Thrivability Maven

Thrivability Maven

At the heart of my work is teaching and invitation.

In contexts as wide-ranging as healthcare, education, the sciences and businesses of every kind, I have dedicated the past two decades to helping people understand what it takes for life to thrive and why that matters to each of us, to our organizations and communities, and to the survival of our species.

At the most basic level, thrivability calls for thinking about what thriving would look like in your context and then working to cultivate that. It’s that straightforward.

At the same time, there are a few underlying premises that make thrivability more interesting, important and powerful than it appears:

1. Organizations and communities are living systems capable of thriving.

There is so much to learn from nature and how it elegantly navigates complexity with creativity and resilience. Yet we typically think of organizations and communities in mechanistic terms, seeing them as separate from ourselves and seeking to manage, control and “re-engineer” them. While this has given us many benefits, it is also falling short in critical, even catastrophic ways. In recognizing our organizations and communities as dynamic, self-organizing living systems, we discover more effective ways of guiding them. And we set off on a pathway to greater wisdom, compassion and thriving.

2. All living systems require a specific set of “fertile conditions” if they are to thrive.

If we are going to enable life to thrive, we need to know what’s required. Fortunately, there is a set of patterns common to all living systems, including organizations, communities and economies. These are the “design principles” we have to work with in seeking to enable any living organization or community to thrive. 

3. We can – and must – cultivate those fertile conditions.

Cultivating those fertile conditions then becomes an ongoing practice of stewarding life. This is our most important – and rewarding – work, no matter what our industry or geography, no matter what our current project. Recognizing the life in our organizations and communities ushers in a shift in the overarching purpose of all our activities, toward what some are calling thrivability – the intention and practice of enabling life to thrive as fully as possible, at every level. 

On the foundation of these premises,
I invite people to step into the intention and practice of stewarding life,
so that:

Workers and customers

experience more health, joy, justice, learning, self-expression and self-awareness.

The organization

achieves its intended purpose creatively, gracefully and resiliently, while attracting and cultivating necessary resources.

The community

discovers more connectedness, creativity, resilience and self-reliance.

The biosphere

is supported in its ability to be healthy and regenerative over time.

“We are faced with a choice: continue down the conventional path of alienation from life, despite that pathway’s inevitable devastation; or forge a new path of greater alignment with life, with all its promise and potential.”

Want to learn more?

A slideshow you can breeze through in 5 minutes … or linger and reflect along the way.

An 18-minute TEDx talk on the patterns of living systems and the Age of Thrivability.

An illustrated article on Living Systems Theory and the Practice of Stewarding Change.

A 90-minute recorded webinar on the DNA of Organizational