I like to think of myself as a ‘social architect’.
Social Architecture to me is about envisioning, designing, creating and helping to evolve the ways people work and live, and how they interact in the formal and informal spaces in which they carry out their lives .. work, recreational, purposeful and imaginative.
Our notions of work, recreation, purpose and imagination are changing dramatically. Time and space are mutating in front of us as we encounter an always-on always-connected world. Some of this is exhilarating .. some of this is daunting, annoying and chilling in its implications.
I am a largely self-taught anthropologist and sociologist with a conceptual understanding of the cybernetic future in front of us. I believe I have an informed perspective on the core challenges this future will present to us humans.
I have been studying the sociology of human social systems and the structures and dynamics of the organizations in which they work and play for the last 40 years. In the middle of my ‘career’, I learned and used most of the conventional tools and processes designed and employed to manage people towards results of one kind or another … assessment and measurement instruments, methods for dividing and aligning sets of objectives and tasks, rationalized ways of paying people and measuring their effectiveness, leadership and management development frameworks, and standardised models for helping people and organizations develop and carry out generally agreed-upon and accepted ways of instantiating and managing ‘change’.
That led into seeking out more knowledge about the paradoxes, polarities and flows of life as I perceived them, and so I began soaking up information and experiences that showed me more about these mysteries. Then I invested in learning about the dynamics and processes of approaches to co-creating an organization’s or a project’s vision, values, objectives and the ways to see, understand and touch tangible results.
Processes like Open Space, Future Search, Improv, Participative Work Design, Appreciative Enquiry, Scenario Planning, the Cynefin Method, and humanist-based coaching. Over the years lots of learning and lots of experience.
And then along came the Web. All of the previous study and experience has been proving interesting and useful. I’ve spent the last 15 years working at understanding the Web .. its structure and dynamics and the mutations in behaviour and culture it is forcing upon us.
I coined and defined the term and concept wirearchy.
Wirearchy – a dynamic two-way flow of power and authority based on knowledge, trust, credibility and a focus on results, enabled by interconnected people and technology.
I’ve believe we’re just at the beginning of a massive amount of individual and collective unlearning and re-learning what it means for humans to be in (perhaps more organic) interaction with each other .. and with our selves. All of our existing social institutions and the ways we interact with and use them will be changed.
The co-creative concepts and I approaches I’ve been involved with for the past 15 years are essential approaches to the complexities of interconnected life that we are now experiencing. We’re going into an uncertain future together, by necessity.
We don’t know much yet about where all this is taking us, but it certainly seems like it has the potential to be somewhere very different. The Industrial Age may become to be seen as just a blip in human history. I don’t know. We’ll see.
The arts and humanities are very important, I think.
I also believe the past will be an useful guide to our future.
I’ve spent a fair bit of time travelling, cultivating deep friendships, skiing and (always) swimming.
During my adult life I have worked as …
- a lumberjack and lumber mill monkey (right after graduation from university)
- a prison guard
- a truck driver
- a maker and installer of awnings (perhaps my favourite job of all time)
- a banker
- a financial analyst and planner
- a staff person and facilitator for a major international and Canadian charitable organization
- a speaker, trainer and investigator for the Canadian Human Rights Commission
- a management consultant and coach (human resources and organizational change issues) with a major global consulting firm
- an organizational and community development facilitator and strategist
- a researcher and writer
- a speaker
- consulting as a ‘deep generalist’ and advisor
I’m also a ..
- Certified Management Consultant (CMC)
- Certified Hudson Institute Coach (Hudson Institue of Santa Barbara)
- Cognitive Edge Practitioner (I deeply appreciate and understand the concepts of the Cynefin Framework – D. Snowden)
- Certified francophile
I am perpetually curious about what people do, why they do what they do and how they go about it.
Over the last ten years I have been paying regular and sometimes concentrated attention to the ongoing impacts the Web is having on existing societal institutions and processes. I have some informed ideas about what may be ahead of us as well as some thoughts about how to come to terms with the unknown territory stretching out in front of us.
During that period I ‘ve co-authored two books …
Making Knowledge Work – the arrival of Web 2.0 .. with J. Bair, Ark Group, 2007 (a little-read early attempt to synthesise old-school knowledge management philosophy and ‘methods’ with the early dynamics and patterns emerging from peoples’ interactions in / on the participative Web)
La Société Émergente du XXIe Siècle (The Emergent Society of the 21st Century) .. Piktos, 2010 (tagging along on the coattails of Michel Cartier, for my money the Quebecois version of Marshall McLuhan meets Alvin Toffler)
Arguably, I have deep understanding of the various approaches and practices that have been used to design purposeful organizations. I hold a dedicated orientation towards humanist approaches that recognize that we humans find ourselves all in the same predicaments .. over and over again, or so history tells us. There are more effective ways and less effective ways of doing things together. I have an informed perspective and some strong opinions on the issues.
We need to find better ways and better reasons .. ways and reasons that honour each and every one of us whilst offering the individual and his or her close circles the possibilities of an expansive and fulfilling time on earth.
I have also carried out a significant amount of volunteer work in the arts world over the years, notably in the disciplines of dance, film and the application of various media to community development initiatives.
I don’t have any clear answers or solutions to offer.
But I can help people and organizations clarify critical issues and co-create with them plans to face a daunting future. I have been told, here and there, that I often ask good questions and can be an insightful conversationalist. I’m a coach and a consultant.
My perspectives and capabilities may be of interest to you. If so …
I can be reached at jon.husband @ gmail dot com