Share |


Mouse-over links
to view options

Shared Purpose Home Page

Email address *
Password *
I agree to treat all participants with respect *
Remember me?
Recover your password


Appreciative Interviews


Draft - Jan/Feb 2012

"We've lost our ability to act collectively, and all our problems require collective action."

The Evolve Santa Barbara project intends to develop a community town hall framework that can organize and release the collective intelligence of our community, in ways that enhance our community life and open unforeseen possibilities and new ways to act together.

Evolve Santa Barbara will

  1. Convene a holistic community conference process that brings together all groups and demographic sectors within our region.

  2. Develop an interview and inquiry process that can assess and inventory community assets and concerns, in a way that supports collaborative problem-solving.

  3. Develop and promote a quarterly community event that enables people from all sectors to interact and work together in person.

  4. Support and organize this process in a sustained way through the internet.

  5. Support collective actions that emerge from this town hall process.

Video on "Civic Evolution" by Brian Sullivan:


This exciting new project is in formation. We are establishing a framework for contacting all sectors of our regional community, with the objective of building a shared understanding, improving cooperation, and empowering and vitalizing our local economy.

Thanks for being here!

Comprehensive inclusive grassroots community networks

Unleashing the co-creative genius of community

SYNCON: SYNergistic CONvergence


The word SYNCON stands for SYNergistic CONvergence. The purpose of SYNCON was to bring together conflicting groups and individuals to identify common goals and to match needs and resources, in light of the broadest horizon of choices and the new potentials of humanity at the growing edge of the sciences and psychologies.

SYNCON took place in wheel shaped environments often built in university gymnasiums or similar large venues. The very structure symbolized synergy and the whole, rather than domination, division, and separation. The circular configuration of the Wheel was then divided into pie-like slices, each representing basic social functions such as Environment, Health, Economics, Social Needs, Education, Governance. (The sectors changed according to the purpose and community in which the SYNCON occurred.)

At the Growing Edge of the Wheel were taskforces in biological science, physical science, space sciences, communications, and the psychologies of growth. Surrounding the whole system, symbolically, were the Arts. Poets, playwrights, and artists of all kinds were invited to assist people in seeing their struggle as a whole. At the center of the SYNCON Wheel was a Coordinating Hub whose function was to help match needs and resources. Coordinators were there to serve the synergy among the parts. Facilitators helped every sector to discuss their goals, needs, and resources. We tried to have at least one ‘expert’ in every sector, simply to give the basic facts of the situation.

People of all positions were invited into the SYNCON Wheel with the question: “Is there a better way for you to achieve your goals than the way you are now using?”

Everyone entered as an individual, not as a representative of some organization. Task forces formed around functions, not issues, and all basic functions of the community were included. The participants included the widest possible diversity of people in the community; the arts were used as an integral part of the process to see ourselves as a whole; and the SYNCON became a microcosm of that whole.

Each task force would first seek common goals. What do you need to achieve those goals? What resources do you have to offer others?

There were visits and emissaries from various sectors. Then, corollary, but conflicting functional areas merged, such as business and environment, widening the search for common goals and matching needs and resources. The growing edge task forces communicated the remarkable new potentials now available – new energies, new resources, new possibilities for health, education, communication, etc. It was soon seen that when we apply our new capacities combined with synergistic process, there were new solutions to every problem people were facing.

Becoming whole

Invariably, unexpected synergies were discovered. Some people had needs, others had resources. The dynamics changed from oppositional leadership to leadership in cooperation and connectivity. Synergy provides the extra energy that makes the whole greater than the sum of its parts. It overcomes scarcity through creativity and connectivity. There was also a mysterious element to the SYNCONS. Astronaut Edgar Mitchell said that if we had had a spiritual Geiger counter, it would have gone “off the charts.” The coming together of separate and antagonistic people in a new whole, where each felt they were receiving more of what they wanted than before, created what was experienced as a new form of “social love.” Perhaps that is what synergy really means at the human level.

The root of the word religion is religare, to bind back and make whole. Without mentioning the word religion, participants found themselves being drawn together by a spiritual force that overcame their sense of separation from each other. The same invisible universal power that connects atom with atom and cell with cell, that weaves together the spiral galaxies, that births new stars by the billions and nurtures the fabulous ecologies of planet Earth, was at work. The walls were taken down and Spirit did the work.

Our objective now

Our objective is to take the SYNCON model created and utilized in the 1970s and marry it with the amazing technologies currently available. We envision participation by large numbers of stakeholders in communities across the country, determining and matching needs and resources in each community, generating maximum benefit for all the citizens of that community.

Each SYNCON event would be invited to identify “stewards” for every sector of the Wheel. These individuals would communicate into an updated on-line SYNCON Communication System (previously called the Peace Room or Synergy Center ) the information generated by that SYNCON, along with projects that are working in that community. In this way each SYNCON would be of benefit to all other SYNCONs.

Eventually our vision is that involved citizens might be able to develop a platform for a positive future based on what the American people want to create, that could be offered to candidates at various levels from all parties, thus launching an evolutionary political movement that is neither left nor right, but forward, upward and whole.

As we begin this initiative, we also hope that the SYNCON and the Peace Room processes will be useful for passing legislation for a Department of Peace, advocated by Congressman Dennis Kucinich and others, sorely needed as a focus to connect and align our burgeoning initiatives in this direction. To a Department of Peace, these processes then offer the vision and tools of "peace through cocreation", encouraging individual and collective creativity in environments that value wholeness, cooperation, and synergy. In such contexts it is possible to BE the change we wish to see in the world, to work together consciously to evolve, and to manifest true peace, prosperity, and justice.

The time for social synergy is here!