Landscape of Change
People often use ideas of travel to describe life. “Life’s journey” “Following in the footsteps of…” “Being at the cross roads” “Going down a blind alley”.
So what kind of life journey are we on at present? What does the landscape look like?
We live in a time of increasingly rapid change. When people look at their lives and the way ahead it is unlikely that they will see a Landscape of Predictability. It is much more likely that they will see a Landscape of Change.
Four “Landscape of Change” roles
I’m seeing myself in four roles connected with being a traveller through the Landscape of Change. The roles are “Explorer”,”Pioneer”,”Chronicler” and “Guide”.
I’m starting to “interrogate myself” about the roles using the classic questions “What, Why and How”
What is Explorer doing?
Explorer is “visiting places” in the Landscape of Change and exploring them.
Most people are too busy with their daily lives to stop and explore the Landscape of Change in a slow and thoughtful way. Explorer has been travelling around there for years, looking, thinking, and asking questions.
There is plenty to explore. It is possible to find things that are “ahead of their time, just as it is possible to find things that are “behind the times”. Exploring examples and thinking about how things compare offers new perspectives. All kinds of things come into view, things that are easily overlooked by the casual observer. Spending time to explore the Landscape of Change is a way to discover “landmarks” and to make sense of what would otherwise be unfamiliar. Familiarity with aspects of the Landscape of Change makes it easier to navigate the rapidly changing present and future.
Explorer likes looking at changes and visiting places where “the future” and “possible futures” are “in evidence”. The evidence is sometimes to be seen in practical work that is being done, especially work that challenges orthodoxy. Other “evidence” of possible futures is to be found in ideas and experiments that are being discussed.
Given that Explorer is not exploring in the conventional sense, it may be helpful to give more explanation of the places she visits.
Just like a traditional explorer, she often visits real places. She thinks of them as “material places”. These “material places” are ordinary, physical places. In those places people meet face-to-face.
She also visits “immaterial places” – ones that are accessed online, “in the cloud”. Spending time “in the cloud” is a great way to meet people from around the globe, and to explore different perspectives and emerging ideas.
Like other people who are explorers she goes to places that are new to her, but are not necessarily new to others. Some parts of the Landscape of Change are already inhabited, some are previously explored and mapped by others and some are previously unexplored. Some only exist in the imagined future. Dancing between reality and imagination is part of Explorer’s role.
It’s all about self-directed learning done in an informal way. It’s discovery learning about our rapidly changing world. It’s exploration.
Why does Explorer explore the Landscape of Change?
Like many people who explore unfamiliar territory, she is drawn to explore the Landscpe of Change simply “because it is there”. Reasons she gives include:
- To widen her horizons, knowledge and understanding
- To follow her personal interests and satisfy her curiosity
- To meet new people
- To learn new skills
How does Explorer explore the Landscape of Change?
She explores alone or with others, and observes, participates, discusses and reflects. Sometimes she’s leading the way, sometimes she’s following in the footsteps of others. If her “journey” is done with an air of freshness and enquiry and with an eye to systemic changes and the future then it is part of her exploration of the Landscape of Change.
What is Pioneer doing in the Landscape of Change?
Pioneer is working with others – being creative, experimenting and prototyping.
Why does Pioneer do that?
- To help her innovative friends
- To know how things work in practice
- To demonstrate possibilities
- To speak and write from experience
- To get things started
- To build collaborative relationships
- To have the integrity of “walking her talk”
- To learn new skills
How does Pioneer do it?
Pioneer is drawn to help with work that is original, purposeful, long term and initiated by the people who are immersed in the challenges and opportunities. All her pioneering work is done with other people. Pioneer and her collaborator(s) may have differing reasons for collaborating with each other on a particular initiative. That doesn’t matter. What matters is the level of commitment.
What is Chronicler doing?
Chronicler is doing what it says in the dictionary – A chronicler is a person who writes accounts of important or historical events (Dictionary, Google search August 21 2017)
The Landscape of Change chronicler is writing accounts about the emergence of ideas, insights, collaborations, strategies, approaches, etc in the Landscape of Change.
Why does Chronicler do her chronicling?
- To clarify her ideas
- To contribute to the general pool of knowledge
- To support informed decision making
- To challenge orthodoxy
- To have evidence of work that she and her collaborators have done
How does Chronicler do her chronicling?
She usually chronicles by writing online but she sometimes contributes to publications that come out in print.
Thanks to David Bovill she has recently started to write collaboratively within the Federated Wiki community.
The Federated Wiki is innovative online space which Ward Cunningham and some of his contacts are creating to enable a new approach to collaborative writing and the co-creation of knowledge – see The Federated Wiki: Ward Cunningham at TEDxPortland 2012. It is very much part of the Landscape of Change so when she is writing she often finds Explorer and Pioneer working there as well.
What is Guide doing?
She is doing what any travel guide does – but in an unconventional location:
- Helping people to visit the Landscape of Change at their leisure
- Taking individuals and groups on guided tours
- Helping people to consider their future relationship with this Landscape
- Preparing people to explore the Landscape of Change independently
- Preparing people to become pioneers and settlers in the Landscape of Change
Guide is only concerned with the needs of other people, and can therefore expect to be compensated by them for the time she gives. Guide shares what she know in ways that are tailored to their individual starting points and requirements. Guide is familiar with the territory and helps people to find their way in this amazing Landscape of Change.
Why does Guide do that?
She believes it is a valuable service to provide because:
- Many people are (or will be) facing futures that are disconnected from what they previously expected.
- People need opportunities to reflect, and to see change in their lives as part of a bigger picture
- Visiting the Landscape of Change provides a new perspective.
- People who have been helped to explore the Landscape of Change will be better prepared for making their own way through it in future.
- It is preferable to explore the Landscape of Change in company, rather than alone and unprepared.
How does Guide provide this service?
- Through conversations and workshops
- Sharing with others (individuals or groups) what she knows about the Landscape of Change
- Exploring together what in the Landscape of Change is most relevant to their needs, interests, hopes, confusions, challenges, circumstances, uncertainties, plans, and opportunities.
Observations on the roles
Once I started investigating my four separate roles as a traveller in the Landscape of Change I noticed that the first two roles are about learning, while the other two are about sharing what I know. This self-awareness helps me to decide how to allocate my time.
On the learning side Explorer is concentrating on ideas and theory, while Pioneer is more practical.
The other two roles are about structuring and sharing what I learn. Chronicler is “wordifying” what I have learned, and “parking” it, where it can be accessed by me and by others (so Chronicler works partly for my benefit and partly for the benefit of others).
Guide however is providing a specific service to others. This is why, at an early stage, there needs to be a clarity about what is involved and the nature of the exchange between “the Guider and the Guided”. Both sides need to see value in the transaction.
Guide may be rewarded in a material way or an immaterial way, so is not always looking for financial reward. However Guide does require compensation in a way that is markedly different to Explorer, Pioneer, and Chronicler (all of whom have their own particular relationship to motivation, money, and living in the practical material world).
Some initiatives I am involved in engage all the roles, but that does not mean it is appropriate to dance between the roles without awareness of doing so.
Landscape of Change and Exponentially Human 2027
Things are coming together. All my apparently unconnected work can be accounted for within the mental framework of these Landscape of Change roles.
No wonder I’m currently wanting to do more writing and speaking. Chronicler and Guide have been overshadowed of late by Explorer and Pioneer. They have been busy with David Bovill and team on FEAST and with fellow participants in Outlandish Academy on Federated Wiki. (Chronicler has a lot of work to do covering all that.)
I’m inviting so many different people to the Exponentially Human Twenty Twenty-Seven event (also known as XH2027). They are a mixed bunch but become a cohesive group when they are seen as the visitors, newcomers, explorers and pioneers in the Landscape of Change, who I connect with through my different roles there. Their work and lives will shape our co-created future and will give us cause for celebrating aspects of how we are living in the Landscape of Change ten years from now.
Edited since original publication
This was originally published as on Open Letter to Brian. The introduction has been removed (and copied below) and there have been minor edits to make it more relevant to other people.
“Hi Brian. Your reference to my travels in the Landscape of Change got me thinking during my holiday. Gradually the Landscape of Change theme emerged as the key to re-doing my Holacracy of One roles. Now I’m home and writing the ideas up ready for our next WhatsApp call.
Given this is an open letter I’ll add a couple of notes about the Landscape of Change. (I may come back later and add a link about Holacracy of One – but that’s not the most important idea here – Landscape of Change is.)”