Jim Ritchie Dunham
What we want to see
Our daily experiences, outcomes, and the impact resilience of our efforts are deeply influenced by a set of deep, underlying agreements that we rarely see and usually accept unconsciously—a vast array of interwoven, socially embedded, economic, political, cultural and social assumptions. If we want more engaging experiences, better outcomes, and more resilient impacts, we need to see these agreements, so that we can choose the ones we want. These agreements are usually hard to see and unknot. We have been developing the Agreements Evidence Map to help.
What the AEMap is
The Agreements Evidence Map (AEMap) provides four classic “lenses” on one experience—questions humanity has asked for many, many years—the economic, political, cultural, and social. The AEMap focuses these four very different lenses on the same experience, highlighting very different aspects of that experience—how much is perceived to be available of what resources, who decides and enforces how those resources are allocated, what criteria are used to decide, and how everyone interacts. The AEMap also distinguishes three “levels” of an experience: the possibility, development, and outcomes levels. The AEMap process maps the “evidence” of the agreements in any given situation, as seen through these four lenses and these three levels.
What the AEMap shows us
When filled with the “evidence” of the agreements in any given situation, the AEMap gives one a deeper sense of what is possible in a specific set of agreements and what is still possible to gain from shifting the agreements. Our research and practice over the past decade, applied in a dozen countries, coupled with survey results from 98 countries, shows that the agreements underlying groups that are disengaging versus engaging, attacking versus cooperative versus collaborative are completely different.
How to read the AEMap
In the AEMap we can also see, which agreements are well codified and in everyone’s awareness (colored green), which are frequently experienced often beacuse of specific people or processes (colored yellow), which are rare (colored red), and which ones have never been experienced (colored white).
By highlighting what agreements are evidenced in one’s experience, the agreements that would lead to a more engaging, more collaborative experience become obvious. You can see many examples here.