AN INTRODUCTION TO INTEGRATIVE IMPROVEMENT™

Integrative Improvement™ (II) is an adaptive, science-based, demand-centred and technology-enabled approach for achieving sustainable development. It addresses how we are trained to think, plan, organise, govern and act. It is initiated by training all involved to apply NEW Integrative Thinking™ (NEW IT), Douglas Integrative Governance 247™ (DIG 247) and their complementary tools.

II is based on our current scientific understanding of the human mind gained from the new discipline called Mind Science. (For a concise introduction to the Mind Science that underpins my work please see the interview with George Lakoff about his and Mark Johnson’s book “Philosophy in the Flesh” at 
http://www.edge.org/discourse/lakoff.html .) Among other disciplines, Mind Science draws on work from the brain sciences (which include neuroscience, immunology and endocrinology); biology; ethology; computer science; social, evolutionary and cognitive psychology; physics; anthropology; neurophilosophy (a new science established with a view to building a unified science of the mind and brain); linguistics; systems theory; complexity science including self-organisation, chaos, uncertainty, and emergence; the philosophy of mind; the philosophy of science and evolutionary epistemology (a branch of philosophy concerned with the origin, nature, methods and limits of human knowledge). Based on this work the human mind may be defined as the process of the trained living human brain interacting with the rest of the human body, which is interacting with its physical, social and cultural environment.

Training in and use of critical thinking alone is not enough for innovators and those seeking sustainable development in today’s world of disparate parts. We also need to be trained specifically in something like NEW IT which is consistent with the integrative way nature, our bodies, brains and minds function.

In contrast to critical thinking, NEW IT is a process of habitually and almost automatically making connections to create a whole new picture rather than habitually and almost automatically breaking down an old picture into its parts.

NEW IT may be thought of as a successor to lateral thinking and using multiple intelligences but, not surprisingly, is fully integrated, not an add-on extra. It is a practical application of Mind Science so is a form of technology but it is human-based rather than machine-based technology. It is a NEW way of thinking which helps us change our minds, think “outside and inside the box” and integrate the two as we plan, organise, govern and act.

The process of NEW IT may be thought of as our wondering (W) about a situation, creating a narrative (N) connecting our wonderings and managing our experiences (E) in acting out our narrative – hence NEW. It involves understanding and learning what our basic human needs and aspects of our human will are, what guides us in balancing those needs and will, clarifying what we have and what we want to set our goal, exploring possible connections when relaxed, arriving at a strategy to negotiate the change from what we have to what we want, devising tactics to advance the strategy, taking bold, assertive and timely action to achieve our goal, reviewing and evaluating our performance.

Integrative Improvement™ for Organisations

In organisations of all sorts NEW IT provides an essential ingredient for sustainable successful relationships – a common basis for communication among individuals.

Douglas Integrative Governance 247™ (DIG247) arose from applying NEW IT to the subject of governance. DIG 247 offers a new approach to governance for existing and start-up organisations that want to survive, adapt and prosper by meeting 247 [twenty four - seven] the sustainable needs and wants of individual end-consumers/citizens in balanced ways that benefit both parties. It offers a way of re-humanising relationships. It is integrated governance for the emerging distributed economy.

In short, DIG 247 is about helping organisations employ fully the integrative capacity of individuals to ensure the organisations are stable enough to meet efficiently, effectively and competitively the needs and wants of end-consumers/citizens while remaining adaptable enough to self-organise to meet changes in those needs and wants.

Among organisations of all sorts DIG 247 provides an essential ingredient for sustainable successful relationships - a common basis for communication.

Taken together, NEW IT and DIG 247 provide the basis for training in and achievement of Integrative Improvement™: development as if people and their physical, social and cultural environments mattered.

Core Principles of Integrative Improvement™ (II)

•  II is a bottom-up approach involving everybody

• II emphasises connections, relationships and interactions because it is based on the current scientific understanding of our world as tending to be self-organising with human beings whose minds are naturally integrative

•  II is about improving (making or becoming better) in a balanced, integrative and sustainable way the lives people already have

•  II involves encouraging and facilitating integrated governance enabled by human and machine-based technology in all government, business and civil society organisations

•  II progress is measured by indicators of wellbeing

Integrative Improvement Institutes™ Project (IIIP)

This project is designed to improve the well-being of people and their physical, social and cultural environments by world-wide diffusion, refinement and implementation through Integrative Improvement Institutes™(III) of the Integrative Improvement™ (II) approach for achieving sustainable development. For more information about this Project and Integrative Improvement™ please click here for a paper “Achieving Sustainable Development: the Integrative Improvement Institutes™ Project” which was presented at the Inaugural All China Economics International Conference in Hong Kong on 19 December 2006.