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Nine Transformative Mindsets

Contributed by
Kelli Rose Pearson

A jumping off point for experimenting with creative methods, transformative imagination, and the development of imaginative leadership

“The survival of civilization and the well-being of humankind in the future will require a dramatic shift in the dominant cultures of global society—a veritable cultural renaissance” ~ Boyden, 2001: 112

These nine transformative mindsets are not a definitive list, but emerged from research by the Re.imaginary Group. They are intended as a jumping off point for experimenting with creative methods, transformative imagination, and the development of imaginative leadership rooted in mindsets for regenerative sustainability.

(1) Regenerative Sustainability

From minimizing harm to generating resilience and vitality for the biosphere and its inhabitants. Mang & Reed 2020, Wahl 2016

(2) Sense of Time

From chronic short-termism, to an expanded ability to think in multiple time-scales, especially incorporating long term perspectives. Macy & Brown 2014, Boylston 2019, Steward 2020

(3) More-than-human Insights

From anthropocentrism to attentively, imaginatively, and ethically including more-than-human perspectives in processes of knowledge co-creation. Abrams 1996, Benyus 1997, Boyd 2017, de La Bellacasa 2017

(4) Place-based

From universalist approaches to ‘emplacement’ - grounded and contextualized and emerging from a relational approach to place-specificity. Massey 2005, Macnamaera 2012, Horlings et al. 2020

(5) Expanded Spheres of Care

Expanded spheres of ethical concern for humans, places, and our ecological selves. de La Bellacasa 2017, Moriggi 2020, Schein 2015, Singer 1981/2011, Haraway 2016

(6) Dynamic Complexity

Limitations of mechanistic mindset for problems solving and knowledge creation; De-essentializing living systems, diversity & queer conviviality. Burns et al. 2015, Holling 2004, Kagan 2011, 2017, Boylston 2019

(7) Uncertainty

From a ‘need-to-know’ model of expertise to comfortability with not knowing; framing sustainability as ‘a search process’ instead of a destination. Arora 2019, Kagan 2017, Clampit et al. 2001, Epstein 2003 Kochhar-Lindgren 2001

(8) Holistic Approach

From abstracted, to embedded (physically, relationally, and semiotically), situated and contextual (often place-based), and interdependent (from compartmentalization to mutuality). Includes a ‘whole-person’ approach to design and facilitation. Avalos Cisneros 2015, Callenbach 2008, Haraway 2016, Fadeeva et al 2010, Thomas et al. 2018.

(9) Intersectionality

The way humans interact with other species and the biosphere with violence and extractive motivations is intertwined with dysfunctions in intra-human dynamics. Maina-Okori et al 2018, Kaijser & Kronsell 2014, Méndez 2018

Pearson, K.R. (2021, forthcoming). Imaginative Leadership: A conceptual frame for the design and facilitation of creative methods and generative engagements

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