The future can’t be predicted, but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being. Systems can’t be controlled, but they can be designed and redesigned. We can’t surge forward with certainty into a world of no surprises, but we can expect surprises and learn from them and even profit from them. We can’t impose our will upon a system. We can listen to what the system tells us, and discover how its properties and our values can work together to bring forth something much better than could ever be produced by our will alone.

Donella Meadows – Dancing with Systems

Moving from Individual to Collective

Our Courageous Conversations are provided for those courageous individuals willing to go on a journey to build their personal understanding and develop coping mechanisms commensurate with the urgency, depth, complexity and importance of societal collapse.

Better communal collapse-preparedness necessarily starts with such courageous individuals, and will spread as these individuals start to lead others by embodying how collapse-acceptance challenged and reframed their personal priorities and directions in service of Gaia.

Transformed courageous individuals are necessary—yet, unfortunately, insufficient—initial catalysts and building blocks of more ecologically-resilient collective ways forward. Alone, they can rarely expand the reach of their individual awareness to influence organisations, let alone collapse-informed communities or whole bioregions that might become better collapse-prepared by anticipating what is required, and collectively agreeing to design it in, in advance.

Just as the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, our polycrisis is greater than the sum of the individual crises… The world of real, relational communities is more complex than the sum of diverse individuals — each with their potentially competing worldviews — that comprise them. So, to make any real difference on the ground will require collapse-aware collectives with unifying objectives and system-aware and system-ethical imperatives. These collectives in turn need sufficient capability and maturity to work together across differences, and the requisite collective intelligence, authority, power and influence (CAPI) to anticipate and design requirements and guide collective agreement to redirect priorities, budgets and resources toward anticipatory design.

Impossible? Perhaps, it would be hubris to suggest we can achieve what others have failed… certainly no small challenge! And yet, we must try; mustn’t we?

Consequently, there are no guarantees, although, if enabled, such initiatives may slow the relative rate of our decline, and might, if at sufficient scale, help soften the falls for more than one affected community or bioregion.

Ultimately, if we are to enable broader systemic changes we will need to build collective collapse awareness in whole bioregional ecosystems of players, with sufficient critical mass and governance coherence to redirect significant program funding (not just project funding) within collectively agreed anticipatory whole system designs. For this we will need whole ecosystems of collapse-aware change-makers, enabled with sufficient resources to conduct and implement whole systems anticipatory design on behalf of all.

The challenges of our times require more than individual responses.

What we really need, while we are still privileged enough to have the opportunity, are systematic processes for facilitating the emergence of system-wide collaborations of willing, informed, ecologically-conscious, collapse-aware contributors! Ideally, these collapse-aware individuals would be ready, willing and able to participate and influence multiple fractal scales, from grass-roots, bottom-up individual organisations and local businesses, to top-down industry or government agencies, and from local projects right up to integrated, bioregional-scale anticipatory whole system design programs… so how do we get there from here?


We help you align your team or community

Our Systems Facilitation & Synthesis offers you support when you decide to take the bold step to move beyond your own individual collapse-awareness and -acceptance, beyond individual actions, toward engaging your team, company, board, project, conference, community, bioregion, continent…

Fragmentation = Wickedness X Social Complexity

Jeff Conklin

With any complex issue we often have to deal with social complexity and fragmentation across multiple worldviews, different levels of awareness, different levels of systemic understanding, knowledge asymmetries and therefore difficulties in reaching agreement … and issues do not come any more complex than this — we are in a predicament.

A predicament is an inextricable, irreversible and complex situation for which there are no solutions, just measures for adapting to it.

Servigne & Stevens

Despite this, many individuals, organizations, groups and communities honestly believe “we’re already solving it” – with one or more approaches, for example, going for Net Zero, practicing Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainability Reporting, undertaking leadership training, Permaculture gardens, trialling Sociocracy,… the list goes on …  yet, as you become collapse-aware you realize…. all of these incremental approaches, while individually laudable and necessary, are insufficient for the transformative changes needed in the time available with the tipping points we’ve already crossed.

This level of complexity and the enormity of our predicament calls for a different level of facilitation.

Some Questions for you…

  • Do you sense that what you are doing as a collective is still not enough…? That it’s necessary, but not sufficient…? Incremental, not transformative…?
  • Does your collapse awareness point beyond your business-as-usual needs toward the urgent need for truly transformative outcomes…? 
  • Do you understand that staying here, where, at least for now, it is still relatively comfortable, actually promotes false coherence around suboptimal actions, and serves no one in the long term…?
  • Does your cognitive dissonance challenge you to wonder what you will do; or what your organisation would do, if you were to acknowledge our common predicament?
  • Are your colleagues, staff, associates, partners, collaborators, governments, insurance regulators collapse-aware, and if not, what then? 
  • Do you realize you cannot do it alone, and wonder, where might you start?

If any of the above, then you’ve reached the point of asking And Now What…?

At this point, you are probably going to need to talk with someone who is collapse-aware enough to share your concerns and empathise with your situation and feelings, not dismiss them.

For personal guidance, you might first consider our collapse-aware Coaching and Mentoring services, or, alternatively, joining a cohort of similarly concerned individuals in one of our Courageous Conversations, where together we explore the outer realities you’re seeing and make sense of their impacts on your inner journey.

If you personally are already collapse-aware, then you might be seeking assistance in bringing your team, your clients, your department or your regional stakeholders up to your level of awareness. Their existing stance might require challenging before you can agree higher-order priorities and directions that better suit a more-aware understanding of emerging system-context.

For this you’ll need a catalytic force of collapse-accepting holistic thinkers. People who understand your personal situation, your imperatives, your ethical dilemmas; people who can intuitively sense your needs, the collective needs of those around you, speak on behalf of the broader system, and hold the disruption long enough to facilitate new patterns of coherence more in alignment with living principles and what Gaia needs.

Our services are designed to hold individuals and the complexity of diverse groups with grace, humour and humility, in a safe-enough space, to enable and guide life-affirming change for you and your group.

We could, for example, help bring everybody onto the same page in terms of understanding collapse by taking them through a version of our Courageous Conversations — tailored for your specific context — to help align around collapse-aware direction and priorities.

Or we could meet with you, personally and confidentially, to discuss your systems requirements; or attend a gathering of your choice to engage, sense-into and facilitate those you bring together.

If this sounds like you, then please consider:


How can we help you do what you know needs to be done?


What could we do together that you know you cannot do alone?

What we know; what we do; and a little of how we work

Business-as-usual denial and complacency is leading us over the precipice.

Collapse awareness challenged us to step forward with moral courage, and we believe that those who are capable of helping transformative change must respond to their ethical duties and act, soon, it will be too late tomorrow.

This is a big ask; and yet we know that there can be no change without disrupting the status quo. This will challenge you. It will challenge your group and community, yet transformation is upon us, whether we are ready or not… so, better to get ready.

Three questions help guide our engagements:

How do we disrupt coherence compassionately?

How do we engage disruptions creatively?

How do we renew coherence wisely?

Peggy Holman, Engaging Emergence

Disrupting coherence compassionately, while facing reality and providing direction, enables deeper and broader dialogues that connect heads, hearts and hands.

Our Systems Facilitation and Synthesis services are designed to hold a safe-enough space for the complex dynamics of diverse groups as their worldviews, assumptions, dreams, and identities are challenged and redirected by their growing awareness of the awful realities of collapse.

Your Role:

Is to invite us to walk in with you to engage your group / team / community

Our Role:

  • Help educate your group to face the realities of collapse
  • Challenge  and disrupt so new patterns might form / evolve.
  • Hold safe-enough space for courageous conversations
  • Facilitate dialogues that reframe priorities, shared decisions and actions
  • Sense and synthesize needs and possibilities in context.
  • Train in content; processes; collective skills.

How does System Facilitation & Synthesis work?

You are a system.  You exist in a set of other systems: family, team, company, organization, sector, industry and so on.  In our work, we honour all the voices in the room and also those in the ecosystems beyond.

Our System Facilitation service provides space, structure and focus to conversations about and for collapse.  In this service, we are responsible for the dialogue process.  You are responsible for the systems content.  By living the questions together without imposing ‘our solution’ we change the Human System Dynamics, arriving at robust conclusions and actions to which everyone is committed – because they make more sense from where you now are.

Our System Synthesis service listens to what’s happening concretely in your world. It senses creatively into what reframed systems would be like — in a larger context.  It dances with the system dynamics to help deepen and renew them.  And more, it helps articulate with deeper and broader coherence. 

Each service has value alone.  Combined they create more informed and wisely framed respectful dialogues. Such dialogues help individuals and groups become more collectively collapse-aware and collapse-accepting as steps to becoming more collapse-prepared.

We lift and align existing gifts and talents so your people can better meet the existential challenges of our times with more purposeful and meaningful contributions to society.

Our collapse-aware services operate at fractal levels; individual, group, networks, networks of networks, and Whole Systems Design Alliances synergizing to design whole bioregions. 

If you’d like to discuss tailoring our service to your circumstances contact Neil

Testimonial – Kylie Stedman Gomes

Kylie Stedman Gomes

“I first met Neil last year (2018), not long after I started weaving a social systems change network. Twenty seconds into our first conversation, that meeting felt like an inevitability: Different as we may seem on the surface, there’s no question that we belong to the same tribes and share the same love of and affinity for complex living systems. Since then, I’ve observed Neil’s interactions — both with me and with others — with ever-increasing appreciation, respect and wonder. 

Neil is the most aware, insightful, supportive and multi-perspectival Listener I have ever had the pleasure of talking to. He draws out, accepts, embraces and holds complexity, rather than pushing it away or trying to prematurely break it into pieces or otherwise control it. And he hears people in their voice, at their rhythm and in their colours and textures and tones, and reflects back to them the underlying meaning and intent of their communication, often amplifying the essence of what they sought to express far beyond the limits of the words they themselves knew to use. In the context of our overwhelming and overwhelmed fragmented modern world, the word “listening” is utterly inadequate to describe what he does. 

This gift Neil brings to the world is extraordinary, and rare enough that I’m struggling to find the words to describe it. Perhaps one day the English language will have a suitably rich label for this harmonizing and supporting and dancing and empathizing and reflecting and generating “thing” he does. In the meantime, perhaps “keynote listening” is the best we can do.”

Kylie Stedman-Gomes, 2019, Presence of Mine