Ecocycle – quick reference card
This is a quick reference for the ecocycle pattern, with a bias showing the difference between the maturity to the other 3. What matters is :
- the understanding of the different mindsets associated with the 4 quadrants, and
- the awareness of the potential traps when switching quadrants along the cycle.
The ecocycle is formed by the two loops
The growth loop, or front loop
This is where we like to be, because things develop, and seems to get better and bigger
The renewal loop, or back loop
When things have reached their maturity, and do not grow any more, another cycle gets prepared via the renewal part. It is time to move to another thing.
Together they form the Ecocycle.
For one tree :
- the geminating seed
- the young plant
- the mature tree (spawn seeds)
- the burnt tree
For a forest :
- the geminating seeds ( in the ground, fertilized by the previously release nutriments)
- the sparse trees and plants
- the mature trees (very dense canopies prevent younger trees to grow)
- the burnt forests. (forest fire that release the nutriments)
For an economic endeavor:
- Networker (inception / renewal)
- Entrepreneur (Birth – Growth )
- Manager Maturity, up to Conservation
- Heretic (Creative destruction )
The four quadrants
Here are the difference names of the four quadrants, as found in the literature :
|Renewal – Exploration – Creativity – Network – Alpha||Maturity – Conservation – K|
|Birth – Development – Entrepreneur – r||Destruction – Release- Vision – Chaotic- Omega|
The transition between these quadrants / phase are « guarded » » by « traps », named in literature as :
|Scarcity – Poverty||Rigidity|
Mindset in the Quadrants
A mindset of an organisation can be defined by its:
- Leadership Style & Group Culture
- Structure & Process
- Activities & Products
This is the mindset in the maturity quadrant:
|PURPOSE||To conserve a pattern of working together on proven ideas that are efficient|
|LEADERSHIP STYLE & GROUP CULTURE||Management, risk‐ sensitive and productivity oriented.|
|MEMBERS||Few highly specialised, regularly participating members.|
|STRUCTURE & PROCESS||Hierarchical structure, standardization, institutionalized roles and procedures.|
|ACTIVITIES & PRODUCTS||Preparing, monitoring and adjusting detailed workplans. Performance measurement.|
These are the three other mindset . Appreciate the difference.
|PURPOSE||To dismantle pattern of working together on non longer productive ideas to clear the way for new vision, relationships and directions to emerge||To expand the number of innovative ideas for achieving the transformation in a way that improves the conditions for their successful development.||To develop a pattern of working together that turns promising ideas into effective strategies .|
|LEADERSHIP STYLE & GROUP CULTURE||Charismatic, visionary and values‐based.||Creative, inclusive and mission‐driven.||Entrepreneurial, adaptive and outcome driven.|
|MEMBERS||Smaller number of core members, relational.||Large, diverse, often unusual mix of participants, with stable core group.||Smaller number & variety of members focused on particular areas of work.|
|STRUCTURE & PROCESS||Informal, loosely connected, flat, eclectic and sporadic connections.||Informal, time limited, overlapping, loose task groups and teams. Multiple layers of participation||Tasks, roles and relationships become explicit. Patterns emerge for process and structure.|
|ACTIVITIES & PRODUCTS||Reflective learning. Scanning of trends. Relationship building with Stakeholders. Visioning.||Community conversations. Idea generation. Best practice research. Experiments. Simulations. Planning. Developmental Evaluation.||Pilot projects & prototypes. Adaptive planning. Begins with formative evaluation, ends with summative evaluation.|
The four traps
There are identified traps that prevent switching from one quadrant to the next:
|RIGIDITY||The group is unable or unwilling to change or dismantle an approach that no longer fits the evolving context in which they operate.||Psyche of immediate return. Fear of uncertainty. Self‐Interest. Lack of clear exit rules. Concern about perception of failure. Pressure to continue by entrenched constituency (e.g. ‘too big to fail’).|
|CHRONIC DISASTER||The participants find themselves ‘spinning’ and unable to get traction on a compelelling new vision and set of values for achieving the transformation .||Inability to let go of the past. Weak trust amongst members.Difficulty in agreeing on shared vision and values. Volatile environment. »|
|SCARCITY – POVERTY||The group struggles to ‘birth’ something likely to lead to outcomes and garners the support of the larger community.||The ideas are not compelling. Underdeveloped decision‐making process & criteria. Members disagree on which options to pursue. Members have insuficient credibility. energy spread too thin across many directions|
|PARASITIC||The group seem unable to sustain or grow their work because it is ‘parasitic’ on the host(s) that gave it birth.||Over reliance on key – often founding – members of the group. Dependence on start‐up pool of ressources. works well only at a certain scale or in a unique context|
Tags: #ecocycle, #transformation
- the original paper
[#hurst_life_1994]: Hurst, David K., and Brenda J. Zimmerman. 1994. “From Life Cycle to Ecocycle: A New Perspective on the Growth, Maturity, Destruction, and Renewal of Complex Systems.” Journal of Management Inquiry 3 (4):339–54. https://doi.org/10.1177/105649269434008.
[#hurst_crisis_1995]: Hurst, David K. 1995. Crisis & Renewal: Meeting the Challenge of Organizational Change. The Management of Innovation and Change Series. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business School Press.
- [#phases_of_collaboration.pdf]: “Phases_of_collaboration.Pdf.” n.d. Accessed March 19, 2018. http://vibrantcanada.ca/files/phases_of_collaboration.pdf.
- the derived Liberating structure
[#lipmanowicz_liberating_]: Lipmanowicz, Keith McCandless, Henri. n.d. “Liberating Structures – 31. Ecocycle Planning.” Accessed May 9, 2018. http://www.liberatingstructures.com/31-ecocycle-planning/.
[#hurst_new_2012]: Hurst, David. 2012. The New Ecology of Leadership: Business Mastery in a Chaotic World. New York: Columbia University Press.