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Unflattening

Portfolio

Areas of Curiosity & Current Portfolio of Action Research Activities

We maintain an active practice of maintaining side projects, developmental interests, and continuous research investigations. We welcome inquiry, conversation, or exploratory discussion about all of the things below. AND, we love talking about them - mostly because they are still in-formation and therefore dynamically incomplete areas of interest that keep our work lively, fun, and purposeful.


spreading liberating structures globally & locally

A critical element of our work is in shaping the development of the Liberating Structures repertoire and contributing to global spread of that work by offering immersive learning experiences and partnering with other users to continue evolving and advancing the practice of LS in every domain imaginable. 

We frequently participate in and initiate Liberating Structures related activities. From the local Seattle User Group to the global Slack community, we are deeply entangled in the evolutionary emergence of the movement to build microstructural awareness and practice minimalism that unflattens. 

LS Logo by Tracy Kelly

LS Logo by Tracy Kelly


Developing Relational Coordination & generative relationships especially within groups and teams of all stripes

We find ourselves attracted to the kinds of intractable challenges that scientists face up to everyday. While not directly participating in the technical development of a specific domain or field (though Charley did in the past), we hope to contribute obliquely by translating advances in management practice, human dynamics, relational coordination, and generative systems for science and engineering teams.


Exploring the role of non-linear dynamics in complex systems - like organizations, conversations, and social mythology

Each of us came to an interest in complex systems from opposite directions - Charley via her work as a NASA research scientist developing adaptive controls & distributed neural intelligence within aircraft and Fisher through improvisational dance forms and his study of learning & development. 

Intellectually, complexity is a wonderfully fun distraction. However, in practice, everything is inherently complex and therefore the opportunities to unflatten it are limitless. It is our disappointments, failures, and the elusive-yet-persistent nature of complexity that continues to draw us forward. 


Unhinging Learning & Development

Colleges & universities are some of our favorite places to work. They simultaneously contain immense dysfunction, rigidity, and reductionist approaches to the world AND maintain an optimism, youthfulness, and orientation towards learning, growth, and discovery that is infectious. 

We continue to deepen our understanding of higher education by actively seeking out projects, clients, classroom interaction & teaching opportunities, and learning partners. 


Inventing practices & strategies for discovering novel products, services, and solutions to chronic problems

The process of generating innovative new products, services, solutions or offerings follows many of the patterns, attributes, and characteristics of nonlinear, complex systems. Indeed, most endeavors to create something new are inherently unpredictable, unreliable, and uncertain. 

We've spent lots of time working on ways for groups & organizations to engage in design methods/processes that result in a continuously renewing set of options and a more diverse portfolio of offerings.

We enjoy this kind of design work - particularly in the earliest phases of customer discovery and opportunity identification.

 


    Operationalizing multiple methods/approaches simultaneously

    We are continuously exploring, recombining, and discovering the ways in which different approaches or methods complement each other. Whether that means using Lean & Liberating Structures or Agile & Design Thinking or all of them together, we are curious how to different methods rub up against each other an open up new adjacent possibilities as a result. 

    Currently, we do much of this work with state and local government agencies that are interested in transforming their relationship with the people they serve.