Welcome to synergistics

Synergistics is the art and science of building synergy and collaboration, with the principles of collective intelligence, for prosperity and sustainability in turbulent times.

To live together on a small planet, we need new ways of organizing cities and economies and societies. This calls for a new operating system, one based on collaboration and collective intelligence. We need a ‘smart’, technical kind of intelligence – but even more, we need a ‘wiser’ kind of  intelligence, which brings together different ways of thinking – social, technical, ecological, political and cultural.

The art and science of synergistics is now emerging from turbulence and disruption. There are practical projects, methods and tools, along with insights, stories and maps, and visual thinking is an essential part of this.  There is an open invitation to join this Collaboratorium and help us explore the human frontiers…

The source-book for many of these ideas is the newly published – DEEPER CITY

The materials are shared between here and the ‘sand-pit’ of Urban-3.0 .

On this site you will find (with overviews below) –

  • the Collaboratorium   – an experimental zone for new learning & thinking on collective intelligence.
  • the Co-productions, recent and ongoing projects which explore & demonstrate the potential of collective intelligence
  • the Toolkit with practical methods and guidance: and
  • Resources library, with demonstration pathways for many kinds of human problem.

On the Urban-3.0 pages you will find samples from  The Book:    Mind Games with visual storylines : background on the  Synergistics ideas & methods: deeper and wider insights and experiments in Visual Thinking.

And here are various materials for the Deeper City ….


Climate-wise – overview

this new program at the Glasgow COP26 has spun off from the Eco-wise  theme of the Collaboratorium

We aim to explore by mapping and visual storylines, the collective climatic intelligence (such as it is) –

Events posted here as they emerge – see the  Climate-wise Collaboratorium at COP26 – v1a 

Following that there’s an open invitation to the Climate-sight 3.0 workshop (Dec 3rd)



Collaboratorium – overview

The Collaboratorium (aka ‘Laboratory for collective intelligence’ /or  ‘Future-wise Mind-Lab’ ) is an exploration at the human frontiers … Ahead we see runaway climate change, invasive technology, and post-truth extremisms…but we also see potentials and pathways:

  • Eco-wise levels of ‘collective climatic intelligence’ 
  • Smart-wise systems as catalysts of a CHAI (‘collective human-artificial intelligence’)
  • Foresight-wise as catalyst for the ‘collective governance intelligence’

Amidst disruption and chaos, building resilience and capacity for thinking ahead, calls for a collective intelligence – social, technological, ecological, economic, political, cultural, urban and others.  So this Laboratory of Collective Intelligence aims to advance the state of the art – in which we are all beginners – but very interesting times lie ahead. 

Forward thinkers and interested co-authors are invited to join these workshops as they come up on the links. 

For comments or queries, contact joe.ravetz@manchester.ac.uk

Co-productions – overview

This is the ‘inhouse’ Collaboratorium – an experimental zone for a ‘collective intelligence laboratory’. Here the synergistic methods are being developed and tested in a range of projects, large and small, from around the world. 



Bemine (Finland)

Finland sees rapid urbanization, bringing sprawl, polarization and rural decline. The ‘Bemine’ project explores pathways for transformation in urban development. Synergistics helps to cross-fertilize 70+ research outputs, and co-create new ‘Envisions’ for the future.

Mini-Lab (UK)

The Mini-Lab (Metropolitan INnovation & Intelligence Laboratory) is a small prototype for a collective intelligence program. It works on low carbon retrofit & environmental governance. We aim towards a ‘multi-versity’ of co-learning and co-production between policy makers and researchers.

Risk & resilience (Australia)

The rising seas and gathering storms of the coming decades need more than building of walls. To adapt and co-evolve, we need to look at how society works, learns, thinks and communicates – a next generation Resilience-III.

Looper – Learning Loops

Looper is setting up ‘Learning Loop Living Labs’ in Brussels, Manchester, and Verona. These are new models for experimental design and innovation at the community level, for problems such as air quality, road safety, noise, crime or greenspace.

Smart-Wise Inclusive Cities (India)

The disruptive power of smart technologies is now emerging. This calls for a new agenda – ‘Smart-Wise Inclusive Cities’ (SWIC), which steer the ‘smart power’ towards social equality, sustainable livelihoods & open governance. SWIC-India is a small pilot to test the synergistic methods, ready for scaling up to global level

Low Carbon Futures (Qatar)

Qatar may be at a crossroads in environmental history. With the world’s third-largest natural gas reserves its wealth is huge, but vulnerable. Everything could change with international climate change policy, market effects, or national priorities. For the shift to renewable energy, there is a clear advantage for the first mover. All this points to a Foresight-III approach to building capacity, for collaborative learning, thinking, creating and doing.

Water governance (GM)

Water governance is split across public, private and civic sectors: there are many gaps, overlaps and barriers to integrated catchment management. To design more effective governance structures, we can use Synergistic principles. Then we can address the whole of the water cycle: supply, demand, water quality, groundwater, flood risk management and drainage.


(Peri-urban climate-environment)

From space, the human impact on the planet is seen by the spread of cities, but cities themselves are spreading into much larger areas of sprawl, around and between them. The planet has arguably entered the ‘Peri-cene’ – a new global human-environment system shaped by peri-urbanization. The PERI-CENE project will provide the first ever comprehensive assessment of global peri-urbanisation, with its climate impacts, risks and vulnerabilities. For more see http://peri-cene.net

Toolkit – overview

The Synergistic Toolkit is designed for working with complex inter-connected problems. It shows how to turn a ‘Nexus’ of contradictions, into a ‘Connexus’ of opportunities. It’s a package of methods, tools, techniques, and templates.

The Toolkit helps to understand a complex present, and explore the pathways to opportunities in the future. It works with a 4 stage process – ‘Systems / scenarios / synergies / strategies’.


First we explore the wider and deeper nature of the problem.
Find out more


Second we look at the forces of change and future uncertainty.
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Third we look for visions and shared opportunities between all.
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Finally we turn the visions into pathways for strategy and action.
Find out more

Resources – overview

People on stairs

The synergistic resources will be a structured collection of materials, on the art and science of synergistics, and the pathways ‘from smart to wise’. 

This is ongoing work in progress, with mappings on each of the 40 synergistic pathways

Deeper City is about collective intelligence and the next generation operating systems, local and global. This comes in different forms. There’s a jungle type intelligence for a ‘smart’ city where the ‘winner-takes-all’. And there’s a civilizational intelligence, for a ‘wise’ city, where ‘winners-are-all’. So how to get ‘from smart to wise’?   Deeper City maps out 40 pathways, ranging from cities to economies, technologies, ecologies, politics, insights and the global future.  These are not ‘solutions’, more like more useful ways to ask the questions…