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 a long term program, taking shape after the 2008 crisis, and now emerging with projects, methods and tools, and the Collaboratorium below.

The source-book for all this is now available as – Deeper City

The materials are shared between this site and Urban-3.0 . Here you will find:

  • an inhouse Collaboratorium – an open lab with projects in progress:
  • Toolkit with practical methods and guidance: and
  • Resources library, with demonstration pathways for many kinds of human problem.

On the Urban-3.0 you will find –

Also there’s an invitation to join the emerging global Collaboratorium on  Urban-3.0 – a forward program with multiple locations, stakeholders, fields, case studies, pilots, experiments and innovations….



This is the ‘home’ Collaboratorium – an experimental zone for a ‘collective intelligence laboratory’. Here the synergistic methods have been developed and tested in a range of projects, large and small, from around the world.  For the global Collaboratorium – see the invitation above –


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


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.
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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.
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People on stairs

The synergistic resources are a structured collection of materials, on the art and science of synergistics.

To start, we put up mappings of the 44 synergistic pathways, from the book ‘DEEPER CITY: collective intelligence and the pathways from smart to wise’.

Deeper City is about collective intelligence and the next operating system, 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 44 pathways, ranging from cities to economies, technologies, ecologies, politics, insights and the global future.