My first Opal Design Systems resource, which is due out for publication in late 2017, is volume #1 in the Futuristguy’s Field Guide Series on Do Good Plus Do No Harm. This four-volume training series is based in my own experiences and studies in organizational development, paradigm mapping, cultural geography, learning styles, creativity theory, recovery ministries, media studies, simulation games, quadruple bottom line enterprises, and strategic foresight (futurist skills). Its main purposes are:
- To help survivors of malignant leaders and toxic organizations – along with survivor advocates and activists – process their experiences, find routes forward for personal recovery, and explore ways to redeem their destructive experiences by supporting other survivors and challenging abuse of power.
- To equip social transformation practitioners and intercultural, intergenerational teams to develop start-up endeavors with sustainable impact or transition existing institutions for a more flexible legacy.
The training series covers essential concept frameworks, practitioner skills, practical learning exercises, and impact evaluation metrics needed for creating common ground for the common good. These are focused toward implementing holistic design strategy for existing organizations and start-ups. I designed the series to equip participants in a wide range of organizational types. These include entities like community development projects, faith-based ministries, for-benefit businesses, and non-profit agencies.
To accomplish the good, we must be aware of the bad. Many illustrations and practical exercises related to toxic systems emerge from real-world experiences shared by survivors of abuse of power, whether in social, political, or religious settings. I know from personal experiences what this is about, plus I’ve done a lot of research and reflection about the destructive power dynamics. And I find that principles which prove relevant to power abuse survivors seem generally to apply to survivors of other kinds of abuse and violence. Also, many of the people we hope to help in our social transformation endeavors are likely to be victims of misuse of authority, verbal abuse, and emotional manipulation. So, the material is relevant there as well.
The content is meant to be worked through and chewed on, thought through and reviewed, reflected upon and discussed. It’s not the sort of stuff you can expect to get through quickly in a few sittings and really “get it.” I use a carefully sequenced series of articles to break down complex processes into more easily comprehended layers and stages and steps. Many articles feature art images that illustrate the concepts. So, words and pictures work together to help those with different learning styles grasp the material better.
Many of the workbook section exercises are meant for teams to go through together. This interaction gives people with diverse cultural backgrounds and different perception strengths an opportunity to build teamwork where each member contributes. This mirrors the mission of social transformation organizations where work is accomplished by teams. It also helps build a “transcultural” team that seeks to be holistic and integrative as a group, while also helping one another bring out the best of who they are individually and culturally.
Who might find this transcultural system for social transformation especially relevant? I would suggest individuals with a range of purposes could find it useful:
- Survivors of abuse of organizational power, along with their advocates and support team – who want to go beyond personal healing and recovery to do something “redemptive” and preventive with their experiences so others are protected from that kind of abuse.
- People who want to become culture readers, cultural interpreters, cross-cultural advocates and workers, social activists, community planners, and/or futurists.
- Social entrepreneurs doing non-profit start-ups, church plants, social transformation projects, community development work, government or NGO projects, or the like.
- Mentors and coaches of next-generation advocates and activists.
- Leaders of “legacy” institutions who are in the midst of figuring out how to either transition their leadership, strategies, and structures to next generations, or else shut it down.
- People interested in better understanding various cultural and paradigm sources of conflict between individuals, groups, and nations – and how to bridge those differences more constructively.
- People interested generally in what it means to “do good” and to “be good,” and to keep social and work environments trustworthy and safe for all people. That way, anyone and everyone can pursue personal spiritual change for the betterment of themselves and for the benefit of others.
So, the Do Good Plus Do No Harm training series is for both professionals and everyday people who desire to make a difference by improving the well-being of others. I look forward to its publication, and to other eventual Opal Design Systems components that will create a more complete resource! In the meantime, this site provides an overview of those elements, the theories behind them, and samples of the writing styles I use in them.
~ Brad Sargent / “futuristguy”