On the way to conscious humanity: the infinite game of regional metamorphosis

Long-time readers of my blog may remember a post about the collective intelligence of imaginal cells, which was about how emergence is using certain cells in the caterpillar-turned-into-plasma for giving rise to the butterfly, and what that may mean for the evolutionary agents of social transformation. Now the “imaginal cells” metaphor itself transformed into “imaginal souls,” the main actors of an infinite game taking off in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area, the birth place of so many cultural, technical, and social innovation. It is a brainchild of Bill Veltrop, a veteran of the organizational transformation movement, and social visionary extraordinaire. The essence of his new initiative, in his own words, is:

3 states of metamorphosis

Current State — Isolated “Imaginal Souls”
There are thousands of commitment-ready infinite players (Distinctionary) on this planet. They are scattered throughout all sectors and geographies. For the most part they feel isolated and constrained. All have experience with “immune systems.”

Interim State — Connecting the Dots
Our strategy is simple: Using the Bay Area as our practice field, we find ways to “clump and cluster” in the service of spawning and supporting generative initiatives of all kinds in all sectors. As we weave a web of relationships among diverse allies we begin to realize, for the first time, that we are “something different from a caterpillar.”

Future State — “Houston, We Have Metamorphosis” Collectively, we begin spawning generative initiatives that are much more like butterflies than caterpillars. These initiatives “infect” our traditional institutions in ways that facilitate their natural evolution into forms that are dramatically more rewarding to all their stakeholders. Once we collectively begin to experience what’s possible in the Age of Conscious Evolution, it will become irreversible. Reverting to today’s traditional organizing forms will become as improbable as vacuum tubes making a comeback and displacing transistors.

What prompted my writing about Bill’s work, this morning, is the latest inspiring initiative of the Monterey Institute for Social Innovation (of which he is a co-founder), supported by the Silicon Valley Innovation Institute. At the April 6 SVII gathering Bill introduced “Regional Metamorphosis as a pragmatic strategy for accelerating our movement into an Age of Conscious Evolution.” There’s a video that captures the spirit of that evening and  a shorter, edited-down version of it. They are the work of Jesse Clark and his colleagues.

The aim of the initiative’s first phase is to find qualified players ready to play the infinite game of Regional Metamorphosis. Here are the personal characteristics of those who qualify:

  • You love to pioneer, push the envelope, explore outside your box, experiment with new ways of seeing and being. You are an “Innovator” or “Early Adopter.” You’re an avid learner and attracted by those who share your commitment to growth and development.
  • You are undaunted by the challenges of high-altitude, big picture visioning, deep inner exploration, and acting with boldness and immediacy.
  • You are successful in your work and your role as a leader. You’re intrigued with the notion that your success might be limiting what you believe to be possible, e.g., you sense a higher destiny lying beyond your current horizons.
  • You consider personal inner work of primary significance to effective action as a leader, and want to spend time with those who share this commitment.
  • You’re on a path—your journey “has you.” You’re convinced there’s a larger process at work, and you want to learn how best to flow with that process.
  • You are intrigued by the notion of committing to a 10-100X shift in the lasting difference you make in the world.
  • You see strengthening the quality of relationships and agreements as increasingly important in all aspects of your life.
  • You are ready to do what it takes to bring balance and wholeness into your life—to embrace both your humanity and your sense of deep interconnectedness, to bring intention and attention into your emergence process.
  • You’re ready to participate in a developmental adventure designed to support your journey “from where you are . . . to who you are.
  • You have a deep sense that you are not in this alone—that we’re all in this together. You are ready to evolve that special web of co-creative relationships that will support you in this next phase of our human journey.

If you feel you re a game-ready infinite players and want to get involved with the nascent “regional metamorphosis” movement get in touch with Bill Veltrop. If you happen to live in the San Francisco Bay Area or Silicon Valley, don’t miss their next meeting on May 10.

If you want to find out about some possible aspects of the relationship relationship between regional and planetary transformation, look up the corresponding category in this blog. For fans of collective intelligence, regional transformation is the next frontier. We know a lot about the emergence of collective intelligence in small groups and also, lots of theories on global-scale CI. Where the rubber hits the road, where actionable CI can reach the greatest results and multi-yield return on our investment of attention and energy, is the region. That’s why I call all CI fans to follow what is happening in the regional metamorphosis movement and support it in all imaginable ways.

Disclosure: Bill Veltrop has been one of the two most influential mentors of mine for the last 20 years. The other is Doug Engelbart, who inspired me to get on the journey of collective intelligence research. Bringing the insights from that journey to the infinite game of regional metamorphosis will be my small way to give thanks to both Doug and Bill.

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8 Responses to On the way to conscious humanity: the infinite game of regional metamorphosis

  1. Really inspiring read!
    See you May 10th?


  2. Mark Roest says:

    The most natural regional focus for a transformation to sustainability is not political units — it is eco-regions. If they were averaged, the land eco-regions would be the same area as a square, 263 miles on a side — but of course they are not averaged, and some are much bigger, others much smaller, but this can give some sense of the scale that life evolves in. There are many specific ecosystems within the ‘average’ eco-region, and they are also a valuable, as well as necessary scale on which to operate.

    We can co-create a global knowledgebase in which information, knowledge and wisdom are sorted by the eco-regions and cultures for which they are useful, as well as the problem categories and higher-order work (a la Doug Engelbart’s Bootstrap program) that they address. It is (to be) built with GIS and digital earth imaging, and all people can input their experience and observations, as well as their needs, values, challenges, opportunities, and anything else that is relevant to their success in their natural and social environments. They can input individually, in small groups, in charrettes, in professions, or any other grouping that is devoted to maximizing human potential, at whatever scale they care about.

    Because of the filtering level (the map available on the World Wildlife Fund website has 827 eco-regions, and something between 5,000 and 6,000 languages still exist, so we have lots of combinations of those two), people can readily find and sort through the content that is relevant to them (vs millions of hits from a search engine).

    Next step: embed the knowledgebase and the challenges we identify as strategically important in a game engine. Not just any old game engine! In a Massively Multiplayer, Immersive (crosses the line between virtual and physical), Persistent (lasts months or years), distributed (thousands of parallel games can be played and tracked simultaneously) platform for Games for Good. We can call it, Reset!!!, since it’s highest purpose is to empower humanity to come together, heal each other from the savage competition, and save life on earth, working at all of the fractal scales of existence.

    By exploring and simulating problems and creating solutions for them in the virtual world we can prepare to solve them in the physical world. We can then use the very same tool to manage our projects as we DO IT!!! (Now that’s immersive gaming!)

    I’m excited to be going to the Infinite Games meeting on Tuesday!


    Mark Roest


    • George Pór says:

      Mark, your ideas about global knowledgebase and the Massively Multiplayer Immersive Persistent game are brilliant! I offer a couple of questions to nudge them towards actualization even if it may take a long time…

      What is your sense of the of the level of self-organization needed in the global ecoregions movement, for adding the knowledge and wisdom to the WWF Terrestrial Ecoregions Base Global Dataset, which can be useful to the players of the game you suggest?

      Can the adding such knowledge and wisdom be one of the game challenges? If that’s not your idea of the game, then what do you see as the central challenge for the players?

      Could the Reset!!! game be prototyped and tested in the Bay Area bioregion http://ceres.ca.gov/geo_area/bioregions/Bay_Delta/about.html ?

      if the purpose of the game is “to empower humanity to come together, heal each other from the savage competition, and save life on earth, working at all of the fractal scales of existence,” how should it be designed and by whom as to maximize the chance that it can inspire, engage, and leverage the many movements of the multitudes working for the same purpose?


  3. George Pór says:

    Michael, I’d love 2 b there but live in London and will have an operation on the 9th, so it’s unlikely.

    However, I wrote to Bill:

    I understand that at the meeting on Tuesday, you want to explore the best approach to getting traction in Silicon Valley — and beyond. There are two potent social movements, the alliance with which could add to that traction: the commons and the serious social games. Here are some relevant links:



    After my recovery, I’d be happy to explore with you their relevance to RM and to help it connect with other players in them.


  4. Pingback: Evolving Open Commons Regions « evolutionarycities

  5. George, I didn’t realize you where in the UK, and also, good luck with the operation.

    I think your writing is quite good and I was wondering if I could syndicate this blog post on svii.net with a link back to your blog?


  6. Jeff Buderer says:

    What I suggest is that one consider that a game that gives people a real world sense of how to apply collective IQ to the field – that is what is needed. For example I came to Arcosanti years ago after school in search of an alternative to the rat race but instead I found a mutant variant of the very mentality I sought refuge from. Yet still I persist in my belief that Arcosanti aspires towards something compelling or at least my interpretation of it and that aspiration somehow relates to CI.

    Part of this could be that we need to be more rooted in systems of reevaluation, that not only question and reconsider but also reflect on how to create a new model. Of course that is not good enough because we need centers for innovation in which this concept of CI can be tested. Ecovillages could be one model and yet I think it still needs a push away from stingy progressive thinking that ends up being a hang up inhibiting real innovation. So really what we have are social barrier that are our own making or at least we reinforce them by our own sub or unconscious behaviors. So what we are really seeking is not the super duper system of managing resources but rather an effective healing process. So how to do? Again my thought is people need healing spaces where things are designed intelligently. Well thought out systems of design and living and production that reflect the values and aspirations of the progressives.

    I feel so many of us are addicted to talk because we fear taking risks by actually trying to organize people along these principles and getting stuff done. Recently I saw a great example of collective IQ that is actually doing something. All Power Labs has been able to set up a wiki site about gasification of wood. People can built their own with the open source plans, buy one used via the network, collaborate with the network, buy a kit, buy one complete or hire them as consultants.

    What is most significant is that people want to get off the grid and out of the matrix of corporate control. We need more CI than we now see among progressives to do that. One issue is that we are not clear about how to invest effectively in ensuring and securing a future worth living.

    Indeed I feel so often we complexify things as humans so much that we lose sight of how to apply the theory into practice. What better case of that than Arcology where the visionary architect Paolo Soleri creatively injects leading edge ideas challenging the status quo into a unique architectural experiment called Arcosanti. In the process the complexity and the fear of collaborators stealing the show (as understandable as that may be) inhibits any real CI towards the realization of this very ambitious vision of a city enclosed within a megastructure.

    How can CI be applied as a methodology for global change? How can this address world urgent issues by reversing compelling problems and their interconnected perversity of synthesis that creates the problem matrix which is like a tangled mess of wires all wrapped together tightly into a ball of confusion. It is only a intuitive understanding of CI which leads to wisdom that will enable us to transcend the current reality and expand/evolve to something higher.

    So IT can help us to manage the complexity so we need more models of that. They seem to be slow in coming and I would dare to say it has to do with the threat of CI in relation to giving people more power in their lives to make effective and meaningful decisions. Because CI is connected to management of data and the collective decisionmaking process of society that go basically untalked about. These phenomena stay “mystified” with the faulty assumption that they will magically drive and sustain themselves like Smith’s invisible hand of the marketplace – keeping everything in balance. They stay mystified because the public awareness of the truth of their existence challenges the whole order of the global economy and relative handful of people who really control it.

    So lets create a wiki that outlines the best of best CI and identifies complementarity in terms of seeking out the best of each lineage of CI to combine as an example and test of CI in action.

    Then lets consider options for the modeling of CI that includes games such as the one mentioned and its/their use as a way to help people see the practical importance of CI. Lets also consider how to advance this idea of combining modeling/gaming in the field and using these systems to do real world rapid prototyping on all levels: funding, promoting/social networking, innovation/integration, marketing/sales and replication/scale-out. Lets consider charrettes and how to create centers for innovation by which people who want to be involved in what they focus on can join bother virtually and physically and spiritually to create critical mass.

    To close I suggest we consider CI as a toolset or set of approaches that can be applied in the field to promote sustainable development and right livelihood so that people can see how they can work hard and dedicate themselves to something much greater than their own financial affluence or success. Let us envision a global network of sustainable human habitats in which the practice of global healing can be refined so that people see how to apply their psychical energy in the most appropriate and effective way to create the change they desire to see in the world. That is the vision of CI that I believe is needed to reverse current unsustainable patterns and trajectories of modern industrial existence.


  7. Pingback: What is Collective IQ and why is it Relevant? « Life @ Arcosanti

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