The Generative Social Fields Initiative is a collective effort to deepen our understanding of the relational spaces in which we all live and how shifts in these spaces can lead to the transformation of individuals, families, and organizations.
While the attempts to understand generative social fields have a long history, a more recent effort began with the publication of School Climate and Social Fields: An Initial Exploration by Dr. Mette Boell and Dr. Peter Senge in Spring 2016. Subsequently, a group of fifteen researchers and practitioners came together at the Garrison Institute to plan initial prototypes and have been working for some time in small teams to investigate different entry points into recognizing, understanding and shaping more generative social fields.
To ensure a diverse sample, the prototype sites included projects at the classroom, school, and organizational levels, including the International School of Indiana, the California Department of Education’s Expanded Learning Division and AtentaMente, a Mexican nonprofit working to bring cognitive, affective and behavioral skills to foster well-being amongst teachers.
These efforts culminated in a gathering co-convened by Peter Senge, Diana Chapman Walsh, Mette Boell, Otto Scharmer and Dan Siegel in October 2018. More than 80 participants from more than 15 different countries working in diverse spaces such as academia, philanthropy, non-profits, and education came together to collectively begin a larger conversation on how and what research and practice in generative social fields can look like.
The next steps for this work are emerging as researchers and practitioners from the gathering are now launching new efforts around the world to deepen our understanding of generative social fields.
Two such events held in 2019 include the Social Field Research Summer School hosted by the Presencing Institute and the “Cultivating Generative Social Fields and Systems Change” workshop by the Lifespan Learning Institute.