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 emerging art and science of synergistics is a long term program, now taking shape in the midst of 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 engage with the Conversations and projects / Co-productions.

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

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

  • the Conversations   – ongoing program of open debates, with learning and 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 –

  • synopses & samples from  The Book
  • Pandemic 3.0 and the Mind Games – lateral thinking on turning crisis into transformation
  • background on the concepts and applications of  Synergistics
  • deeper and wider insights from  Visual Thinking

Also here are various materials….


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


Conversations – overview

The Synergistic Conversations are open debates in a program of collective learning, thinking, co-creation and co-production. We work by dialogue and deliberation and creative visualization, using the synergistic toolkit as a guide.  Each event

Each event is a kind of Mind-lab / Synergy-lab, each with an international panel, and using interactive visual tools.

The events are online until 2021, then hopefully moving to ‘blended’ combinations of online / on-site: there are some advantages with online, e.g. lower carbon / easier participation, compared to onsite).

People are invited to join these events as they come up, on the registration links on the next page.  For comments or queries, please contact joe.ravetz@manchester.ac.uk – or visit the form on http://www.urban3.net

See the next page Conversations/ for the events as they emerge…

Each of 6 key themes is creating an emerging ‘collective book-form’ – an online networked book / platform, with

multiple co-authors – to better reflect and mobilize the collective intelligence of the community.

And the new extendable whiteboards began to emerge, as an ideal medium for visual synergistic thinking, to support the collective book-forms and ‘collaboratoriums’ of the future (i.e. laboratory for ‘collective collaborative intelligence’). 

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.
Find out more


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…