Reference: Engaging Emergence in 824 Words

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My book, Engaging Emergence, in 824 words

Posted on December 12, 2010 by PeggyHolman

I did a guest post for Pegasus Communications last week, providing an appetizer for my book.  Below is a slightly longer version — with examples restored.  If you’re looking for a taste of what it’s about, read on.

What would it mean if we knew how to face challenging situations with a high likelihood of achieving breakthrough outcomes?

EXTRACT:  Since the early nineties, I’ve sought to understand how we turn difficult, often conflicted issues into transformative leaps of renewed commitment and achievement.  I’ve used whole system change practices — methods that engage the diverse people of a system in creating innovative and lasting shifts in effectiveness.  I’ve co-convened conferences around ambitious societal questions like: What does it mean to do journalism that matters for our communities and democracy?  And I’ve delved into the science of complexity, chaos, and emergence – in which order arises out of chaos – to better understand human systems.  In the process, I have noticed some useful patterns, practices, and principles for engaging the natural forces of emergent change.  Here are a few highlights:

All change begins with disruption.

Engaging disruption creatively helps us discover differences that make a difference.

Wise, resilient systems coalesce when the needs of individuals and the whole are served.

EXTRACT:  The practice of collective reflection helps surface what matters to individuals and the whole.  It can generate unexpected breakthroughs containing what is vital to each and all of us.

EXTRACT:   Joel de Rosnay, author of The Symbiotic Man, introduced the notion of “the macroscope”. Just as microscopes help us to see the infinitely small and telescopes help us to see the infinitely large, macroscopes help us to see the infinitely complex.

Read all 824 words (strongly recommended)….

Reference: Peggy Holman on Government and Change

03 Economy, 11 Society, Blog Wisdom, Collective Intelligence, Communities of Practice, Cultural Intelligence, Methods & Process, Real Time
Peggy Holman

The Challenge of Power (Extract)

There are virtually always political barriers!

What I have found to be true is that when the issue faced is more important than their position, people in power positions will engage. In other words, they’ll step up when:

  • the situation reaches the point that they realize that they can’t solve it alone;
  • it is critical to their success; and
  • they’ve found a partner to work with that they’re willing to trust.

Essentially, these are the conditions when anyone will engage. It’s just that people with more to lose tend to wait longer. By then, the situation is really messy and they’re desperate.

Don’t Hold On

Peggy Holman knows a lot about change in organizations and communities and she wrote Engaging Emergence to help people not only deal with unexpected and chaotic change, but even come out ahead by engaging it proactively.

But proactive engagement means letting go of some things just as much as discovering new things. To help you navigate, Peggy presents her list of The Five Things We Need To Let Go Of To Effectively Deal With Emergence:

1. Give Up Command and Control.

2. Give Up Habit and Routine.

3. Give Up Top-Down Decision-Making.

4. Give Up the Existing Order.

5. Give Up Thinking That You Have the Answers.

Read the full blog with paragraphs and examples for each of the above….

See Also:

Worth a Look: Engaging Emergence

Journal: Self-Organizing Emergence from Chaos

Review: The Change Handbook–The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems

Reference: Peggy Holman Free Video on Emergence

Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Peggy Holman

Journal: Self-Organizing Emergence from Chaos

Blog Wisdom, Collective Intelligence, Earth Intelligence, Methods & Process

Making Sense Out of Chaos: An Audio Interview

I did an interview on September 7th for the Community Learning Exchange –CLExchangeonair with Cheryl Fields on Blog Talk Radio.


  • Early in the book you tell the story of how your own perspective on engaging emergence began. Tell us about that experience?

In the 1990′s I managed software projects.  I was excellent at figuring out the steps that needed to be done and then making those steps happen —  planning the work and then working the plan.

As the projects got bigger and more complex, I ran into a one that involved enough people with different opinions that that old approach just didn’t cut it.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to work with someone who understood how to work in a different way.  Once I experienced it, I had to learn more.

See Also:
TED: Sugata Mitra–The child-driven education
Worth a Look: Engaging Emergence
Reference: Peggy Holman Free Video on Emergence
Reference: 21st Century Leadership-12 Guidelines
Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Peggy Holman
Review: The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management–Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st Century

Reference: Peggy Holman Free Video on Emergence

Peggy Holman on Emergence (Web Site, Video, Slides)

Clicking on the portrait photo of group change leader Peggy Holman will take you to a website where you can–if you are patient–listen to an emergence among a collective.

View or download the Handout before you start the Video.

We think it is worth watching when you have time to reflect.

Amazon Page

We recommended the book when it first went public. . . .

Worth a Look: Engaging Emergence

Worth a Look: New Book Engaging Emergence

Peggy was one of the 55 pioneering authors of the book, COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace (EIN, 2008)

Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Peggy Holman

We recommended her earlier book:

Review: The Change Handbook–The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems

See Also:

Continue reading “Reference: Peggy Holman Free Video on Emergence”

Worth a Look: Engaging Emergence

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Collaboration Zones, Communities of Practice, Consciousness & Social IQ, Ethics, Key Players, Methods & Process, Policies, Strategy, Threats, Worth A Look

Amazon Page

Phi Beta Iota: Previously recommended in Worth a Look: New Book Engaging Emergence, we reiterate our regard for Peggy Holman, arguably one of a handful of leaders shaping our collective intelligence capacity today–Tom Atlee, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Harrison Owen, Thom Hartman, Jim Rough, Robert Fuller, Mark Tovey, are others, all helping shape community Open Space Open Source Collaborative Information-Sharing and Sense-Making.

See Also:

Review: The Handbook of Large Group Methods–Creating Systemic Change in Organizations and Communities

Review: The Change Handbook–The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems

From the Author

At long last, it is available.  I am delighted to say that Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity is now for sale from Amazon, Berrett-Koehler, Barnes and Noble, or through local bookstores.

I have a confession. I have an ambitious goal for the book: to meet today’s needs in the way The Fifth Discipline did 20 years ago.  And you can help make that happen.

Continue reading “Worth a Look: Engaging Emergence”

Worth a Look: New Book Engaging Emergence

Worth A Look

Dear Colleague,

Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity is almost here…I’m excited to share the news that my book will ship from the printer on August 6th.

Engaging Emergence
Amazon Page

To get that buzz going, I’m asking everyone I know to help me get the book off to a fast start! Please consider picking up a copy of the book, perhaps even ordering a second copy as a gift for a friend. Or forward this message on to people you think would find the book of interest so that they can pre-order a copy for themselves.

I’m thrilled with how the book turned out. Esthetically, it is beautiful. And based on the feedback from many of you, people are finding the content useful and inspiring. I look forward to your feedback.

Engaging Emergence offers principles, practices, and real-word stories for bringing compassion, creativity, and wisdom to the entire arc of change-from disruption to coherence. For more about the contents, click here.

You can even check out the text.

Pre-order the book from Amazon

Thank you again for your support — of me and of the book.


Peggy Holman

Phi Beta Iota: Peggy Holman is one of the top grass-roots leadership and self-organization gurus in the USA, and easily among the top 100 in the world. She may be the most active practitioner of Open Space Technology as conceived by Harrison Owen.

See Also:

Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Peggy Holman

Review: The Change Handbook–The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems

Review: Society’s Breakthrough!–Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People

Review: Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World

Review: Evolutionary Activism by Tom Atlee

Who’s Who in Collective Intelligence: Peggy Holman

Alpha E-H, Collective Intelligence
Peggy Holman
Peggy Holman

Peggy Holman convenes conversations that matter using generative processes that call forth the best of who people are and can be to unleash the energy and wisdom to move dreams to action, resulting in more resilient, agile, collaborative and alive people and systems. The second edition of her book, The Change Handbook (Berrett-Koehler, 2007), has been warmly received as an aid to people in reinventing their organizations and communities. Peggy has an MBA from Seattle University. See

Collective intelligence and the emergence of wholeness

The Book
The Book

Review: The Change Handbook–The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems

5 Star, Best Practices in Management, Change & Innovation, Civil Society, Complexity & Resilience, Democracy, Education (General), Environment (Solutions), Information Society, Intelligence (Collective & Quantum), Intelligence (Commercial), Intelligence (Public), Intelligence (Wealth of Networks), Philosophy, Technology (Bio-Mimicry, Clean), Truth & Reconciliation, Values, Ethics, Sustainable Evolution

Change HandbookUtterly Phenomenal: *The* Book for Living Life to the Fullest,

January 27, 2007

Peggy Holman

EDIT of 9 Feb 09 to add links (capability not available at the time) and to commit to attending NEXUS II in Bowling Green, OH 30 Mar – 1 Apr 08.

I could spend the rest of my life trying to learn, use, and share each of the methods in this book, and never finish. When it was first published in 1999, it was before its time. Now, in 2006, this is a book made for our times, when Burning Man is now Green Man, Al Gore is a rock star, and even the greediest Wall Street CEO is starting to realize the party is over and we have to get real, real fast.

I have been an admirer of Free/Open Source Software (F/OSS) and a champion of Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), and have gradually learned about other “opens” that are coming to the fore: Open Spectrum, Open Access, Open Culture, Open Innovation, and of course George Soros’ Open Society. From this book I now add Open Circle, to complement the Open Space concept I learned recently in Seattle’s Town Hall while listening to Paul Hawken talk about the World Index for Social and Environmental Responsibility.

I have to confess that this book is over-whelming, and I can barely scratch the surface. This is more of a book where you should read one author, one segment, each night, and fall asleep thinking about how to implement that one small section, how to embrace someone else and engage them with that one method.

Having three teen-agers, all three of whom have completely rejected the prison/child care format and the rote learning objectives of the current school system (even as good as it is in Fairfax County) I will go so far as to say that this book, combined with serious games/games for change, is a complete one-to-one substitute for our current educational process.

Everything in here is what we *should* have learned in school, what we *should* be practicing in fulfilling our civic duty (what we *actually* do is described in “The Cheating Culture,” “Confessional of an Economic Hit-Man,” and “Rogue Nation”).

I am moving quickly and heavily into the intersection of Collective Intelligence (see my reviews of “The Tao of Democracy,” “Smart Mobs,” “Wisdom of the Crowds,” or my longer list; and Natural Capitalism with its “true cost” meme. See my reviews of Paul Hawken et al, “Ecology of Commerce” and “Natural Capitalism,” of the varied books by Herman Daly, and soon, my reviews of “The Great Turning,” the “Omnivore’s Dilemma,” and others. For a broader sense of the possibilities, check out “Earth Intelligence Network” online.

I still have the 1970’s operating manual for spaceship earth someplace in my lower library. This book is the manual for spaceship earth for our children and those of us recommiting ourselves to the joy of learning and changing in our later years. It’s not over until *we* decide its over.

See these other books that have also inspired me and given me hope:
The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All
Society’s Breakthrough!: Releasing Essential Wisdom and Virtue in All the People
How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, Updated Edition
A Power Governments Cannot Suppress
Escaping the Matrix: How We the People can change the world
One from Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization
All Rise: Somebodies, Nobodies, and the Politics of Dignity (BK Currents)
The Average American: The Extraordinary Search for the Nation’s Most Ordinary Citizen
Running On Empty: How The Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It
The Soul of Capitalism: Opening Paths to a Moral Economy

My lists are also a fast path to collections covering the ten threats, twelve policies, eight challengers, and various other aspects of saving humanity and the Earth from outselves.

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