Among other tools such as spiral dynamics, integral philosophy and methodology, co-intelligence principles and online community building theories, the Universe community and the Universe Spirit organization uses many of the principles of self organizing systems to help manage the collaboration processes and projects of our website and grow the movement and organization. Understanding how self organizing systems work is essential to understanding that sub-process within progressive evolution.
Some of the following principles and methodologies of systems theory were found at these sources. These principles are recommended for applicable and appropriate use by the Universe community, the Job One for Humanity project and everyone working in our organization or, seeking to better understand and use the tools of progressive evolution.
The 3 sections below are:
- General Rules Of Creating Self-Organizing Systems
- Characteristics Of Self-Organizing Systems
- Effecting Change In Self-Organizing Systems
ALLOW THE ENDS TO CONNECT - The ends to connect without any centralized control. Democracy is supposed to be about people talking with each other about what matters to them and then organizing to get the things they want.
DON'T BUILD THE SYSTEM - GROW IT - No blueprint, if a blueprint is taken to mean a set of plans that specifies the final structure. Instead it offers a constantly evolving layers of tools the provide a medium for network growth, along with a stream of encouragement (cycling in a feedback loop), that serves as a nutrient.
SWARM AND SELF-ORGANIZE - Think of your ants generating messages, and then creating a system to see which ones rise to the top.
UNTETHER - Groups of supporters and volunteer workers building tools that raise the value of the network.
YOU'RE NOT A LEADER - YOU'RE A PLACE - The larger part is the community itself. You're a place. You're like a park or a garden. If it's comfortable and cool, people are attracted. A place for people to hang out. The key to leadership here is listening. The good thing about emergent systems is that you can hear what they are saying even though they involve millions of moving parts.
MAKE THE NETWORK STUPID - "Stupid" is used in the technical sense defined by David S. Isenberg in his classic telephony paper, "The Rise of the Stupid Network." In this paper Isenberg advanced the principle that under conditions of uncertainty a network should not be optimized for some limited set of uses presumed to be definitive. Instead, the network should be as simple as possible, with advanced functionality (and intelligence) moved out to the ends of the network - to the users.
FEEDBACK - Self-organizing systems use feedback to bootstrap themselves into a more orderly structure.
CHOICE - An essential feature of self-organizing systems is freedom of choice between alternative ways of doing things.
GOALS - Self-organizing systems without a goal have unknown or undetermined outcomes. Whether or not you set a goal depends on what you are trying to achieve.
FORM (To be born in mind) - The limitations of the material organism or the tools it uses (in part) determines the outcome.
Absence of external control (autonomy)
Dynamic operation (time evolution)
Fluctuations (noise/searches through options)
Symmetry breaking (loss of freedom/heterogeneity)
Global order (emergence from local interactions)
Dissipation (energy usage/far-from-equilibrium)
Instability (self-reinforcing choices/nonlinearity)
Multiple equilibria (many possible attractors)
Criticality (threshold effects/phase changes)
Redundancy (insensitivity to damage)
Self-maintenance (repair/reproduction metabolisms)
Adaptation (functionality/tracking of external variations)
Complexity (multiple concurrent values or objectives)
Hierarchies (multiple nested self-organized levels)
TRANSCENDING PARADIGMS - Transcending paradigms may go beyond challenging fundamental assumptions, into the realm of changing the values and priorities that lead to the assumptions, and being able to choose among value sets at will.
CHANGING PARADIGMS - Paradigms might be changed by repeatedly and consistently pointing out the anomalities and failures to those with open minds.
CHANGING THE GOAL OF THE SYSTEM - A goal change has impact on every item listed above, parameters, feedback loops, information and self-organisation.
SELF-ORGANIZING A SELF-ORGANIZATION - Refers to the capacity of a system to change itself by creating new structures; adding new negative and positive feedback loops, promoting new information flows, making new rules.
CHANGING THE RULES OF THE SYSTEM - (such as incentives, punishment, constraints) Rules are very high leverage points.
CHANGING THE STRUCTURE OF INFORMATION FLOW - Flow is a very important leverage point in a system. It is neither a parameter, nor a re-inforcing or slowing loop, but a new loop delivering information which was not delivered before. It is considered a very powerful leverage, cheaper and easier than infrastructure change.
CHANGING THE GAIN AROUND DRIVING POSITIVE FEEDBACK LOOPS - A feedback loop is a control that tends to speed up a process (it refers to the direction of the change). It is a self-reinforcing loop. Positive feedback loop are sources of growth, of explosion, and sometimes of collapse when the feedback is not under control (in particular of a negative feedback loop). In most cases, it is preferable to slow down a positive loop, rather than speeding up a negative one.
CHANGING THE LENGTH OF DELAYS, RELATIVE TO THE RATE OF SYSTEM CHANGES - Delays must be carefully considered, as information received too quickly or information received too late could cause either overreaction and under-reaction. Very lengthy delays cause oscillations when trying to adjust a system. However, delays are often parameters that can be changed as easily as rate of change.
CHANGING THE CONSTANTS, PARAMETERS, NUMBERS (SUCH AS PRICE OR VALUE STANDARDS) - These parameters are points of lowest leverage effects. Though they are the most clearly perceived among all leverages, they have little impact long term; they do not usually change behaviors. A widely changing system will not be made stable by a change of parameter, nor will a stagnant one dramatically change.
- A RETROACTIVE MANIFESTO FOR THE DEAN CAMPAIGN
- Self-Organizing Systems (SOS) FAQ
- Donella Meadows' twelve leverage points to intervene in a system