Another key ingredient within our approach to change and deep cultural transformation is learning how to work with emergence, in reverance to the complex relational system we are part of.
Despite uncertainty and change being the only constant, contemporary Western culture attempts to defend against the discomfort of uncertainty through ‘predict and control’, projecting culturally conditioned ideas of how things will or should be. Working with emergence invites us to learn how to tolerate and transform this discomfort so that we can meet the constantly-changing truth of any given moment or situation.
Working with emergence involves letting go of trying to ‘predict and control’ how things should be. Instead we meet life as it actually is.
We receive and respond to the feedback life gives us in each moment, adapting our next steps accordingly - much like a skipper ‘tacking’ the way to their destination in response to whatever weather arises in each moment.
To work with emergence we need to re-member how to receive and respond to the constant feedback life offers in the form of thoughts, feelings, sensations, intuitions and deep imagery.
Emergent strategy brings together working with emergence with a more long-term strategic approach. We begin by dreaming into our vision - what do we long to bring about? What will life look and feel like then? Next we sense and map the changes needed to manifest this vision and identify immediate next steps to help move towards this change - all the while finding ways to keep our north star bright and alive at the centre of our being.
Hierarchical and rigid structures favour those who have most structural power and rank within our current culture, at the expense of the collective intelligence and creative genius of the many. However, those who are marginalised by our current culture have needed to work with emergence for their very survival because ‘predict and control’ has never been a strategy they have the privilege of drawing on. Our current global pandemic and resulting lockdowns have highlighted the necessity and importance of working with emergence.
For more on this check out Emergent Strategy: Shaping change, Changing worlds by Adrienne Maree Brown.