Adult Learning

The basis for, or the beliefs underlying, the teaching and learning approaches to adults as learners based on recognition of the adult individual’s autonomy and self-direction, life experiences, readiness to learn and problem orientation to learning; includes their goals, past experience, expectations and the need and ability to control their learning experience.


The quality of integrating multiple sensibilities while maintaining awareness of intention within a particular context responding to a unique combination of interdependent conditions that will enable both flex and flow potential in ‘what is’ to release what is ready to emerge.

Bi-Plot Graphing

A type of exploratory graph used in statistics, a generalization of the simple two-variable scatterplot. A bi-plot allows information on both samples and variables of a data matrix to be displayed graphically. Source

Capacity Building

A process that empowers people to plan for the future, address issues, and manage and solve problems. The development of an organization’s capabilities, leading to greater competence or ability to carry out a function, usually with the aim of achieving self-sufficiency.

Carrying Capacity

Reflects the multiple resources required to carry out, to take action, to meet needs and demands on the system, at whatever scale, from individual to communities and beyond. It is the “scaffolding” to support both the development towards and the sustainability of “adaptive response-abilities”. Without a corresponding investment in the appropriate infrastructure most design efforts are doomed to short-term benefits (at best) with inherent long-term, sustainability short falls.

Chunking Up and Down

A method of taking a dynamic, complicated human experience and either breaking it down into readily understandable frames or expanding it out to include increasing orders of complexity…e.g., let’s look at this situation and how it pertains ‘to you’ personally; then, let’s look at this same situation as it might pertain to a larger group of people interacting together.


A recursive process where two or more people or organizations work together in an intersection of common goals, sharing expertise, decision-making, resources, and learning in ways that individual competition could not produce in comparable quality or quantity.

Complex Adaptive Systems

Relates to dynamic networks of interactions and relationships not aggregations of static entities. They are adaptive in that their individual and collective behaviour changes as a result of experience.


To work or act together, especially for a common purpose, benefit, or outcome.


The arts, customs, and habits that characterize a particular group, society or nation; The beliefs, values, behaviour and material objects that constitute a people’s way of life.


It is a discipline grounded in intention about the interplay of human dynamics, emergence, and intended results that also fosters the potential for new insights, innovation and applied action to enhance capacity for healthy practices and healthy human systems.

Designing Capacity

Refers to the concepts, theories, approaches, practices, methodologies and all the interdependent blending of resources appropriate to responding to any given set of conditions.


Our inherent embeddedness in the living systems that sustains us—the relational interdependencies and exchanges that enhance or inhibit our individual and collective health and well being and that contribute to the synthesis and integration of ongoing systems


In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative levels and of complex systems…by which novel and unexpected structure, pattern or process arises spontaneously in self-organizing systems.

Emotional Intelligence

A system of intelligence that is used to support a person in learning how to self-evaluate and accurately understand his/her own behaviour, how other people perceive them, to recognize how individuals respond to others, to become aware of attitudes, feelings, intents, emotions, and communication styles, and to promote these disclosures of awareness to others. In general, the ability to recognize, understand and control one’s own emotions so as to use them in ways that promote not only personal well-being but also that of others and of society generally.

Ethics & Morals

Although the words can be considered synonyms, there is a distinction:

  • morals are beliefs based on practices or teachings regarding how people conduct themselves in personal relationships and in society,
  • while ethics refers to a set or system of principles, or a philosophy or theory behind them. (Principles, however, is itself a synonym for morals.)

One lives according to one’s morals but adheres to one’s ethics while doing so. Morals are the tools by which one lives, and ethics constitute the manual that codifies them. Source

Holding Capacity

Refers to the inherent mindsets and worldviews held by an individual or a collective that shapes understanding/making meaning of life conditions.  It is the capacity to connect thinking with behaviour ‘to take action’ towards integrated learning and to obtain desired results/outcomes.

Human Development

The latent and evolving potential in human beings for psychological, emotional, and perception changes to occur for the purpose of learning and growth.

Human System

The dynamic interactions of individuals, groups, teams, organizations and communities as they engage with each other – recognizing all these interactions occur within a living system environment, a context – contributing to and being contributed to by enhancing human consciousness


Generally, the process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task; a person is always ‘the leader’ of their own life, the choices they make, the behaviour they choose, the course and direction of their various enterprises domestic and professional.


Acquiring new, or modifying existing, knowledge, behaviours, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Learning is not compulsory, it is contextual. It does not happen all at once, but builds upon and is shaped by what we already know in relation to the demands encountered. To that end, learning may be viewed as a process, rather than a collection of factual and procedural knowledge.

Reflective Practice

A means of developing a greater level of self-awareness about and insight into the nature and impact of one’s actions and interactions as an opportunity for personal and professional growth and development.


Able to be changed in size or configuration to suit changing conditions; Ability to expand and contract quickly to accommodate dynamic changes in demand.

Strategic Engagement

The intentional, structured, and facilitated engagement of individuals across a whole system directed towards a particular collective outcome designed to influence the configuration of regular operations within the dimensions of culture so as to result in improved healthy, sustainable processes and practices allowing for adaptive response-abilities to rapidly changing futures.

Systems Thinking

The process of understanding how things influence one another within a whole. In organizations, systems consist of people, structures, and processes that work together to make an organization healthy or unhealthy. Systems thinking is not one thing but a set of habits or practices within a framework that is based on the belief that the component parts of a system can best be understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems, rather than in isolation. Systems thinking focuses on cyclical rather than linear cause and effect.


A system of classification…e.g., human personality type refers to the psychological classification of different types of individuals. Personality types are sometimes distinguished from personality traits, with the latter embodying a smaller grouping of behavioral tendencies. Types are sometimes said to involve qualitative differences between people, whereas traits might be construed as quantitative differences. Commonly used type indicators in organization development are: MBTI, Firo-B, Print/Enneagram, Keirsey Temperament Sorter, 4-Di, just to name a few.