Life emerges from death. This is merely a fact from ecology — where the seemingly immortal flow of nutrients continuously passes from the bodies of the recently deceased into new forms as it is reconstituted in the bodies of the newly born.
I offer this metaphor as the starting point to discuss how we can apply biological principles to “guide the flow of nutrients” from dying institutional forms for education, research, and social change practice. In a recent article, I explained why universities are failing humanity to express that disciplinary-based solutions will not help us in a systemic-problem-based world. Only when we reorganize our efforts around the systems in question will effective interventions be found.
Readers who follow my work know that I am striving to create the field of culture design as an integrated social science of intentional large-scale change. It combines tools, methods, and insights from complexity science, evolutionary studies, the cognitive and behavioral sciences, and many related fields. Those unfamiliar with this effort can read more here:
- Culture Design Labs — Evolving the Future
- A Global Network of Culture Design Labs
- Tools for Culture Design — Toward A Science of Intentional Change
- Guiding the Evolution of Social Systems
If such an effort is truly needed, why hasn’t it taken form yet? Why hasn’t the field of culture design already been born? The answers are many and I will only focus on a few of them here to give a feel for what the process may look like as intentional efforts bring it into being (or not) in the next decade.