Creative Systems Analysis

Any system, or set of related systems, can be examined using a multilayered application of Creative Systems Patterning concepts.

Such Creative Systems analysis provides perspective often very hard to get in other ways. Because Creative Systems notions are based on underlying organizing principles, such analysis can help us get at what, beneath the surface, is most fundamentally important in any situations. Also because all Creative Systems concepts are based on a the recognition that human systems are creatively ordered and share a common language, such analysis often makes it possible to address highly complex phenomena in surprising simple ways. For the same reason, the use of a creative frame means that such analysis is inherently dynamic in a way that honors our living, human natures.

It is beyond our scope in this book to examine such analysis in any detail, but a quick look at the kinds of distinctions that tend to prove most helpful with different kinds of systems helps fill out this chapter’s reflections. For this inquiry, the important recognition is that whatever kind of system we wish to examine, and whatever level of detail is pertinent, in some way each of Creative Systems Theory’s basic kinds of patterning distinctions provide important information. Below I’ve outlined the kinds of discernments that might be most important when applying Creative Systems patterning concepts of systems of different scales.


Individuals:  When our interest is an individual, temperament and Capacitance discernments tend to provide the most immediately useful information. But we can’t leave out age and stage in personal development. And all manner of patterning observations related to larger systems of which the individual may have importance—the Patterning in Space function of a person’s profession or an organization to which he or she belong and it how it relates to personal temperament, the developmental stages at which a person’s personal relationships as well as workplace relationships and workplace organization reside, the creative stage and emerging critical questions that defines a person’s larger cultural context. In a psychotherapeutic context, a person’s internal Patterning in Space complexity (psychological aspects and how they relate), symptom patterns seen when the person is stressed, and the growing edge of a person’s development (where potential new Aliveness resides) all gain special importance.


Relationships:  With relationships, to the above more individual identity considerations, we add how temperaments of those in relationship may be similar and different, the relative Capacitances of the people involved, the developmental stage of the relationship (inspiration stage, perspiration stage, and finishing and polishing tasks make very different demands that affect people of different temperaments in different ways), and the creative edge of the relationship as process—where potential for new Aliveness in the relationship most resides. Cultural Patterning in Time context is a major variable when it comes to relationship options (in general—for example, whether intimate bonds are determined by matchmakers or romantic choice—and specifically in our time, with regard to the potential for Whole-Person relationship.)


Organizations:   A full analysis of the health and functioning of an organization draws on all of Creative Systems Theory’s patterning tools. With regard to Patterning in Time, we will have particular interested in the developmental stage of the organization and the creative stage at which key projects reside (with the individual developmental stage of key personnel and of the organization’s target population if it has one also often important factors). Cultural scale Patterning in Time variables may become centrally important if an organization functions internationally, or if culturally mature leadership and organizational functioning are considerations (as more and more they must be for any organization that wants to be vital and attract the best people).


Patterning in Space organizational concerns include the organization’s creative role (Early-Axis, Middle-Axis, and Late-Axis organizations require very different organizational cultures and different approaches to leadership and management). They also include the temperaments of key people, how those temperaments match or don’t match expectations and demands of particular organizational functions, and the potential synergies and conflicts that temperament differences in particular relationships might be expected to produce.


Whole-Systems organizational concerns include the Capacitance of the organization as a whole and the Capacitance demands of the particular challenges the organization faces. They also include the Capacitances and creative-edges of key people. And they include sensitivity to ways the system as a whole and specific individuals within it can respond when overly stressed. Key to the organization’s vitality is attention to where the growing edge of the organizational cultures contribution lies—where new organizational Aliveness/creative substance is most likely to be found.


Nations and the Planet:  Here cultural scale Patterning in Time observations provide the most important distinctions. They alert us both to our own defining tasks and what relationships with other groups that may reside at difference developmental stages may require of us. Patterning in Space reflections on the functions of different aspects of culture—government, business, science, religions—can help support culturally mature changes within specific spheres. Capacitance discernments also have an essential place—from understanding the Capacitance demands of particular cultural challenges, to the ultimate question of whether we as a species can make manifest sufficient Capacitance to effectively confront (bring sufficient wisdom to) the challenges before us.