Categories
Ecosystem Mapping

State of Sensemaking directory – Alpha Launch

We’re excited to announce the alpha version of the “State of Sensemaking” directory:

https://ecosystem.lifeitself.us/

The site is one output from our ongoing efforts to map an emerging ecosystem. It provides a growing directory of organizations, communities and individuals organized by theme and activity. It also includes background content and interviews as well as visual overviews of the space.

Why: currently, the ecosystem is largely uncharted and undefined making it hard to discover, navigate and engage with. We hope that mapping the ecosystem helps it become (more) visible, self-aware, interconnected, resourced and effective.

How: the first stage of the project involves the creation of a directory, outlining the types and areas of focus of these organisations. Over time, we plan more in depth analysis to map the ecosystem and chart how actors relate to one another across a number of dimensions.

Early stage: we emphasize our work here is clearly highly preliminary and is limited by both resources and our own knowledge. Based on snowball sampling starting from our contacts it necessarily and obviously display clear biases e.g. geographically to Europe versus the rest of the world, thematically in terms of areas chosen etc. We welcome feedback and contributions to correct and improve it.

Naming: the ecosystem is still emerging and ill-defined. Reflecting this it has no clear name and we have settled for now, not entirely happily, on the title “sensemaking” hence “state of sensemaking”. Read more below on this point.

A sample of the over 100 profiles in the directory

Context: An Emerging Ecosystem

Emerging and still ill-defined

A newly emerging ecosystem of individuals, organisations and initiatives around the world has in recent years begun to form. We know that many of them are trying to create change, often by shifting how we make sense of the world, by how we engage with one another — in short, by engaging in sensemaking and culturemaking.

But that is more or less all we know about this newly emergent space, and, as such, it calls for exploration. What are its defining characteristics? How do organisations differ, and how are they similar? What is this space? What are the other ecosystems to which it is interconnected? And how will it evolve? These are some of the things we are hoping to find out.

Finally, there is purpose beyond simply exploration: understanding can lead to self-awareness and self-understanding making the ecosystem more known, interconnected, resourced and effective.

Emerging commonalities

The ecosystem as we have mapped it is quite broad – even disparate. However there are commonalities. Emerging organisations and individuals are opting towards ‘teal’ style collaboration and community building in order to maximise resources as a generalist, lateral way of operating comes into view as a more effective way of tackling systemic problems.

There is a focus on systems, emergence, coherence, sovereignty, sensemaking as buzzwords, along with activism, governance, and regenerative culture. This is characterised by a strong lean towards spirituality (mindfulness) and the relationship between inner and outer life. At a higher level, we have identified three core thematic areas which tie together the varied groups in the space: collectivism, (w)holism and counterculturalism and culture-making.

The site is a tool for exploring an emerging ecosystem whose nature, boundaries and name are not yet fully defined. Nevertheless some key features are visible: a focus on systems, emergence, sensemaking, integral, culture-making and metamodernism as buzzwords, along with activism, governance, and regenerative culture. It is characterised by a strong lean towards spirituality (mindfulness) and the relationship between inner and outer life.

Beyond this thematic overlap we have identified four major areas of activity: physical spaces, research, media/publishing and events. Nonetheless, it has been notable that many organisations have shifted to multi-channel working across a number of these (e.g. producing media content as well as running retreats and events).