Catalysing Network Consciousness in Leaderless Groups: A Metadesign Tool

Backwell, John L. and Wood, John. 2011. Catalysing Network Consciousness in Leaderless Groups: A Metadesign Tool. In: , ed. Presence in the Mindfield: Art, Identity and the Technology of Transformation. Lisbon, Portugal: Artshare-Universidade de Aveiro, pp. 36-41. ISBN 978-972-789-356-0 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This paper was presented at the Planetary Collegium’s 12th Annual International Conference, Consciousness Reframed 12 in Nov 2011 (Centro Cultural de Belem, Lisbon, Portugal) and refers to one of a number of metadesign methods that were developed to facilitate non-hierarchical teams. It describes how a matrix framework was used to help teams to create, maintain and develop their self-identity. The primary aim is to increase what the authors call 'network consciousness' (Backwell & Wood, 2009), in which consciousness is described as a ‘low-grade system for keeping records’ (Minsky, in Horgan, 1993). This concept may be controversial as it embodies a digital, therefore, coarse-grained methodology for mapping (shared) consciousness. Also, by depicting animate and inanimate entities as agencies that are dynamic and equal in status; and by emphasizing relations rather than players, we aim to develop an emancipatory approach that transcends the dualistic mindset. Using this digital approach, data about all relations and their interdependencies are recorded as a set of signature 'profiles'. These are then aggregated as a macroscopic snapshot of the whole system. Whenever the community’s salient characteristics grow into a self-similar form that can be made acknowledged by each agent, irrespective of location, we describe this as a ‘self-organized criticality’, or ‘SOC’ (Bak, Tang & Wiesenfeld, 1987). Its fractal nature also makes it easier for the team to envisage what might happen if their environment were to be scaled-up, or down. It thus renders the system suitable for attracting implicit consensus within a given team. Furthermore, it inherently considers impact upon that beyond the remit of the team and, thereby, ‘seeding’ new and coherent behaviour without the need for top-down management.
KEYWORDS: metadesign, holarchy, synergy, network-consciousness

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Book Section


metadesign, holarchy, synergy, network-consciousness

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30 November 2011Published

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13 Jun 2012 05:05

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29 Apr 2020 15:44


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