have had to fight for our status as human beings, there are places where women are denied that status. I found my rage evoked on behalf of women, but as keenly, my sadness on behalf of men for the caricature of masculinity it forces on them. And sadness for myself for the caricatures I have and can be when my relationships to the masculine and feminine in myself go unheeded. Discussing this later in conversation with Robb Smith, he embodied integral masculine in saying, “We just love you”, in a bighearted, open way, intensely direct way. So many young women (including myself at various times) want to be loved differentially “for who we are”, the ego-affiliated being. There was something in the way he said it that encompassed something greater and personal. I got in that moment that he included his wife, me, every woman, and it made me cognizant what a great gift it is to be loved for the aspect of me as embodiment of divine feminine. In some ways, this quest to be loved as individual just doesn’t work—the great funny paradox in that being that if we let ourselves relax into our own being enough, that which is more than individual can shine out and be loved and love, and we can be more loved “for who we are”.
In the spirit of multiplicity, the panels exemplified the capability necessary to have as a community to evoke our individual capacities for complexity, to hold and respect multiple viewpoints in a spirit of mutual exploration, from a place informed by a spectrum of experiences, research, information, perspectives, and sensitivities. The panels were but one microcosm of a community dancing with and enhancing its skill in containing different viewpoints with an underlying commitment to life lived more freely, more presently, and more intimately.
People danced throughout, figuratively and literally. (I can officially say that there’s nothing like getting down and boogying with the likes of Bill Torbert, Terry Patten, Diane Musho Hamilton—what great fun!) More than just the grooving, there was the tangible expression of joy in the bodies, the weaving of people unafraid to make eye contact, unafraid to revel in the joy of being with others, and a great spirit of play.
I’m reminded of flowers and the ephemeral nature of them, of Paulo Coelho’s work in speaking about flowers. Because it’s not meant to be, it can never be lost, part of all the things we’ll always have because of the very inability to possess them. As Paulo Coelho said in the book Brida, “I will always remember you, and you will always remember me, just as we will remember the evening, the rain on the windows, and all the things we’ll always have because we cannot possess them.” The conference was like that to me, something beautiful to behold, to experience and savor with the senses and then to let it go.
On one level, I felt keenly the ending of the conference approach, and yet when it happened, it seemed to me to end as naturally as leaves falling from trees. Perhaps that had something to do with the grace of ending in the Big Mind process, of the reminder of being non-linear beings caught in moments of linearity and reconnecting with that which doesn’t end but shifts forms. Our own diaspora back into the world after this new birthing will be an interesting one, and I look forward to seeing what happens. When I think of scattering seeds, I think of this invitation from a poem by Dawna Markova, who says:
I choose to risk my significance
to live so that which came to me as seed
goes to the next as blossom,
and that which came to me as blossom, goes on as fruit.
Gayle Young is passionate about helping people expand their awareness of their own choices and behaviors as related to their life situations, both past and present, in order to facilitate sustained change. Gayle is an organizational psychologist with the consulting firm Maxcomm. She is passionate about the work of leader development, working within the corporate structures that are so influential in our social systems. As Warren Bennis said, “The process of becoming a leader is much the same as the process of becoming an integrated human being. For the leader, as for any integrated person, life itself is the career. Discussing the process in terms of ‘leaders’ is merely a way of making it concrete.” Her work consists of leadership development, change management, strategic communications, building high performance teams, and personal and organizational transformation. Within those contexts, she focuses on coaching, group dynamics, group facilitation and research, and helping leaders evolve and adapt to increasingly complex external environments.
She is particularly interested in global women’s issues and helping women be more effective in their leadership roles. Gayle has worked with and served on non-profit boards, including the Board of Trustees for Alliant International University and the Board of Directors for the Bay Area Organization Development Network. She has spoken to groups such as the National Association of Asian American Professionals about effective influence in the workplace and has been a facilitator for the Stanford Graduate School of Business and their Women in Management Program. Gayle earned her BA Degree in Psychology from the University of San Francisco, where she graduated magna cum laude with Honors, and has her masters in Organizational Psychology.
A View of the Integral Theory Conference
My comments are based on memory, notes, and papers. These are my understandings and I encourage anyone who is deeply interested in any of the presentations to get the original material from the recordings and papers from the conference.
First, I want to appreciate the contributions of others to sharing their experiences of the Integral Theory Conference with all of us. They have set a tone that helps to bring a full sense of the spirit and tone of the conference. I, on the other hand, may be forgiven, then, if I take a somewhat more focused approach on some of the content that I found to be really interesting. I should note that papers from the conference have been published on a CD, which was made available to attendees and may be available elsewhere. And, in the interest of some brevity, forgive me for all that I have not included. And keep in mind that what I am sharing is from my perspective. I take responsibility for any distortions of the presentations and apologize in advance.
A highlight of the conference for me was meeting Mark Edwards. I found him not only to be predictably brilliant, but warm and very present. His paper, Of Elephants and Butterflies: An Integral Metatheory for Organisational Transformation, is available on the conference CD. I do not know if there are plans to publish it elsewhere. Following some graphic humor of caterpillar transformation, Mark discussed the nature of metatheory and integral as a metatheory: “i) a metatheory for the study of organisational transformation, ii) a general method for performing metatheory building research, and iii) some evaluative comments on the metatheory building resource used in this research Ken Wilber’s AQAL framework.” But there are other metatheories to consider, as well, including some we are discussing in our dialogue for the last two years in Integral Leadership Review. Examples are social mediation and the work of Vgotsky (which he notes has never been addressed by Wilber), Bandura’s work on learning, systems dynamics and autopoiesis, alignment, stakeholder, decentering, evolution and the governance holarchy.
In his conclusion, Mark writes,
An integral metastudies should not be seen as a rational project of integrating every perspective, concept, paradigm or cultural tradition within its domain. There must be some things that, by definition, lie outside of its capacities to accommodate and explain. Consequently, an integral metastudies needs a decentering postmodernism that it cannot integrate, that lies outside of its scientific purview, which continually challenges it and is critical of its generalisations, abstractions and universalisings. The decentering form of particularising postmodernism is not something that integral metatheory can locate or neatly categorised somewhere within its general frameworks. Decentering postmodernism will always provide a source of critical insight and substantive opposition to the generalising goals of an integral metastudies. In the same way that postmodernism often misunderstands integrative approaches as just some form of scientific monism, there is a danger that integral researchers can misrepresent the decentering and localising concerns of postmodernism as simple relativism.
As Mark pointed out in his presentation, metatheory is important. As I understand this, it is the way we relate different ways of comprehending and making choices for action. Becoming aware of the metatheoretical chocies we make is important to refining the effectiveness of our actions and capacities for development.
A second presentation that had considerable meaning for me was Barrett Brown’s presentation of the Stagen Leadership Institute’s programs. I believe that, at least in the U.S., the Stagen leadership development program for business executives is probably the most effective. What was fascinating about Barrett’s presentation is how clearly he presented their business strategy and surprisingly grander integral approach than just leadership development. Another important aspect of their approach is a demonstration of how integral ideas are translated into business language (See Figure 1).
Figure 1: Stagen’s Business Interpretations of Integral
Their focus is primarily on mid-market companies (@ US$50-500 million) that are at a significant point in their development where they can either stagnate or move to a new level. See Figure 1 and are circled in red.
Figure 2. The Adizes Corporate Life Cycle
The formal leadership of the company has concentrated ownership. The company is not publicly traded; there are no plans to take them public or to sell them. This is important because taking on Stagen is like taking on a whole new function for the organization. Barrett indicated it is akin to hiring a Vice President.
In an effective executive recruiting process, there is a period of time in which candidate and company get to know each other. This is the case when potential clients and Stagen engage: the first four to six months are spent in such a process in which a relationship is established between Stagen and the CEO of the company, as well as with other formal leaders. During this time each learns about the other. Stagen charges no fees for this time, only expenses.
Oh, and critical to understanding their approach is the fact that their clients are all in the Dallas region, an area that boasts thousands of mid-range companies. Consequently, Stagen consultants live in Dallas and do not have to travel. This makes it possible for consultants and coaches to develop an integral life style for themselves and their families. There are exceptions, for example some coaches, but Barrett did not discuss those.
So the Stagen philosophy begins with the getting-acquainted period. Second, this relationship is value-based, not contract-based. That is, the relationship continues as long as clients feel they are getting sufficient value-added from their work with Stagen. Third, the focus is on helping the client build capacity, not dependency. Stagen wants the company to be able to carry the development process forward with decreasing reliance on outside resources. Finally, the focus is on whole systems change with a commitment to conscious capitalism. [There is a conference on Conscious Capitalism (initially based on the work of Patricia Auberdene, author of Megatrends 2010 [See brief review, coming up this November in the U.S. It is being partially sponsored by John Mackey and Whole Foods. For an interesting discussion of Conscious Capitalism go tohttp://fora.tv/2008/01/30/Conscious_Capitalism. Consequently, there is a focus on people and on systems (Figures 2 and 3).
Figure 2: The “People” Side of the Stagen Approach
Figure 3: The Systems Side of the Stagen Approach
Another quite different Integral Leadership development program is that presented by Terri O’Fallon and members of her staff on Pacific Integral. Their program, which is 18 months long (with new cohorts beginning every six months), draws an international group of participants who want to lead social change and transformation. Their focus is on awareness and action in all quadrants. Terri recently published an article that includes quite a bit about their approach in Integral Leadership Review [https://transdisciplinaryleadership.org/archives/2007-11/2007-11-article-ofallon.html]. Pacific Integral’s development approach involves first, second, and third person research and approaches to learning. They focus on enhancing awareness and the embodiment of this awareness in conscious decision-making and action. They draw on many resources, e.g., integral mapping, integral life practice, and Scharmer’s U Theory. During the program, participants work in teams on service projects. They intend to be publishing more results from their research based in this program in the near future.
Bill Joiner’s presentation on Leadership Agility was quite persuasive in his discussion of the application of stage theory in individual and organizational leadership. The value in the development of higher stages is increasing ability to deal with change and complexity, something desperately required by organizations. In addition he briefly discussed their workshops, coach training and the use of their Leadership Agility 360. His book, co-authored with Steve Joiner received the 2007 Readers Choice Award from the Integral Leadership Review. Furthermore, there is an interview with these authors in Integral Leadership Review (https://transdisciplinaryleadership.org/archives/2006-06/2006-06-fresh-joiner-josephs.html). I will leave it to you to read about this here or, even better, read this excellent book!
Alain Gautier, Member of the Integral Leadership Council (https://transdisciplinaryleadership.org/ contributor/bio-gautier-alain.html) for theIntegral Leadership Review and publisher of a recent article on the subject, (https://transdisciplinaryleadership.org/archives/2008-06/2008-06-article-gautier.html), joined with Marilyn Fowler, Chair of the Consciousness Studies Department at JFK University, in a presentation, “Integrally-Informed Approaches to Transformational Leadership Development.” In addition to reporting on the results of his recent research in the article above, Alain talked about the development of a global leadership network to address the need for new types of leadership and new organizational forms; he also indicated a need for an integral qualitative and quantitative assessment framework.
Marilyn Fowler talked about the program at JFK University and the consciousness-based education approach used with a focus on:
- Didactic and experiential learning,
- Creating change,
- Personal applications, and
- Multiple learning methodologies, including self-inquiry for meaning making, peer learning, mirroring and coaching.
Key concepts included are
- A systems view, how to see systems and interact with them,
- Paradigm understanding (attention to worldview(,
- Psycho-spiritual knowledge addressing the development of the authentic self through awareness and shadow work,
- Intersubjective and relational awareness,
- Somatic awareness, and
- Cosmic and evolutionary awareness, including attention to comprehending reality and examination of assumptions, beliefs, values, etc.
Bill Torbert brought a remarkable team of people with him to the conference: Elaine Herdman-Barker from the UK (Harthill), Aliki Nicolaides and David McCallum from Columbia University. Together they presented their work on action inquiry. The focus of Bill’s work is the development of communities of inquiry, particularly developmental action inquiry. He contrasted his approach “The Deep Four” with Wilber’s “flat” four quadrants. The Deep Four attends to the outside world, the embodied territory of sensation, thought and attention to now. They also emphasized the importance of first, second, and third person perspectives. First person relates to integrity and congruity, second to mutuality including attention to structures of power, and third relates to academic and attention to present and future. Elaine talked about her work with experts and strategists, including a finding that there exists a fear of isolation among experts who are on the verge of transformation to a higher level. Aliki did a two year phenomenological study of nine postconventionalists and their relationship with ambiguity, all of whom saw the creative potential of ambiguity. David’s work reminds us that later stages of development indicate a capacity to be aware of one’s own responses and what they mean, of challenging one’s own assumptions and being open to the perspectives of others. All in all, this key theme emerged from this set of presentations: that it is from all of those experiences we have in life of ourselves and others which we are most ready to turn away from that are the richest sources of our own learning and development.
Perhaps the most Spiral Dynamics influenced presentation was by Marilyn Hamilton of Royal Rhodes College in Victoria, Canada. She has been a student and teacher of spiral dynamics for a number of years and assisted Don Beck in the SD 1 and 2 trainings I attended in Vancouver several years ago. The title of her paper instantly tells how her work relates to that of others presenting at this conference: “Integral Methods From the Margins—Finding Myself in the Research: A Retrospective of Integral Leadership Development Methods Using Online Dialogue Analysis, a Competency Development Framework and Action Research.”
Her focus on what she had discovered about herself in several years of doing integral methodological pluralism approaches in her studies and research. These led to her own development. In telling her stories about finding herself, she drew on integral research modes: Online Dialogue Analysis, Competency Assessment, and Action Research.
As a foundation for finding myself, I am going to remind you about Clare Graves’ learning cycle to disclose my process of emergence. The stages in Graves’ learning cycle propose that: a learner must have potential in the brain; have solved all problems in the current life conditions; encounter dissonance; experience an aha insight that solves the dissonance; integrate the new learning; and finally consolidate the learning with other aspects of their life.
In her telling, the importance of attending to, turning into, and engaging those dark sides we all wish to avoid became clear. In her development she has discovered herself as a meshworker who has grown several stages. She concludes that it is easy to create the structures that allow for individuals to grow one level in two years. And her concluding paragraphs are well worth quoting:
However, what is more significant than anything I can do individually is that many others whom my methods from the margins have touched, are creating an ever growing integral practise community. I see the genuine growth of leadership and community capacities through the ego, ethno, eco and now evo intelligences we need for the integral age. The interaction of individual selves with others, organizations and systems is changing the world with progressively denser interactions and at larger scales.
What I have experienced as integral methods from the margins is starting now to show evidence that the leading edges of integral diversity generation are transforming the fraying edges of post-modern conformity. This Integral Theory in Action Conference is a perfect testimony to those who are pioneering and inspiring me to find more of what a diversity generating, integral, meshworking, evolutionary, structuralist can contribute to the change process that is shifting the world into evolutionary resilience.
I attended John Schmidt and Cynthia McEwen’s presentation of their study of ten global companies are used integral theory to as about sustainability why, what, how, who and when. At the heart of the presentation is the thesis that the mindsets of leaders are essential to their approach to sustainability. Their research shows that the level of development of corporate attention and investment in sustainability is correlated with the levels of development or the organization’s leaders. This shifts involves moving the focus from making money to transforming money involving a series of steps they call gears: compliance with regulation, voluntary action, partnering with other organizations and communities, integrating engagement across the value chain and redesigning systems to support sustainability.
Matthew Rich from South Africa, greatly experienced in Montisori education, presented on the model of sociocracy, a model that underlies and has been adapted for Holacracy. Rich focused on the origin and nature of the sociocracy model involving organization structures and roles.
In addition, there were several panels during the conference that were recorded. I went to two:
- Does Integral=Ken Wilber? And
- Developmental Research.
I will not try to summarize these. I will say that my sense of the former was that those interested in integral theory, while bowing to Wilber for his wonderful work, are seeking other developments in this field, as well. Robb Smith indicated that Wilber thinks many people interested in this field are beginning to ask the same questions he is. In the case of the latter, the theme of attending to the dark shadow side was repeated.
Saturday evening, before Suzanne’s presentation, awards were given to papers presented at the conference in a number of categories. Three of the winners were Mark Edwards, Tom Murray and Bonnita Roy. All three are associated with Integral Review (http://www.integral-review.org), as am I. What a team Sara Ross has assembled for that publication!
My regret is there were numerous presentations I did not get to. This included the presentations on integral coaching by Joanne Hunt and Laura Devine of Integral Coaching Canada, an organization that is partnering with the new directions of Integral Life. And,
Jonathan Reams, Ed Kelly, John Neely, Bonnita Roy, Bert Parlee, Nancy Davis, Steve McIntosh and a legion of others. Buy the recordings on CD at (http://www.acteva.com/booking.cfm?bevaid=151100).