The Synergistic Toolkit is designed for working with hyper-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 contains 3 main parts (details on the Overview )

(a) Research tools: for mapping and designing with hyper-complex systems:

(b) Process tools: for real time dialogue with stakeholders

(c) Collaboratorium or ‘multi-versity’ tools, for mobilizing the collective intelligence of a community

Four Stages

The Toolkit helps to understand a complex present, and explore the pathways to opportunities in the future. This cycle, from present to future and back, centres on the process tools and their 4 main stages – ‘Systems / scenarios / synergies / strategies’.

Explore the four stages: –

Practical Guides

Download the Synergistics – a practical guide  (2018 version, updating shortly)

For a short introduction see the Synergistics – overview

Also here are some briefing notes on topical themes with a ‘visual thinking guide’ for practical ways forward –


What is ‘Synergistics’?

We are surrounded by hugely complex inter-connected challenges. Climate change, for example, combines earth science with society, technology, ecology, economics, politics and cultural issues, at global and local levels. How to work with such inter-connected problems?

We use ‘Synergistics’ – practical joined up thinking, for problems / solutions where progress depends on synergy and collective intelligence.


How does it work?

So where to start? With simple drawings or diagrams, on flipcharts or napkins or sticky notes, we can do ‘synergistic mapping’ of people and organizations and systems (‘actors’ and ‘factors’). We use as much detail as needed at each stage, whether technical information or social deliberation. Then we can begin to explore systematically, beyond the normal boundaries and silos:

  • Wider, with synergies of actors, and of factors, (people or organizations or institutions).
  • Deeper, with synergies between different domains and value systems (social, technical, economic, political etc).
  • Further, with synergies emerging, or with potential to emerge.

This further dimension is the key to real progress in turning ‘syndromes’ into ‘synergies’:

  • Mode-I, (‘1.0’), mechanical change and ‘clever’ systems: ‘a city as machine’
  • Mode-II, (‘2.0’), biological evolution and ‘smart’ systems: ‘a city as jungle’
  • Mode-III, (‘3.0’), human co-evolution and ‘wise’ systems: ‘a city as civilization’.

To explore and realize these Mode-III systems, we use a Synergistic Toolkit, in 4-stages:

  • System mapping / co-learning: the baseline syndromes and issues on the table:
  • Change mapping / co-knowledge: the dynamics of change and alternative futures:
  • Synergy mapping / co-creation: design of opportunities, innovations, transformations:
  • Pathway mapping / co-productiondesign of pathways, road-maps, policies, projects:

The Mode-III ‘wise’ ideas combine into a bigger picture of a sustainable and synergistic future.   This follows on the question – ‘what if’ we could organize societies, economies, politics etc, around a ‘wiser’ collective intelligence?

To answer this, we need ways to move from ‘problem’ syndromes (generally in Mode-I or II) to ‘solution’ synergies (generally in Mode-III). So we design ‘synergistic pathways from smart to wise’…