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élan Map Overview

on 3 September 2010 - 1:24pm




















WHY we need a map of the movements/tribes/initiatives that move the edge


A possibility that inspires us: élan Map as a synergy engine


"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

Facing a variety of local and global crises, 100,000's of social change groups are engaged to make our systems more adaptable and resilient. That can improve their efficiency but doesn't address the structural roots of the crises. Some movements/tribes go farther and create new structures and social practices. They are like prototypes of a new civilization. When they get replicated and start co-evolving, the emergence to a new form of society at a higher level of harmonized complexity can occur. That emergence is like spontaneous combustion. "Combustion begins if a sufficiently strong oxidizer, such as oxygen, is present." (Wikipedia)

The oxidizer of emergence in social systems is social reflection that "refers to seeing ourselves in the mirror of collective consciousness…" (Duane Elgin) That collective consciousness has been mass-produced by the owners of mass media, with very little impact from their critics, for a large part of the past century.

The Internet created a possibility for a new, autonomous form of shared reflection and coherent action by communities and movements working for a better worldWe need good maps of the forces playing in the global field of social transformation. Currently, they are non-existent. élan Map will support the movements, by providing better tools for collaborative meaning making of what on Earth is emerging. "Once there is authentic social reflection, we can achieve a shared understanding and a working consensus regarding actions for a sustainable future. With a shared understanding, actions can come quickly and voluntarily, and we can each contribute our unique talents to the creation of a life-affirming future." Awakening the Double Wisdom of Civilization, by Duane Elgin 



We hope that using it, "cultural, social, and political change agents, social entrepreneurs, and funding bodies could more easily locate one another to network, exchange ideas, and build co-creative alliances. This Synergy Engine would result — not in one or two or a dozen innovative initiatives — but in an environment in which the path forward for any innovative initiative with evolutionary potential and conducive level of awareness/readiness would be lubricated and facilitated." The Integral “Killer App” Challenge  by Terry Patten.



What gifts will élan Map contribute to the world-transition of our times?


People's easier matching of their desire to serve the whole with suitable and energizing contexts


Individuals using the élan Map will be able to discover a wider field of possibilities for change, with higher impact to engage and with, thanks to a more fine-tuned match, between their personal passion and initiatives in need of support.


Supporting that process, élan Map will also serve as a discovery tool for changemakers who want to increase their change effectiveness by finding and evaluating possible connections for inspiring, high-synergy collaboration.



Unleashing more of social creativity across initiatives, communities, generations, organizations, and cultures


We have not yet seen what becomes possible when ever-better tools and practices for self-expression and collaboration start spreading among 2 billion netizens!


Mapping the unfolding of social co-creativity brought into play by edge initiatives, making them visible to each other, and enabling faster and deeper learning from/with one another, will be one of élan Map's contributions to make a "New Renaissance" scenario of the future ever-more widely present.



Discovering the narrative of emergence into a wiser culture


Wiser” as in: capable of embracing broader perspectives and worldviews of higher memetic altitude. The narratives of the current world-transition are at least as numerous as the cultural contexts from which they are seen if not more.


Discovering and mapping narrative fractals and other interesting patterns that connect the initiatives, are the focus of the action inquiry that we call " élan Map". (We anticipate that when enough narratives are mapped, they will give rise to a meta-narrative.)



Empowering the discovery of common patterns in edge projects and practices worth replicating


Organizations and networks using élan Map will have access to a common pattern language describing radical reinvention initiatives, and an evolving pattern library of successful practices.


Once they are presented as a web of inter-linked patterns, everyone will be able to evaluate more easily how suitable certain practices are for replication across a range of initiatives.


Using visual mapping methods, we will let the bigger picture connecting them become visible and add momentum to the twin streams of world-transition: emergence and regeneration.




Boosting the collective intelligence of the ecosystem of edge initiatives


Mapping the niches in that ecosystem can enhances connections, make new ones, and speed the flows of trust, knowledge, and resources, among the niches.


Amplifying its collective intelligence is a must for the ecosystem of Emergence, if it is to match the complexity of the ecosystem of humankind's intertwined challenges.


Increasing connectivity among niches nearby and far-flung is a necessary condition to boost the collective intelligence of the ecosystem to the level required for evolving to a higher level of consciousness and culture.



WHAT functions will élan Map perform


A triple network as public resource


élan Map will be a product of a triple network: (a) a network of movement cartographers creating (b) a network of maps showing the landscape of initiatives and their relationships, supported by (c) a network electronic tools and environments, such as the ones mentioned above, plus the Knowledge Garden and élan Trends, our online magazine.


The current list of the featured initiatives' descriptors that élan Map will present includes: Philosophy (including their Mission Values, Principles), Structure, Founder(s), Leadership Patterns, Projects, Organizational Affinities, News, Events, and Social Media presence illustrated with real-time status updates. That list may change in the prototyping process, as we get more input from the early users involved with it.


The technical environment will include digital video, photos, and text associated with the maps, and will reflect the latest development in both the social (Web 2.0) and the semantic Web (Web 3.0).


élan Map will be, along with élan Trends, both an organ and process of collective sensing and meaning making. Their primary function is to serve the collective consciousness and intelligence of movements and initiatives on the edge of transformation. The Map and the Trends are intended to perform that function, by amplifying the creative resonance in the ecosystem of evolutionary initiatives.


Mapping the future as it is emerging from those initiatives can help them become more co-intelligent and aware of themselves as whole. The whole of Emergence becomes more vibrant with life when more parts of it connect with one another and weave themselves into new configurations for meeting evolutionary challenges and opportunities. Shared mental models and maps are pivotal for mutual trust and co-creation in and among the parts to flow freely and transparently.


élan Map will be comprised of two inter-related parts: a public resource and a process of building it. Its process aspect is outlined in the HOW section of this document.


As a public resource, it will provide various maps of the movements and initiatives. It will also provide a palette of social mapping tools for that, including: Concept Map, Mind Map, Strategic Clarity Mapping, The Brain (for 3-D mapping), Value Network Analysis, as well as Intent Map and Narrative Fractals (as soon as their beta versions will be released).


As a public resource, it will be also part of a system of global knowledge commons that support the development of new talents, capabilities (individual and collective), and worldviews, needed for the world-transition to proceed at the smallest cost in unnecessary human suffering.


Two lenses for looking at the map


élan Map can be seen through two lenses.




1. Through the lens of "global brain," it is 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 the 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

"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


Our mental models both reflect and constrain our ability to interpret our world. Projecting them into maps that can be examined and improved, we enhance our self-reflexivity, individual and collective.



HOW we are going to do that?


Presencing and Participatory Mapping


A new type of knowledge artifact, élan Map cannot be designed and built in a linear way. We will use innovative project development methodologies, including Presencing and Narrative Fractals.


élan Map will be not only a tangible knowledge artifact but also, a living and evolving, participatory mapping process; not only what we look at but also, are part of.

We believe that mapmaking as a group exercise can be a very empowering process. The map of the group made by its members and featuring its key characteristics (as well as the ones of neighboring niches) is a collective expression of their shared mental models that, when made visible to them, can be collaboratively improved and upgraded.


Participatory mapping is an action research methodology used primarily but not exclusively in the global South as a tool in development. What contributed to its popularity is the "versatility and power of participatory mapping, the relative ease with which it can be facilitated, the fun, fulfillment and pride which people derive from it, and its multiple uses by so many stakeholders." – Participatory Mapping and Geographic Information Systems,by Robert Chambers


The principles of participatory mapping are applicable to not only to geographic information systems but also to mapping social innovation movements. We envision it as a fractal process of modeling how any niche can map its relevant neighborhoods in the noosphere. First of all, we'll start small, and without first creating a grand overview of the whole landmass of Emergence. Starting with a meta-map that implies a meta-theory would be a necessarily erroneous exercise, given that the lay lines of the emergent landscape and the larger patterns of meaning will become visible only in a more advanced stage of the development of the whole.


We will start by simply mapping the neighboring niches and striving for making our map useful to them. In our case, "neighboring" is a niche on the edge of social evolution, with which some of us on the élan team are involved or in contact.


Whom to include?


Out of the hundreds of organizations, groups, and projects that our team is in touch with, following and/or followed by, which are the ones that we should include in the map? The exploration of that question led us to the following criteria of what we look for in élan Map candidates. We assume that these criteria will change and get refined over time, as the process unfolds and we receive more feedback from our collaborators and early users.


First, we consider the founding persons, initiators and instigators behind the organization/movement/group/project and their motivations/vision; second, what the group strives for and what track record illustrates their competence in moving towards that.



As for the persons, we are looking at where they are on their developmental journey as reflected by such questions as:



What is their emotional state when they explain what they do and why? Are they peaceful/inspired or angry and full of frustration? Are they seeing problems everywhere or opportunities for change? Where do they put their emphasis? Where do they direct their attention and energy: to enemies to be defeated or to build a "transcend-and-include" future?
Are they stuck in one way of seeing the world or able to flexibly see/adopt different perspectives in a discussion while at the same time maintain a strong stand for what they believe in? Are they capable of expressing their core message in the language of the value system of the people they are talking with?
Are they passionate, hungry learners capable to inspire the development of all around them?
Are they committed to bringing a possibility into the world and open to how and with whom, or are they attached to their own view about it as the only way this is going to happen?


When looking at the group and its work, this is what we look for:



Is it all-inclusive at the expense of loosing focus and direction or does it have ways to test whether people require further personal exploration or assistance in developing an awareness appropriate to that group?
Is it able to make a practical/tangible impact over time? Is it able to attract and retain people that resonate with its worldview?
Does it manifest the strengths of the healthy state of all value systems on the developmental spiral? (We refer to the developmental stages outlined by Spiral Dynamics.)
Is its decision making principled, knowledge-centered? Does it take into account the long range, systemic interdependence of its consequences?
Does it have a climate that is open to exploration and promoting continued development of the members and the group as a whole? How well are interpersonal and task processes balanced?
Can it successfully combine high-tech and high touch ways of knowing?


In addition to the above, we also consider whether the group 's work is defined by a single-issue focus or has broader scope and choose the latter for inclusion in the map.


Any individual or group matching all these criteria all the time would be too good to be true. The ones that demonstrate at least a commitment to aspire to and work towards the level of capability exemplified by them are our role models whose work inspires ours. Based on that discernment, we selected an initial list of candidates to vet for inclusion in élan Map 0.1, which we will announce as soon as mutual interest in collaboration is established with them.


We want to bring to the world the élan Map (its content, tools and methods) as a public resource, a knowledge commons and envision the process of co-creating it as a commoning process. Commoning, a verb derived from the commons, refers to the heart of the élan Map project: the co-creation of all aspects of the project by those who feel attracted by it. "It is through (re)production in common that communities of producers decide for themselves the norms, values and measures of things." The Production of Commons and the “Explosion” Class By Massimo De Angelis






Project Hosting Team


The hosting team is a small, multi-disciplinary group of colleagues on a shared learning journey to discover what it takes to prototype élan Map. Initially, its functions will be assumed by the élan Seed Team.


As the project attracts more talents and becomes capable to match its complexity, it will align with various communities of practitioners e.g.: movement cartographers and semantic architects. We will develop a mutually supportive relationship with their communities of practice, as communities that do not belong to any specific movement or initiative, and collaborate with those that inspire them.


The pivotal task of the hosting team is to host the co-creative conversations through which the project is evolving. One of the useful frameworks that we will apply in that work is the "Conceptual Framework for Online Identity Roles"  by Venessa Miemis, portrayed by the Database of the Self" diagram below.





Stakeholder Council


The project's Stakeholder Council will be the group of liaison from each organization featured in the élan Map. They will be our key partners on the presencing journey towards prototyping, evolving and evaluating it.




The WHY, WHAT, HOW, and WHO define the project's main parameters only. Its actual unfolding in time depends on the pace of its gathering support and momentum.



Join the conversation on the élan Map Overview here