Pioneers will become an important resource in identifying those evolutionary architects (EAs) whose diverse gifts are most relevant to the work of transforming our social systems. We will start with those whose work we know to be a good fit. Our in-depth engagement with these EAs will do much to shape the emergence of GlobalGEA as a truly generative action-learning organism.

The “Pioneers” section will also feature generative initiatives and organizations from all sectors of society that are most aligned with our mission. Our posts will focus on and appreciate those design aspects that are most generative, educational and paradigm-shaping for the GlobalGEA community and the field of evolutionary social system design as a whole.

A Request —

While we have a robust list of EAs we want to connect with at this stage, we invite you to send us your suggestions and nominations. Have a personal relationship with an EA whom we must reach? Help us by facilitating the connection!

We need your help in identifying and connecting us with the relevant generative initiatives and organizations described above. Of special interest to us are regional metamorphosis initiatives, i.e. initiatives that aim to improve the well-being of a region or a city as a whole. Send us your suggestions and ideas here.

Examples of a generative initiatives and organizations follow below:

P&G Albany Plant Story

One of the best examples of “generative” organization design I (Bill Veltrop) have encountered is the Procter and Gamble Paper Products plant in Albany, Georgia. Herb Stokes, the design architect and organization development manager, was my mentor throughout the first decade of my organization change career. Herb, more than any other individual, was responsible for setting me on an action-learning trajectory reflected in and this web site.

P&G’s Albany plant started up in 1973. The plant design team was committed to a “living systems” approach to its organization design. One of their more controversial design decisions was to use the same racial and gender percentages for their technician teams as existed in the area work force. They started up with 40% African-Americans and 20% women at a time when there was much no precedent and much concern about both groups.

Herb helped craft a design so that the highly diverse technician teams not only managed themselves and their complex papermaking operations, but were also responsible for managing themselves, their process and maintenance work assignment, managing their boundaries with other teams and with supplier and customer groups, and providing developmental feedback and support for each other. The role of the plant’s “managers” was to create the conditions and provide the support needed to develop the technician team’s capacity to manage and continuously improve most all aspects of their team effectiveness and the quality of working lives.

The plant has been in operation for over 35 years, and is still not only continuing to set business performance standards within P&G and the paper products industry, but also has been a standard-setter in term of developing minority and women leaders deployed throughout P&G.

These quotes from a knowledgeable source:

“The power of diversity at the Albany Plant, and the energy diversity has created for over 30 years has had the effect of building on the plant’s other strengths, of multiplying the expected results. Diversity has produced more benefit in more areas of the operation, the community and P&G at large, than any single element of its success. Diversity touches and enhances every facet of life at the plant.

“Our definition of diversity is broad, not only with respect to acceptance of a heterogeneous culture, but also as a variety of viewpoints, skills and approaches — with higher quality decisions resultig from acknowledging and using multiple viewpoints on a regular basis.

“We consider diversity to be our effectiveness multiplier.”

P&G’s Albany plant has been a 35-year CSO (Corporate Social Opportunity) success story. P&G enhanced brilliant organization design with envelope-pushing diversity principles — and has been harvesting and propagating dramatic business and social benefits ever since.

The ripple effects of the P&G Albany plant culture has been significant throughout the surrounding community and the P&G corporate operations.

This 1976 Albany Plant Trip Report and this set of Structural Design Guidelines provides a cornucopia of design specifics as relevant for today’s organizations just as they were 35 years ago.


Ashoka is one of the best examples of an organization focused on generative system change. (“Generative” refers to that which is enlivening, creates multiplying benefits and results in ultra-high True ROI.) Since 1981, Ashoka has elected over 2,500 leading social entrepreneurs as Ashoka Fellows, providing them with living stipends, professional support, and access to a global network of peers in 70 countries.

Ashoka’s leadership understands that today’s most pressing social and environmental problems cannot be fixed by incremental improvements – they require systemic solutions. Ashoka’s approach is to attract, invest in and connect into a global network world’s leading social entrepreneurs with system-changing ideas that not only create new or change existing systems, but hold great promise of spreading nationally and even globally. Ashoka’s strategy is equal parts community- and generative capacity building. Ashoka fellows form a powerful action-learning community continuously growing and strengthening its capacity to change systems and maximize its long-lasting impact on those it serves. In addition, Ashoka takes generative capacity building to the broader society by investing in developing and strengthening empathy and changemaking as two fundamental societal capacities necessary for thriving in the 21st century. Why empathy and changemaking? Bill Drayton, the CEO of Ashoka, sees empathy as crucial to listening – listening to people, environment and even the future. Deep listening, in turn, reveals opportunities for change – thus changemaking as the other crucial capacity.

Ashoka’s impact has been nothing short of stunning: according to its 2009 global study, 83% of Ashoka Fellows have changed systems at a national level in at least one way within 10 years of election. That’s a track record to be truly proud of!!

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