Integral Education


@Michelle What exactly did these “betweeners” do, or get taught (was that the social entrepreneurs)?

@bjbrown That sounds like some really good stuff.


The program was setup in business and entrepreneurship classes, so that was the basic curriculum. I came in as a directed project support person so instead of doing “mock business” projects or internships that are about making coffee and copies, the kids got to run “real world mock projects”. The businesses incorporated a lot of the ideas and we learned a lot about the new needs of the upcoming market…these kids are different.

Working in this direct way we can also meet the emergent needs quicker. The thing I saw was so much education reform is directed at what was wrong with the education of the people who are now reforming. They are responding to their childhood needs not met instead of the needs of the kids today. The other issues is we are trying to find a one system solution,“reform the broken system”. This is where we need integral because reforming the system is not what is needed at all. What we need are multiple systems.

Reestablishing apprenticeship models is a great solution and will meet a certain population perfectly. Integrally, we are pulling back into the system the traditional level. Modern education is great and not broken in the least for those needing that modern path to law, medicine, finance, engineering, etc.

There are a world of people who fall between and they need a integral system. They need self exploration to find their path that may not be so clear cut but in a directed way that isn’t going to bankrupt them or leave them floundering for decades.

Using integral models we can work with this population in an explorative way where we discover the emergent needs of business, non-profits, government agencies, etc and design programs to meet those needs in real time. A collaborative, co-creative work force development program.

I have the state on board, I just needed people and funding:)!!!


Cant the state provide the funding or does it have to grants?


I thought a bit more about the direct question…what was taught? Nothing really, there was no exact “knowledge from on high” that was being imparted to them. Instead I provided a creative space for them to explore.

What was produced was kids engaging themselves with the program. I had kids who loved music writing songs. Kids interested in AR design app ideas. Industrial design projects where they worked with other professors outside the class and when they hit the limitations of the school they reached out to colleges for help. They made movies, designed Snap Chat filters. I had one group design a coffee bus. I had a community garden project. Kids engaging their churches with outreach programs.

They really got into it. It was wild to watch them go from being bored lumps sitting in chairs to electrified designers and collaborators in the space of a semester. I don’t really know what I was “teaching them”:slight_smile:


There is money at the state level, but without help I don’t have the direct knowledge of education to move forward. I think the state money wont be enough and I would have to supplement with grants and corporate support. I don’t think it would be hard to get, but again, I need help doing all of that.

I have a university interested, so it may still move forward. Stalled but not dead yet!


As far a design goes (assuming you had all the funding and support you would need) how would your design be different than what is currently being offered?


Some of this type of questioning is where I need that orange expertise because I am not an educator so I have no idea how to answer that and the process that governments and education goes through for funding is something that requires a language system that I am not interested in learning, I’m too old:) My partner was doing this part, but she has personal stuff that’s making her unavailable.

But this is what’s interesting to me about integral and designing new systems. There is a internal language system in everything, so education and governments have this system of “evidence base” proof of concept stuff to demonstrate what you are doing and how its better and so forth. My field does not. How do you know something is better in design, you feel it.

How did I walk into the Georgia DOE and in one hour walk out with a statewide pilot, I think because they could feel it. That system in my field makes total sense, but my partner was completely thrown off balance by it because its a lot faster to feel difference than prove it. She kept saying “that never happens, you never walk into one meeting with DOE and get a statewide pilot”. She thought this would take a year, it took an hour.

I am applying my design system to education. I think this is what is needed for systemic change, it’s not about reworking systems in the same way with the same processes , it’s about integrating different processes into systems, its a cross pollination of different meaning making systems.

It’s been interesting. It may not go anywhere, but we will see…


What field are you in?


I’m an architect. ////


Maybe the equivalence to evidence based is to make sure your design is structurally sound?


One question that can be considered when trying to innovate is to evaluate the risk in trying. In my profession, if the risk is someone dying, we aren’t legally allowed to do something unproven there, but if the risk is a cracked countertop or a leaky roof, go for it, get innovative. Wild innovative work is built all the time!

Really, what’s the harm with taking one class and going full Frank Gehry with the kids:) Get weird, get wild, you may discover something quite spectacular! I get this is tricky, but I think this is a moment in our history when we need to start taking some risk.


I met yesterday with someone who did a beautifully done program sponsored by the Dalai Lama, very integral. Slow going getting it out there, and I really do know how arrogant and foolish I sound, but I have no fear with sounding foolish and I am self deprecating enough to hopefully counter the arrogant, but I know exactly what they need to do with it. Her interest was piqued and she wants to continue meeting, so who knows…I believe with everything in me the time is now to be bold! Binocular building bold!


I don’t think you sound arrogant and foolish. By all means, ride the wave you are on…