The Integral Framework

What is the Integral Framework?

Many plans of organizations, NGOs, or planning teams intend to implement ambitious goals for organizational development and getting ahead in ever complexifiying times.

The will need appropriate frameworks to deal with three main crucial issues:

  • Complexity and systemic adaptive pushback (resistance to change)
    Interacting and interdependent systems, environment, health, politics, economy, safety, equity, social issues, practical implementation
  • Fragmentation
    Between and internal to the multiple disciplines, siloed departments, programs, projects, communities, stakeholder groups involved
  • Different perspectives
    Originating in the different involved cultures, religions, worldviews, philosophies, ethics, identities of the participants and their influencers

And yet, with the right instruments and leadership these critical issues can be forged to bring:

  • Clarity and direction
  • Integration
  • Alignment and respect

To achieve these main orienting goals we mainly use Ken Wilber’s Integral Framework as an analytical tool to explore relationships between all components of any reality, as well as the way each component unfolds through developmental stages. It also shows the linkage between different disciplines, e.g. the natural sciences, economy, politics, culture, psychology, and worldviews or cultures, and the interdependent nature of all areas of policy of development.

Like a good map, this framework provides a clear overview and actionable insight into complex interconnected systems. It also reveals the interior dynamics of these systems and their respective underlying resistance to necessary changby identifying the connection between exterior behaviors and their motivational root causes. This is where real change is initiated.

The interior dimensions of society (individual and collective) inform opinions and decision-making. The Integral Framework helps to identify the underlying leverage points of crucial influence that act as either support or resistance to eco-social change. It differentiates several strata of value-systems and explains how people ‘governed’ by these ways of making sense will respond to any policy or program that is designed to change behavior.aqal2

To engage in  eco-social change programs leaders need be able to meet people where they are. Using the Integral approach, leaders can develop the capacity to precisely communicate content and desired behavior according to the respective value systems of the constituency involved. This approach has enormous implications for social marketing and campaign messaging, as well as in fostering meaningful dialogue between sectors and social groups.

The Integral Framework also identifies gaps, blind spots, and functional misfits. Once these issues have been identified, the framework can be used for the elaboration of guidelines for national, regional and local implementation and the formulation of long term strategies and policies.

In summary, the Integral Framework enables leaders and decision-makers to be informed by and easily adopt a more comprehensive, effective and balanced approach to complex problems and their innovative solutions at any scale. It is an excellent tool for investigation and assessment of cross-sector and multi-social complexities. It effectively aligns policy and collaboration in spite of different values and viewpoints, thereby enabling all stakeholders to engage in the desired change.


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