Adapted from the book, Tribal Alchemy: Turning What You Have Into What You Need. D. Fleming. 2016. A Tribal Alchemy Resource.
Ingenious tribes “perspectivize.” Yep, I just turned the word perspective into a verb. Perspectivizing happens when people weave multiple perspectives together in order to ingeniously arrange resources for greater effectiveness, productivity and efficiency. In other words, they figure out together how to take what they have and turn it into what they need.
Dialogue is a good ole fashion word for “perspectivize”–though clearly not as cool. Dialogue fuels discovery because people find together what they cannot find alone. And why is this? Because dialogue is about layering perspectives in order to create new “super perspectives” (perspectivizing). And that leads to more ingenuity.
Here are three actions your tribe can take that will increase your ability to see ingenious solutions together.
Circle and Gather Collective Attention Around Your Raw Materials
Tribes have to circle the many elements and materials of their challenge or opportunity, because the creative solution is hidden within. But simply being in a room together doesn’t ensure you’re all present. A circle is created when a tribe consciously decides to be present together to their challenge or opportunity. What I have noticed in my work is that when a tribe decides to pay attention, to be collectively present, the members’ observations and conversations yield more novel and useful insights. They see better.
Join Each Other By Directing Your Best Energies And Thoughts Toward Your Raw Materials
When tribes join, they add their intention to their attention. The word intention comes from an old French word that meant to “stretch toward with effort.” Joining then means that tribe members stretch toward the challenge or opportunity in the middle of the circle and direct their best collective energy and thinking toward it. The more mindful this joining, the more it can lead to perceiving what is beneath the surface and an imagining of novel and useful solutions.
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Focus on Discovery And The Insights That Lead to Ingenuity
When we understand more about the meaning of this handy little word, it reveals another important element of seeing together. Break the word in two and it yields its secrets.
Dis: apart, asunder, away
Cover: to conceal
The definition of discover, then, is to throw off that which conceals something else. Oh, that’s good. It’s an especially poignant definition for collective seeing. As we now have established, when the raw materials of a situation are in front of your tribe, the possibility or creative solution is initially concealed. Discovery then allows your tribe to explore the hidden potential in the raw materials. In order to do this, you have to throw off certain ideas and actions that may be covering up the more novel and useful ones. Your tribe must throw off that which obfuscates your collective insights. That is when the insight becomes visible and the ingenuity becomes possible.
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When your tribe is acting in ingenious ways, you will find these three elements (circle, join and discover) nearby. The key is to practice each one more consistently and more mindfully.