We chose the name for the Institute for Strategic Clarity (ISC) to reflect the integration of our dual interest in strategy and clarity. Strategy focuses on what is important and how to achieve it. Clarity focuses on understanding. Strategic clarity, then, focuses on understanding what is important and how to achieve it. This integration blends the fields of economics, business, and politics with the fields of psychology, sociology, and ethics. ISC’s contributions to each of these fields come from this blending, resulting in a set of frameworks that describe the human experience of systems of human agreements.
Developed by ISC
The frameworks for Ecosynomics, Harmonic Vibrancy, Managing from Clarity, and the Systemic Leverage Index were developed within ISC.
The term Ecosynomics means the principles of collaboration. Ecosynomics provides a theoretical framework for understanding how people relate to the experience of human interactions.
• This framework makes it possible to see the often hidden, underlying agreements that most affect the human experience, enabling people to choose the fundamental assumptions they accept, the structures and processes that result from those assumptions, and the behaviors they want to experience in their daily interactions with others.
• Building on what has been learned in the hundreds of billions of human-years lived in five different political-economic systems in the past two centuries, Ecosynomics provides a unified framework for describing what tens of thousands of groups ISC has identified are learning.
• Along the way, we discovered that these groups, many of which we are working with, start from a different initial assumption than economic scarcity. They start with abundance. Ecosynomics, the social science of abundance, explains what they are learning and how that changes all of the rules of the game.
• For an example of a group living explicitly with Ecosynomic principles, see this documentary. For more on the Ecosynomics framework, start with this blog post or go directly to the Ecosynomics book-course.
In hundreds of conversations and over 1,900 survey responses from 90 countries, people consistently describe their experience of great and awful groups with some form of the vibrancy they experience in groups with greater or lesser levels of harmony.
• People use the harmonic vibrancy framework to more clearly see the experience they are having and the want they believe is available to the group.
• People repeatedly report the experience of greater abundance in groups that are more harmonically vibrant and more scarcity in groups that are less harmonically vibrant. These terms come from what people say. The harmonic vibrancy framework describes what people describe in this experience through their relationship to self, other, group, nature, and spirit.
MANAGING FROM CLARITY
To lead with clarity, you need to know where you want to go and have some sense of how to get there. In today’s reality, this understanding brings in the complexity of a system of multiple internal and external stakeholders that influences your group, each with their own intentions and outcomes, interacting with each other over time.
• Managing from Clarity is a systems-based, strategic framework that uncovers a group’s shared purpose, the multiple, often-conflicting goals each stakeholder has, the network of resource dynamics that support these multiple goals, the incentives within the systems, identifying the leverage points that can shift the behavior of the whole system.
• Since the late 1990’s when it was initially developed, Managing from Clarity has been applied in over 150 organizations, small and large, in businesses, civil society, government, and global action networks, in dozens of countries.
SYSTEMIC LEVERAGE INDEX
To meet the challenges of measuring the past performance, current health, and future sustainability of any network stakeholders, whether a family, a community, an organization, or a global network, an assessment must be integrated in a clear, comprehensive, and rigorous fashion. A good network effectiveness assessment both (1) integrates broad network and local partner levels of performance and leverage of philanthropic investments, and (2) indicates the network’s ability to leverage systemic coordination among and within partners. The Systemic Leverage Index (SLI) framework assesses the effectiveness, efficiency, and innovativeness of the complex set of relationships in this network.
• The SLI is based on a synthesis of strategy theory. Its basic measurement is the gap between aspirations and current reality. Drawing on a variety of data, the SLI inquiry focuses on defining and measuring the gaps at three different levels of the system: the system level; the level of the network members; and the level of activities.
• The index provides an indication of the overall “health” of the network. It is also a diagnostic tool: a low index number indicates that things are not working well at some level of the system and the level-specific data helps determine what, specifically, needs adjustment.
• Start your inquiry into the SLI with this article.
Developed by Others
The framework for mindfulness was developed by Ellen Langer. ISC has contributed to the application of Professor Langer’s work in the area of organizational strategic processes and large-scale social change initiatives.
Starting in the 1970’s, Harvard Professor Ellen Langer began to describe “mindfulness” as an openness to new perspectives, new categories, and new information. In the 35 years since, Langer has conducted 100s of experiments, published in over 300 peer-reviewed articles and a dozen books demonstrating the extraordinary impact of being more mindful.
• As a collaborator with Ellen Langer in her Mindfulness Lab and the Langer Mindfulness Institute since 2004, ISC President Jim Ritchie-Dunham has applied Langer’s mindfulness concepts in organizations, small and large, demonstrating the extraordinary impact of mindful interactions within an organizational setting.
• Start your exploration with this chapter on “Mindful Leadership” in the Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Mindfulness or this one in Spanish in the book El Coraje de Liderar en la Democracia del Siglo XXI.