The Holonomics Approach – Regenerative Organisations, Experiences and Technologies

In 2011 Maria and I set out to construct our approach to organisational transformation by pooling together our collective decades of experience in strategy, change management, human values, innovation, business development and customer experience design.

Our starting point was how to explain to business leaders the need to understand wholeness within organisations and economics. In order to do so, we drew upon a rich heritage of philosophy, psychology, complexity theory and the insights from the Human Values in Education programme resulting in the Holonomics approach, a new conception of transformation which we introduced in Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter.

The key premise of Holonomics is that significant transformation cannot be achieved without the practice of human values and an expansion of consciousness. Without these two factors present, any form of regenerative life-enhancing transformation will still be operating from an existing mindset, no matter what language or vocabulary is being used. But when leaders do undertake to really understand the Holonomics approach, they quite literally experience a new way of seeing and being in the world, and this is when the desired transformation takes place.

External transformation never happens without internal transformation first.

The reception to Holonomics was quite phenomenal, taking us to many interesting places and introducing us to many wonderful new friends. In the same year that it was published, Maria and founded our consultancy, Holonomics, which had as its aim the desire to help leadership teams put the Holonomics approach into practice in their organisations.

Although we ourselves were working with the philosophical foundations of the Holonomics approach when designing transformation programmes, customer experiences and employee engagement interventions, we knew we had to do more to help those who did not have access to us in consultancy projects.

The next evolutionary step came to us when we realised that we could capture the design dimension of the Holonomics approach within a framework which we call the Holonomic Circle.

The Holonomic Circle: Simon Robinson and Maria Moraes Robinson (2017) Customer Experiences with Soul

While in this period the notion of purpose was becoming more central to both brands and leadership teams, we identified authenticity at the heart of all that we were doing.

Transformational leadership is that which is expressed when what a person or organisation does, says and means are all fully aligned. When there is a lack of alignment, no matter how much it attempted to be hidden, people will perceive it, and respond not to the words spoken but to the actions of those in leadership positions. It is only when authenticity is achieved that leaders can then fully commit to meaningful transformation.

While the Holonomic circle acts as a facilitating guide to any form of creative design endeavour, we chose to show how the principles contained within it could help organisations not just develop great customer experiences, but customer experiences with soul.

We subtitled our new book A New Era in Design as this was the first time that universal human values, the transition of consciousness and a phenomenological approach to wholeness within experience had been applied to customer experience design.

It has to be said that certain insights of the book were written based on Maria and my often less than satisfactory experiences of regenerative and sustainability workshops and encounters. Just because a product, service or experience is based on regenerative principles does not automatically mean that the experience will be great and customers or guests will be treated with the respect and quality they deserve.

Customer experience is not opposed to regenerative practices and some people have attempted to claim, and neither is strategy, business model, value proposition or other management concepts. The problem comes when those offering the products, services and experiences do not operate from a place of authenticity, empathy with others and with universal human values.

Two core insights which we mention in Customer Experiences with Soul are that we define sustainability as “the quality of our relationships” and that the New 4Ps are now platforms, purpose, people and planet. We have shared these two leading premises with many senior leadership teams as a way to introduce the Holonomics approach without the need to first establish the philosophical foundations, something that the most senior business leaders simply do not have the time to commit to understanding.

As we approached 2020 with technology reaching ever higher levels of sophistication, we could see the need to show people how the Holonomics approach applied to platform design, business model innovation, the digital economy and our agile strategy methodology. We wanted to show how advanced technology was not enough to instigate transformation, technology and our approach to it needed to be deep.

To do so, we teamed up with Igor Couto, platform architect and CEO of 1Ti to write Deep Tech and the Amplified Organisation, which was published in 2021.

We constructed our approach to Deep Tech design through the four pillars of deep impact, deep thinking, deep talent and deep collaboration, three design movements of elevation, scaling and amplification, and the New 4Ps of platforms, purpose, people and planet.

In order to facilitate both cultural and digital transformation within organisations, we wanted to show how leaders need to take a systemic approach to strategy, experience design and engagement, as well as developing platform vision, the understanding of the interrelationship between the understand the logic of the digital economy and platform architectures.

The Amplified Organisation Blueprint ©2021 Simon Robinson, Igor Couto and Maria Moraes Robinson

The result was the amplified organisation blueprint, a visual and systemic framework which aligns and integrates platform capabilities, digital systems and data analytics with an organisation’s strategy, value proposition and digital operating model. The result is a transdisciplinary approach to Deep Tech that enables organisations to become genuinely future-fit.

So as we now enter the new era of Deep Tech, our invitation to leaders, changemakers and designers is to explore how our Holonomics approach which we present in this trilogy can help open their organisations to the ways in which they can contribute to prosperous and flourishing economic systems and amplify their positive impact across business ecosystems, society and our planet.

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