Guest Post — Prototyping an Abundance-based, Virtual, Learning Environment

Guest post by Annabel Membrillo JimenezGlobal Steward Vibrancy Ins

Inspired to design a prototype of an abundance-based, virtual, learning environment, a question came to me.  How could I expand the opportunities to nourish and grow the potential of the Vibrancy community through building capacity and understanding?  The exploration went from an inventory of knowledge to a pre-design of what would be inside multiple levels of understanding.  But, that did not seem like it was enough.  More questions emerged about how to design similar environments for other abundance-based.

The exploration went from a possibility to a probability when the UMA (Universidad del Medio Ambiente in Valle de Bravo, Mexico) opened the door to hold this program within the university’s virtual platform. So, in that moment the support of a university that had both a very well designed virtual platform and a beautiful campus that could support this prototype came into the picture.

So, what happened? The next question arose: How to build a virtual learning environment that could nourish the space for building deep understanding of what it means to co-host transformations?  And, to be more ambitious, how could that be scaled in a relatively easy way in a second iteration? We did not really know if this would interest people, although an attractive feature for the potential participants was that at the end they would receive a diploma from the UMA and the certification from the Vibrancy community.

The design is a journey of six months with a deep focus on experience and application to real cases. Half of the 110 hours required the participants to make applications, reflections, exercises and integration of learnings in documents. Six months seems to be a fair amount of time to build up maturity of knowledge, and give the opportunity to implement and apply tools and exercises in real case studies with real communities. Seeing this as a possibility for scaling globally, I decided to launch it in a mostly virtual format.

And then more and more questions arose; questions around how to build understanding about the what, how and when of the application of the tools and methodologies. But that was a dispassionate purpose for me, and I felt that there was not real aligned with the intention of the first question I was asking. So, I kept on asking myself what was the specific purpose for this prototype. And then, it came to me: the purpose was “to be at the service of each participant to become more of who they really are.” That purpose holds the first intention, for me, unleashing the potential of the Vibrancy community in its ability to unleash the potential of humanity, unleashing each person’s potential for holding the abundance framework every time they choose. In that moment, I knew everything was ready and in place for this to happen because I saw something I could dearly commit to.

So far I can see two very different sets of learnings: one about the design phase to manifest the program; and the second about the first two months of the journey.

For the design phase, I want to share two things I learned:

  1. Sit in the question to clarify the different levels of the purpose. I went from the purpose of how to expand the capacity of the Vibrancy community to the purpose of being at the service of each participant’s potential. Each purpose is perfectly fine for the level they were thought of, one was at the level of a global question and the other was at the level of the specific design of the prototype. Both are important and both are relevant for the conversations that are already happening and the ones that will be happening for the exploration of the next expression of this prototype.
  2. Be conscious of the endless journey through the O Process. Going from the purpose to possibilities and probabilities felt different when I was moving more and more into the concrete expression for a specific prototype. I knew that the more detailed levels of the purpose are invoking a bigger gesture for the bigger question and that made me hold the purpose with a different awareness.

In the first two months of the journey, here is what I have learned so far:

  1. Be very clear about the invitation. This was an invitation to explore this journey together.  All participants in the journey know that it is the first one in this format and completely in Spanish.  They also know that the invitation requires several hours of self-study, application and reflection besides the virtual and face to face session.
  2. Be conscious of what you are invoking and invite each participant to do the same. Do not be afraid to share the deeper purpose!
  3. Use the sense of harmony, intensively. The design of each session calls for a very active listening from me, with all my senses, and being able to design each session with what is emerging. Do not misunderstand me. I have a lot of clarity about the purpose and about what they need to learn, but I have discovered and learned how to flow with the rhythm of the group to introduce concepts, exercises and challenges at the pace they can take on, depending on what they are sharing in their individual assignments.
  4. Hold us all as Homo lumens. I can see each one of them as Homo lumens with enormous potential. I am amazed with the group and who they are.  And, I see myself as someone who can hold the space for them to explore their own potential.
  5. Live it as a constant prototype. The space is co-designed, co-built, and co-hosted together. This has happened in two levels: 1) with others that want to be in the conversation of how to explore environments for building understanding; and 2) using the sense of harmony I shared before.
  6. Design the assignments as a key for the virtual space. I have spent a lot of time imagining the kind of experience I would like them to have between sessions and what kind of assignment would be just enough to stretch them a little bit each time. I am the vehicle designing the underlying structure, the participants are taking up the heavy lifting, through their will, into the doing. One of the participants shared that they needed to do an exercise of honesty with themselves to really get into the assignments, and that is not easy sometimes.

So far, the journey has been delightful. We have been together for 14 hours in virtual sessions, and I am impressed with the pace of the group. Some of them are getting to very deep reflections that we never saw before in such a short time. Some of them are already venturing into actively working with specific tools and methods in different groups.  We are all already looking forward to being together in person at the end of the six months. There is already a feeling of being close to each other. At the end, they will write up case studies and they will synthetize what they have learned in their applications, and I am curious to see how this will happen.

You can enter into a little piece of the concrete prototype design through the PDF presentation, where you can find the timeline and the sharing of some of the reflections the participants are having together. I will be sharing more reflections about the journey along the way, so stay tuned.

Get Certified in Ecosynomics — Public Registration Is Open

ISC Vibrancy logos

Vibrancy and the Institute for Strategic Clarity open public registration today for a second cohort in three certification programs in Ecosynomics, which start September 3, 2015.  This brief overview highlights the three programs, what courses they include, dates, and pricing.

Invitation.  If you are interested in deepening your ability to work with the Ecosynomics framework and tools and in receiving certification for that deepened capacity, then the following certification programs might interest you.

Given the interactive and intensive nature of the cohort-based certification program, we are limiting the size of each cohort to 12 people.

Three Programs.  Vibrancy and the Institute for Strategic Clarity offer three levels of certification in Ecosynomics: Introduction; Certified Ecosynomic Technician; and Certified Master in Ecosynomics.

Introduction

  • Instructor. Jim Ritchie-Dunham
  • Description. This 3-day course provides an intensive, interactive overview to Ecosynomics, starting with the corporeal experience of knowing the harmonic vibrancy one experiences and outcomes one achieves in any situation, using evidence-based methods to see the agreements that influence those experiences and outcomes, identifying processes and structures that support a higher level of experience and outcomes, and designing a path to consciously shifting those agreements. This is a great introductory course for Ecosynomics.
  • Equivalent. 3-day continuing education course

Technician

  • Instructor. Jim Ritchie-Dunham
  • Description. This set of 4 courses provides you with the capacity to work with Ecosynomic agreements, (1) leading groups through the experience of scarcity, abundance, and choice in their agreements, (2) using Ecosynomic tools to highlight the group’s current and desired experience, agreements, and outcomes, (3) guiding them through process of collaboration and transformation, and (4) measuring abundance-based success along the way. This is a great technical training in leading Ecosynomic interventions.
  • Prerequisite. You must complete the Introduction to Ecosynomics course prior to taking this training.
  • Equivalent. 6-month Diplomme certificate

Master

  • Instructor. Jim Ritchie-Dunham with invited high-vibrancy practitioners for each course
  • Description. This set of 11 mastery courses provides you with the capacity to strategically design, lead, transform, and assess groups founded in abundance-based agreements, from small teams to large organizations, networks, and large-scale social change efforts.
  • Prerequisite. You must complete the Certified Ecosynomic Technician training prior to taking this training.
  • Equivalent.   2-year MBA

The following table highlights the courses offered in each level with a brief description of the course and its equivalent in a traditional business school curriculum.

Certification Schedule 060515a

Location.  The certification programs are currently offered in Amherst, Massachusetts (USA).

Pricing.  You can see in the table above that the cohort will be meeting 4 times a year, for 7 days. Each course meets for a full 3 days. There is 1 day between the two courses included in each visit, to allow time for preparation and reflection. This overall spacing of the courses attempts to maximize time for work between courses while minimizing travel time to the courses.

The cost for each course is US$300 or US$100/day. The cost includes instructor fees and materials provided. The cost does not include transportation, lodging, or food. We can help you arrange local lodging, and we will collectively arrange for food. We request payment before the course. You can pay in one installment or as you go.

Next Steps. If you are interested in registering or have any questions about the program, please contact me at jimrd {at} instituteforstrategicclarity.org. We can discuss what levels of certification works best for you.