The WEF WorkSpace
Its Evolution 2001 - 2008
In November 2000, Gail and were asked to develop workshops for four large-scale systemic, global problems at the 2001 World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting at Davos. This initiated a process that has - in its present state - produced the results you see in the video above. This process is not over. In many respects the remarkable outcome illustrated above, is just the beginning. 2008 is a benchmark on a path which promises even greater potential. The WorkSpace, which was implemented in 2005 - having reached a significant level of maturity and acceptance - has become a regular part of the Annual Meeting, and to some, the most viable formal process of the meeting. The path ahead has three tracks; one is to continue to refine and expand the level of practice which now exists. The second is to seek the next plateau of the practice and to further adapt it to the specific requirements of the Forum. The third is to connect the WorkSpace to the larger community of NavCenters® thereby adding to the capability to address the systemic issues all of Humanity now faces. The WorkSpace at the Forum is doing valuable work. Being linked more tightly to the ValueWeb® practice will amplify the Forum’s effort as well as the practice of global transformation as a whole. It is not a given that these three steps will be taken. Below, I will present what to me are the strong arguments why this should happen.
click on icon for further reading:
A Future By Design - global agenda
Davos 2005 - IMAGES
This article is a documentation of this multi year transfer process. Getting to this video required a considerable effort on the part of a number of people as well as some risk. This story is presented in its historical context and that of the Mission of MG Taylor. Our Mission provided the motivation for the investment we made at a time when this was not the wisest economic decision for us. Despite the timing and circumstance, we had no choice as we felt that the work of the World Economic Forum was too important not to support in every way possible. We are of course pleased with what the WorkPlace has become and achieved. Even if it “stays” where it is and takes a slow evolutionary path it will be a leading edge environment for collaboration, learning and bringing focus to the global agenda. If the WEF decides to go on to the next levels of the Taylor System and Method their improvement and impact will not be merely linear - it will be an order of magnitude leap in effectiveness and the ability to deliver transformational experiences to its community of world leaders. The WorkSpace will become a valuable node in a growing ValueWeb of navCenters. It is this combined ability and the synergy of these Centers which will forge a global ability to resolve the systemic, cross-organizational, complex issues before our society.
further reading:
MG Taylor Mission
ValueWeb Architecture
The focus of this paper is on the transfer process and future enhancements which will allow the Forum to gain greater ability to enhance it global agenda. While there are unique aspects to the World Economic Forum - as with any organization - the process of bringing a new technology and process to any organizations and culture has many elements in common. It is with these common elements which we are concerned with here. In addition, the synergies and accumulated effect from all NavCenters, no mater their ownership or focus, supports the decades-long strategy of MG Taylor to build - a capacity for facilitating societal and organizational transformation on both a local and world-wide basis. This subject will also be addressed below. It is the two together which most demonstrates where we are in the now 28 year process of building this system. The Method had to be created; A market established; A transfer process refined; Then a number of nodes put in place in order to begin to see the behavior of the larger system of navCenters. The nodes have to be placed in different parts of the world and at different “levels” of our society. The WEF represents a large cross section of those who are presently the influential elite of our planet in the realms of business, federal governments ademia. Others are being built in business and universities. Others in local governments and agencies, schools and community centers. Transformation is neither top down or bottom up. It is a state change that rapidly takes places when a distributed critical mass reaches a certain threshold. A global network of billions of people acts in a way not unlike the brain-mind of a single human being. Understand how one thinks and remembers and you understand the other. The transformational process of a society is like the personal insight experience of learning or design. Much of the elements remain the same yet their connectivity and the threshold tolerances of the synapses are radically “re-arranged.” Mind, team, group, organization, region, country, continent, globe are recursions of the same kind of structures. We of course experience each recursion level differently as “inside of me” or “external and separate from me.” This later perception is false to fact. There are multiple links which wire these experiences together - for each of us, our true “me” is much greater than we commonly recognize - our individuality and group reality are in fact a single system. As a society, we tend to concentrate on those aspects of our experience which we are aware of as autonomous and ignore those not-yet-conscience connections which fall outside of the present dominate paradigm’s focus. This is more extreme in the Western societies and those we call “advanced.”
further reading:
The Tranformation Process
NavCenters - ValueWeb
10 Step Knowledge Management
Making ValueWebs - A Model
MG Taylor Tool Kit - a basic outline
NavCenters - Creating the Tool
PatchWorks Designs
The Taylor System and Method works on all of these levels, individually - its true power is when all these levels are linked and employed to operate as an integrated system. The Method’s ability to do this is perhaps its greatest facility. We call this GroupGenius® and we do not mean it as a metaphor. It is a real phenomena and not rare. In the present time, it is often negative in its consequence as it is not understood nor properly practiced. Many of the more abhorrent circumstances of our present civilization are merely the result of large scale, not recognized, run away group practices made up of old habits not thought through and applied without rigor or feedback - in other words, negative synergy. It is not common to engineer a process if the reality of it is not recognized and understood to exist. This is our condition. What makes the Taylor Method unique is that it proceeds from the opposite presumption and defines a large-scale process whereby a consistent practice that leads to beneficial results can be achieved.
further reading:
PRACTICE - idea into reality
22 Aspects of Memory
Experience-Based Education Model
Creative Habits to Processes
When we started working with the Forum they we not looking for “group genius.” They were interested in introducing workshops that were more participatory and interactive then their offerings of the time. If you reflect on the themes of the last three Annual Meetings, however, you will see a shift in direction which is highlighted in the 08 WorkSpace interview piece shown above. Although the words GroupGenius are not used, the participants actually define it very well by their reflections. These words would not have been said seven years ago illustrating that content and process cannot be separated and that experience is more powerful than didactics.
further reading:
Zone of Emergence Model
During the WEF WorkPlace sessions, the term GroupGenius is rarely used. MG Taylor Corporation or TomorrowMakers are rarely - if ever - mentioned. This transparency has been at the heart of the transfer process. A consortium of Licensed providers, the valueweb, supports an internal World Economic Forum Team which in turn, facilitates individual content experts, selected by the Forum who actually facilitate the session. This is made plain by the video. This passing on of the Method was accomplished in a three year period. Few who come to the Forum know the source of the method or how it came to be. Members of the valueweb are at times asked to provide similar events outside the Forum which, of course, they do. However, the many events which take place at the Forum are never used to sell work or promote the adoption of the Method. This is the best way to support the Forum’s work. It does has some drawbacks as a business practice for obvious reasons which I will discuss elsewhere. It has been a principle, from the beginning, in 1980, of MG Taylor that the process itself, and navCenter environments in which it is practiced, be neutral spaces and never experienced by participants as a means for pushing an agenda - hidden or otherwise.
This does not mean that these sessions do not have goals or are shy about bringing new ideas into play. It means that these intentions are made clear from the beginning and that the rules-of-engagement are stated up front - this is authentic only when the structure of the process is such that the outcome is truly emergent. This reality is clear from the video. These are people, and a forum, where manipulation will be seen and called for what it is.
more to come
Return To Index
GoTo: A Future By Design Not Default
GoTo: A Future By Design - Worthy Problems
GoTo: DAVOS 2005
GoTo: Transition Management science & art
GoTo: Organizational Transformation

Matt Taylor
Nashville VCBH Studio
March 11, 2008

SolutionBox voice of this document:
click on graphic for explanation of SolutionBox

posted: March 11, 2008

revised: December 29, 2008
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(note: this document is about 20% finished)

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