Interest Area: Creative Edge Organizations – Ten First Steps


Core Principles of Creating At The Edge

  • The Creative Edge Organization Method ensures maximum creativity and motivation at every level by encouraging Intuitive Focusing by individuals and Coordinated Collaboration in groups and teams
  • Maximum motivation arises when people are encouraged to create their lives and solutions to problems from their own Creative Edge.
  • When organizational structures lose touch with The Creative Edge of individuals, apathy is created.
  • True change, at any level, from personal to global, happens by engaging The Creative Edge El Borde Creativo of individual human beings. There is no lasting way to impose change from the outside. Lasting change is empowered from the individual entering into collaborative action with other individuals.

The Core Skills of  Focused Listening and  Intuitive Focusing  provide the basic method for individuals, alone, in pairs, or in groups, to access The Creative Edge of thinking and experiencing from which totally new ideas and solutions can arise. They increase creativity and deepen communication and support in any volunteer organization or for-profit corporation.

Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid

The seven methods of Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid insure the application of the Core Skills at every level of organization:

Focusing and Group Decision Making

The fast-paced, argumentative, competitive nature of much group decision making discussion makes it impossible for anyone to pay attention to and speak from The Creative Edge, the right-brain, “intuitive feel” which can contain the newest, freshest, most innovative solutions.  Given the energy expended on simply trying to interrupt and get a turn, participants cannot really listen to the contributions of others. Under Instant “Ahah!” Collaborative Thinking, you’ll find the simple “How To’s” for groups which Dr. McGuire discovered when she undertook research to describe the difference between aggressive, competitive, and “listening” task-oriented groups. More on Focusing and Group Decision Making.

Win/Win Decision-Making

The most creative solutions, either in individual or in group decision-making, arise when the individual or the group is able to sit with polarized oppositions and wait until a newly-created “third way” can arise. We call this a “win/win” decision : instead of a painful compromise where each side really gives up more than they are willing to, and, later, finds reasons not to carry out the decision, a “win/win” decision, a totally new option, really does contain enough aspects from both sides to produce satisfaction, and thus motivation.

Pure consensual decision making can be extremely time-consuming, since no action can be taken until every member agrees to go along with it. The Collaborative Edge Focusing Decision Making (CEDM) method includes the use of Coordinated Collaboration as a method for brainstorming from the bottom/up without having decision-making bog down. More on Win/Win Decision Making.

Bite-sized Projects

The Creative Edge Organization method,  with The One Small Thing component, continually breaks down projects to the level where as many individuals as possible can be actively involved in problem solving and decision-making from The Creative Edge and in carrying out projects.

This gives participants a feeling of “ownership” of the group’s work and also the benefits to community building of working together on a joint goal. Although top/down hierarchical structures can also be used for aspects of the work, The One Small Thing component works from the bottom/up to involve every person actively in action and decision-making where that is possible. More on Bite-Sized Projects. 

See Instant “Ahah!” Empowerment Organization for a Focusing exercise to find “The One Small Thing.”

First Ten Ways to Build Creative Edge Organizations

  1. Download and read Dr. McGuire’s comprehensive article, “Collaborative Edge Focusing Decision Making Method” (“Metodo de Toma de Decisiones del Borde de Colaboracion”) by clicking on the Free Phone Consult icon. At the end of the article, you will find handouts, one for each meeting participant which summarizes the Shared Leadership Roles, and one for each person volunteering for a role, which summarizes the responsibilities for that role.
  2. Join the Creative Edge e-discussion/support group and subscribe to the Instant “Ahah!”s newsletter. Initiating change in organizations is not easy and is unique to each situation, so you may want support and problem solving with others attempting the same, with Dr. McGuire’s input as well. For instance:
    • You might find an ally, or a small group, to learn the Creative Edge Focusing ™ model, and Listening/Focusing skills and methods with you before attempting to bring the model to the larger group membership. Then, you can support each other as well as model and demonstrate the skills to the group.
    • If you are the President or Chairperson of the group, you might simply be able to request that the group try out the Collaborative Edge Focusing Decision Making and other methods. If you are not the President, you might consider approaching the President about trying the model.
    • You might ask for a slot on a meeting agenda for five minutes of uninterrupted time for a presentation on the Creative Edge Focusing ™ model. You could follow that by uninterrupted three-minute turns in a Round-Robin format (you will be modeling no-interruption norm!) for each group member to react to the idea and a decision about next steps/how to proceed – e.g., some members may be interested in joining a training group while others are not ready to do that.
    • Etc.!!! Please let us know, through The Creative Edge e-discussion/support group, what you try, what works for you, problems.
  1. Use your Free Phone Consult with Dr. McGuire to decide how to proceed, given your situation. You might decide to
  1. With consultation and support on how to proceed in your situation, in organizations you belong to:
  1. At that agreed-upon meeting, with the Shared Leadership Roles and non-interruption/turn-taking norms in place and the handouts given out as reminders,  introduce the group to Instant “Ahah!” Empowerment Organization, a first attempt at a Group Focusing exercise on the question “What is the One Small Thing we could do to motivate and engage every individual in the mission of our organization?” After the Group Focusing, use the Round Robin format so each person can share their ideas. Then, the group can return to Collaborative Edge discussion to see if they can reach a decision on One Small Thing to try for motivation and engagement “from the bottom up.” Use Creative Edge Impasse Resolution methods, from the “Collaborative Edge…” article, when needed.
  1. With the group’s agreement, start Listening/Focusing Partnership training according to the Focusing In Community (Focusing en Comunidad)  manual of the Self-Help Package (or training classes internationally or onsite consultation). You will want ten two-hour meetings (or several intensive weekends or a weeklong), starting with  Listening/Focusing Round-Robin practice sessions, then moving to triads with an observer giving feedback and eventually to longer exchanges in pairs as Focusing Partnerships.
  1. Also with the group’s agreement, introduce the idea of the Touchstone Mission, each person’s Creative Edge as it relates to their own personal passion as well as to the mission of the organization.  Have people break into Focusing Partnerships on the question, “What is my personal Touchstone Mission?” At the end of the time (or over more Focusing Partnership sessions if needed), Focusers will try to come up with an image or symbol which can stand for their Touchstone Mission. When the group gathers after the Focusing Partnership turns, participants will share their image or symbol and as much more as they want to say about their Touchstone Mission. They do not have to share anything more than the image or symbol. Participants are encouraged to find a representation of their image or symbol which they can keep on their desk as a reminder of their Touchstone Mission, as well as remembering the image or symbol of other participants.
  1. Join the Creative Edge (CE) Focusing Consultant Training Program if you would like to become certified as a consultant bringing the Creative Edge Focusing ™ model into organizations.
  1. Make a list (or find those which frequently appear in Business Week magazine and other publications) of companies most likely to be open to learning the Creative Edge Focusing ™ model (“Best Companies To Work For,” “Most Innovative Companies,”) and, with the support of the CE Focusing Consultant Collaborative Edge Focusing Decision Making group, approach these companies about training in Creative Edge Organization.
  1. Make a similar list of non-profit organizations which already have teams of trained facilitators going out into global situations (like the Peace Corps and Vista Volunteers, Heifer International, other organizations focusing on sustainable interventions which help small communities or villages to become self-supporting). With the support of the CE Focusing Consultants’ group, approach these organizations about incorporating training in Creative Edge Focusing Pyramid of “human literacy” skills into training for their field workers. Using the Each One Teach One model, field workers can then teach Focusing Partnership, Focusing Groups/Teams/Communities, Interpersonal Focusing, Collaborative Edge Focusing Decision Making, and Creative Edge Organization methods as another part of sustainable living.

Related Articles (PDF files)

Focusing and Group Decision Making
Listening and Interruptions In Task-Oriented Groups


Want to learn more about Focused Listening and Intuitive Focusing?

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These materials are offered purely as self-help skills. In providing them, Dr. McGuire is not engaged in rendering psychological, financial, legal, or other professional services. If expert assistance or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.