Involutionary Process Thinking


What is a symphony ? Is it the musical notes on the page ? Is it the orchestra that played it or the conductor who conducted them ? Is it the composer who composed it or the audience that listened to it. In order t understand things, we necessarily put boundaries around them. However there is a danger that we lose the whole picture.

Here’s another example. It is hard to understand the process of growth within a flower if we do not also understand the relationship been the flower and its roots, the roots with earth and water, the budding process in relation to sun and air.

Involutionary process thinking asks the question: what is involved in this process ? By doing this we often gain a broader view of the process and also become aware, not just of the surface symptoms but also the root causes.

For example:

The weather pattern in one part of the world might be the result of volcanic activity in a different part of the world

The problem of a poor crop on a farm might be connected to local river pollution or even acid rain caused by pollution in a country that is far away.

The success of a team building process might be related, not just to the process itself but to the preparation processes preceding it.

What is involved in a process ? That’s the question !

If you pick a flower out of the soil and hold it up in front of you, it still looks like a flower. You might even call it a flower. But without being able to root in the earth and draw water, without the connection with nature, it will soon wilt and die. It will only remain as a flower if a whole range of processes is active in it. By picking it, those processes are halted and the flower will not remain a flower for long !

If we want to innovate a process, the involutionary approach invites us to think of all of the sub processes within a processes, all of the processes feeding into it or outputting from it, all of the bigger processes of which our process is just a sub process. We look for cause and effect relationships between these various processes

Why not try an involutionary brainstorm?

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