Book Launch!

Here is the recording of the February 8th participatory Zoom session, hosted by Otto Scharmer, where I shared some background of my visual practice, talked about generative scribing, and answered questions from the group.

To learn more about the book, visit this page. To purchase it right away click here. To write a review on Amazon – well, I’ll leave that up to you, and thank you in advance. ūüôā

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Generative Scribing: A Social Art of the 21st Century

Today‚Äôs great challenges call us to (re)arrange our interior dimensions to more adequately meet current, external realities. Working from the inside out, by unpacking my professional experience over the past thirty years, I propose that “generative scribing” is one practice to aid with this larger cultural and personal transition.

Scribing is a visual practice where an artist maps out ideas while people talk and can see the drawing unfold in front of their eyes. The drawing establishes connections within content, aids with insight, and supports decision-making. It’s essentially a language that weaves words and pictures to facilitate group learning and cultural memory.

Generative scribing advances this practice by extending the range of the practitioner to an entire ecosystem and drawing with an attunement to energy. A generative scribe calls particular attention to an emerging reality that is brought to life by, and for, the social field in which it’s created.

This book is for current and future scribes, with an aim to expand the possibility and impact of their efforts.¬†It is for a broader audience, too, for those whose ‚Äúpens‚ÄĚ take shape as kitchen utensils, gardening rakes, community leagues, city planning, national policy-making‚ÄĒyou name it.¬†This is a book for anyone who cares about how we exist together as human beings, for anyone who wants to explore their interior functioning, for anyone who seeks to approach the world anew.

You can order the book here on Amazon. More ordering methods to come.

These figures are from the appendix and correlate with various chapters. Enjoy!

Global Perspective

Last month just outside Hangzhou, I was part of an annual “happening” that brought together over 80 burgeoning and experienced visual practitioners from all over China. I could not keep up with the high volume of social sharing on WeChat, where there were dozens and dozens of amazing videos and photos posted. But here are some of my favorites – representing the spirit of beauty, collaboration, and fun i witnessed.

Here, too, are slides from a brief presentation I gave on scribing. The intent was to set some global and historical context for the gathering and community. I expect a bit of clarification and pushback on my accuracy and interpretation of this practice! Please comment and help flesh out this picture.

Note: As of Dec 12, i have amended the file, based on Matt Taylor’s helpful reminder of prehistoric drawings. I also found an old journal from 1983, when I studied for a few weeks in the Dordogne region of France and saw some of the 15,000 year old cave paintings. Funny, my notes are all text – but it was an art program. (Download a .pdf file here)


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u.lab 2017

From the Edx / MITx / Presencing Institute MOOC u.lab: Leading From the Emerging Future, final digital images originally scribed on 16′ long blackboard during 60-90 minute live, broadcast sessions…

Co-Evolving session, December 14, 2017:

Crystallizing-Prototyping session, November 9, 2017:

Presencing session, October 19, 2017:

Co-Initiation session, September 21, 2017:

And here are the visual reviews for each phase of Theory U, created on an iPadPro with the ProCreate app, Photoshop, and a Bird font.

For all images on this page… please share as you’d like, respecting the creative commons information here¬†and linking back to this page, so others can find the original images. Thanks!

Jay Wright Forrester

Some learning opportunities come along in disguise Рpresenting themselves in one form, yet offering a whole other range of information in another. Such was the case when John Sterman, of the System Dynamics Group at MIT, reached out to work together on a timeline of the life and impact of Jay Wright Forrester. (Click on the image above to zoom in or download the printable file.)

At first, we talked about my redrawing¬†a map that John, Nelson Repenning, and others had sketched¬†on a very large dry-erase wall. It seemed fairly straightforward, and I¬†thought the “job” would be a mere translation from one medium to another. The image would be¬†presented at¬†a symposium honoring Jay, where¬†family, past collaborators, students, colleagues, and fans¬†could see the range and extent of his work over time. ¬†

But as with any model, the more we saw, the more we saw!¬†We ended up going¬†through a few cycles of iteration¬†to¬†double check topics, links, and the people included. And even the¬†current printed 4×8′ version seems like just a mark in time for an artifact that could be repeatedly updated as the¬†boundary of the model – of the timeline –¬†expands.

This leads to the real gift,¬†beyond the¬†creative act of figuring out how to cross as few lines as possible…¬†which was receiving¬†this highly unique window into the life of an extraordinary man – someone who, through invention and unending curiosity, set the course for¬†entire, multiple fields, including ¬†Servomechanisms, Computing¬†(including core memory!) and System Dynamics. His influence can probably be experienced by almost everyone on the planet in some way or another, across¬†dozens of advances¬†including: radar, computers, space exploration,¬†the internet, Limits to Growth, climate policy, k-12 education, automated car technology, among much, much else. I know very little about the specifics – just enough to know that, though ripple effect,¬†one life can make a tremendous¬†difference for ALL¬†life on this planet.

The stories shared at the symposium about Jay,¬†and¬†the numerous ways¬†he profoundly influenced people’s lives, nourished¬†a seed of determination in me to get up, stay open, work with rigor, share, and inquire.

We never really know what continues on after a death. Nature renews. People and their identities come and go. As a species, we evolve Рalbeit in jagged, sometimes accelerated, sometimes stalled advancement. Trial and error and continual learning, as Jay exemplified, all necessary undertakings to keep us forward-bound.


Jay Forrester’s World Dynamics diagram of the WORLD1 model, 1970 –¬†ResearchGate