Emergence, Mediation, Evolution, and Design Emergence is the surprising capacity we discover when we join together. New systems have properties that appear suddenly and mysteriously. These properties cannot be predicted. They do not exist in the individuals who compose the system. What we know about the individuals, no matter how rich the details, will never give us the ability to predict how they will behave as a system. Once individuals link together they become something different.
An emergent world asks us to stand in a different place. We can no longer stand at the end of something we visualize in detail and plan backwards from the future. Instead, we must stand at the beginning, clear in our intent, with a willingness to be involved in discovery. The world asks that we focus less on how we can coerce something to make it conform to our designs and focus more on how we can engage with each other, how we can enter the experience and then notice what comes forth.
It asks that we participate more than plan.
When there is so much failure in the hands of such skilled people, it can only mean that we are seeking answers in the wrong place. Collecting more details or enforcing greater rigor still won't reveal wisdom.
Emergence reveals the heart of organization, the deep processes that spin into the systems that we see. Like any living system, every organization coevolves. Its character and capabilities emerge as it plays with possibilities. It messes about with others until a workable system appears. The system has abilities and beliefs no one planned. It accomplishes work in ways no one designed. It has relationships no one mandated.
Because we haven't understood organizations, we have hurt one another deeply. We joined together to accomplish a purpose, we...