To create a design whereby a group of people can actually work together, build amazing projects together, and do so in relative harmony, is quite the feat.

So often human systems end up either in a collapsed heap or scattered wide and far, often in an explosive way.

Indeed, unless we learn how to enable diverse humans to collaborate, coordinate and work together we are going to find the large-scale changes we need to make for a world with a future for Earth and all her creatures extremely hard. 

Learning how to create a social architecture, to apply Relational Synergistic Design to your project or enterprise, is what we cover in the Syntropic Enterprise Masterclass. 

A key milestone in my journey to the birthing of Syntropic World happened on November 5th 2015 – remember, remember the fifth of November (Guy Fawkes day) – when170 people came together in my local city – the Gold Coast – for Big Blue Sky, an event I stewarded with a remarkable and diverse team.

The event was extraordinarily successful in many ways. For me, the most significant aspect of Big Blue Sky was what I am now calling Relational Synergistic Design or Human Relational Geometry upon which the event, the team, the projects and ongoing works, were built. 

Relational Synergistic Design is the design architecture behind a Syntropic Enterprise. It is an architecture of social relationships – be that business, family, partnerships, or community.

My background is in medical science, specifically applied science. As a systems thinker, I also look to a 4 billion-year history of organisational design, commonly referred to as Nature, because perhaps – just perhaps – Nature has figured out organisational design far in advance of us mere mortals with our 50,000 or so years.

Added to this background are 35 years of studying the work of R.Buckminster Fuller. For example, building models to understand what exactly he meant by ‘space has shape.’ And indeed, discovering that space has shape! 

To coordinate people to create ecologies of Synergy – where we are better together – has a precise geometry to it. 

When you build the model it is very hard to argue with it. The invisible, ‘space’ has an equal invisible ‘shape’.

Similarly, tension cannot exist without compression. We are simultaneously in motion of blowing apart and collapsing into a heap.

Some days the sense of collapse feels more imminent, other days, it definitely feels like an explosion. (And some days I am not entirely sure if I am blowing part or collapsing in a heap!)

What I discovered through application at Big Blue Sky is there are a few critical components needed to create ecologies of Synergy. It took me over 30 years of convening people around a central purpose and having these projects fall into messy human heaps before I finally changed the design of the social architecture for Big Blue Sky. This new design enabled a team of 12 total strangers from diverse backgrounds to co-create a world-class event with over 40 moving parts and to do so without a single human upset and entirely self-managed. 

The Syntropic enterprise, social or business architecture might be likened to a cell membrane.

The cell membrane itself has advanced intelligence. Its role is to allow the easy in and out flow of all elements needed to enable a healthy and viable existence within the cell. It is also responsible for stopping really important things from exiting, and potentially bad things from entering.

The cell membrane is the intelligence that monitors the interior of the cell and the exterior of the cell. The exterior includes the environment that the cell is a part of, for example, the Liver, which is a part of the human called Christine, which is a part of a community called the Gold Coast, that is part of the community called Australia, that is part of the community called Earth.

In order to become a part of the community called the cell, the cell membrane, a threshold, must be crossed. Conditions are required before crossing. (In or out) These conditions are not too hard, nor too easy. Like Goldilocks porridge, they need to be just right.

Finally, the cell membrane, through all of these actions, is responsible for maintaining the tension within the cell. Not enough tension and we have collapse into a heap. Too much tension and we have an explosion outwards.

This tension is created through polarity, the positive and the negative charge coexisting in relative harmony. 

In our egalitarian, ‘politically correct’ world, often the focus is almost entirely on the positive. We loath the negative or find it uncomfortable. This attempt to exclude the polarity of the negative comes at the expense of maintaining tension, space and integrity. We need the negative charge, we need diversity, we need the down to up, the out to in, the bad to good, for space to hold its shape.

The organisation is a living breathing system, where the tension of the container holding the space is critical to the longevity, vitality and success of the cell. The tension itself has its own integrity.

Indeed, in a relationship between two people, exactly these principles apply. They apply in all relationships – as they are a Law of Nature. Too much tension, too much polarity – and we explode – fall out of love. Not enough tension, too much ‘niceness’ and we collapse – fall in love.

The integrity of tension means we dance or orbit in love. Neither one person falls in or out. Yet our impulse as humans is so strongly to collapse in – to give up our own sovereignty and space to merge with another. 

Whereas our media thrives from amplifying the negative polarity – fear, hate, ridicule, and shame create sales.

Relational Synergistic Design encompasses all of these dimensions. The leadership role is akin to the cell membrane. In a Syntropic Enterprise, we call this Steward Leadership (Not, as our current models suggest, the central DNA type role. Or the power at the top type role.) Once the design has been set in place and the threshold crossing named, the Steward Leader becomes almost invisible. The requirement for regular intervention by a Steward Leader is a sure sign that the Relational Synergistic Design needs to be adapted or modified. 

After the initial design of the threshold crossing architecture, the two major functions of a Steward Leader become (1) to be in constant communication with the interior health of the cell/enterprise, and to be scanning and collaborating with the exterior immediate world, then into the far-off world outside the system, making fine-tuned adjustments to the polarity of the cell membrane – enterprise architecture – to maintain its integrity and shape. (2) To maintain the Pattern Integrity of the Source Idea – the idea being brought into form and existence as the enterprise.

Because the cell exists always in relationship to the whole, the Steward Leader must do this in full partnership and collaboration with the whole –  the team to the cell membrane to the liver to the body to the world.

This type of Steward Leadership is exquisite in its nuance and profound in its ability to do very large things with a very small amount of perceived effort. 

The major effort happened in the creation of the unique Relational Synergistic Design needed to bring your Source Idea and Purpose to life. 

What is the unique Trust Manifesto  – an enterprise agreement for building ecologies of trust – that will become the cell membrane crossing equivalent for your enterprise or project? This is the work that occurs before the project or enterprise is launched. It can be created as an afterthought but would require whole system consideration in application to ensure minimal disruption to the flow and progress of your enterprise. 

To grow a magnificent garden we first prepare the soil. In our business and social systems design, we rarely take the time to cultivate the relational soil. To consider the geometry of human relationships. To invite a rite of passage threshold crossing for those seeking to become active participants in the enterprise. To build polarity into the design deliberately. 

Bringing humans together randomly, without clear boundaries, constraints, agreements and rules of play is not the way to create ecologies for Synergy.

Getting the Human Relational Geometry and the Relational Synergistic Design into integrity for your enterprise or project will enable you and your team to focus on the work to be done rather than spend time managing dysfunctional relationships and communication.

Relational Synergistic Design enables the greatest exponential technology to be present as normal: the human mind working together synergistically.

Almost everyone I have met wants to do their best work towards a project, purpose or cause they care about, and do so in a way that invites the awe of synergy – where the outcome of their work is far greater than ever imagined because of the collective synergies.

When we take the time to construct the social architecture, we increase our chance exponentially to do work that increases the well-being of Earth and all her creatures, without ecological offence or the disadvantage of anyone.