the human experience of agreements

We chose the name for the Institute for Strategic Clarity (ISC) to reflect the integration of our dual interest in strategy and clarity.  Strategy focuses on what is important and how to achieve it.  Clarity focuses on understanding. Strategic clarity, then, focuses on understanding what is important and how to achieve it.
This integration blends the fields of economics, business, and politics with the fields of psychology, sociology, and ethics.  The field that embraces this integration is called ecosynomics.   Since 1993, ISC has developed a set of practical, ecosynomic frameworks for describing the human experience of systems of human agreements - how to map them and how to shift them.  This mapping is called pactoecography, for agreements field mapping.
The practical, ecosynomic frameworks developed at ISC, and field tested in dozens of countries, include:

The term ecosynomics means the principles of collaboration. Ecosynomics provides a theoretical framework for understanding how people relate to the experience of human interactions.  Agreements Evidence Mapping is a framework for mapping that experience, and seeing how to shift it

  • This framework makes it possible to see the often hidden, underlying agreements that most affect the human experience, enabling people to choose the fundamental assumptions they accept, the structures and processes that result from those assumptions, and the behaviors they want to experience in their daily interactions with others
  • Building on what has been learned in the hundreds of billions of human-years lived in five different political-economic systems in the past two centuries, Ecosynomics provides a unified framework for describing what tens of thousands of groups ISC has identified are learning
  • Along the way, we discovered that these groups, many of which we are working with, start from a different initial assumption than economic scarcity.  They start with abundance.  Ecosynomics, the social science of abundance, explains what they are learning and how that changes all of the rules of the game
  • For an example of a group living explicitly with Ecosynomic principles, see this documentary. For more on the Ecosynomics framework, start with this blog post or go directly to Ecosynomics book-course


ISC developed the agreements field equations to describe mathematically the experience of distinct, interrelated dimensions of the agreements field.  The agreements field has to exist, as a unity, because it is one phenomenon, one experience, perceived from different angles or dimensions. The agreements field is the coherence of the capacity to tangibilize the potential energy in a system.   Coherence is when the energy fields are reflecting the same agreements field, the same multi-dimensional field


The agreements field has a specific geometry, which can be expressed with a set of agreements field equations.   The agreements field geometry works for any system, any set of relationships amongst parts that people agree to with each other.  A set of interrelated parts is the definition of a system or a network. The intention of a geometric understanding of the agreements field is to demystify the perceived arbitrariness and embeddedness of agreements we unconsciously accept for everyone everywhere everyday.   The agreements field equations are a geometric synthesis of the set of geometries in the agreements fields in which Homo lumens interacts, reflecting the ecologies of consciousness and nature


The inspiration for the Agreements Field Equations comes from Einstein’s field equations, which use tensors and scalars to integrate and synthesize multiple equations into one field equation.   The Agreements Field Equations describe the fundamental coherence of (wellbeing generated by) an agreements field within a specific set of relationships. The field equations are predictive of:

  1. possible and most probable agreements fields (states), and
  2. how to transform to another coherent state (dynamics)


How does seeing the agreements field help?  Seeing only a behavior, one can only predict either more of the same behavior as the current behavior or a trend of the past and present projected into the future.  One assumes, usually implicitly, that the underlying geometry remains constant. Seeing the underlying geometry provides the multi-dimensional context for the behavior.  From a geometric view, they are not discontinuities in development, rather shifts in the geometry and conditions


To see and engage the potential energy available around and within us and our relationships, we look internally and externally, to our internal experience and awareness and to our external structures of agreements.  The agreements field equations describe these internal and external geometries and how they relate to each other. The external geometries describe the structures and potential energy available to tangibilize impact, and the internal geometries describe the capacity to transform the potential energy into kinetic energy within the external structure.  The internal geometries describe the capacity to see the potential energy that is presenced through cohosting, to trust that the energy exists through experience, and to harmonize the engaged energy through the agreements structure


For more on the Agreements Field equations, start with this white paper

In thousands of conversations and over 4,000 survey responses from 125 countries, people consistently describe their experience of great and awful groups with some form of the vibrancy they experience in groups with greater or lesser levels of harmony

  • People use the Agreements Health Check survey to more clearly see the experience they are having and the one they believe is available to the group
  • People repeatedly report the experience of greater abundance in groups that are more harmonically vibrant and more scarcity in groups that are less harmonically vibrant. These terms come from what people say. The Agreements Health Check Survey describes what people describe in this experience through their relationship to self, other, group, nature, and spirit
  • For more on the Agreements Health Check survey experience, start with the survey results, this radio interview, this blog post, or the book-course

While many groups declare their capacity to achieve large-systems change through systems understanding in collaborative networks, our field research shows that:

  1. people mean many different things by these three terms, and
  2. people have very different capacities to engage these three elements of large-systems change

ISC has developed and tested a diagnostic framework and process for rapidly assessing the degree of a group’s Systems understanding, Collaborative capacity, And Network readiness--a Strategic SCAN


The Strategic SCAN provides a verifiable diagnostic to:

  • Clarify the characteristics that differentiate levels of SCAN approaches in practice
  • Document the SCAN capacities of many groups
  • Understand the relationship between the level of SCAN capacities and a group’s performance, as measured by its impact, resilience, and experience
  • Provide a tested framework that enables funders to distinguish high-performers and high-potential groups and change agents to work with a group at the level of their actual agreements

Explore the Strategic SCAN with these white papers on System understanding, Collaborative capacity and Network readiness

To lead with clarity, you need to know where you want to go and have some sense of how to get there.  In today’s reality, this understanding brings in the complexity of a system of multiple internal and external stakeholders that influences your group, each with their own intentions and outcomes, interacting with each other over time

  • Strategic Clarity is a systems-based, strategic framework that uncovers a group’s shared purpose, the multiple, often-conflicting goals each stakeholder has, the network of resource dynamics that support these multiple goals, the incentives within the systems, identifying the leverage points that can shift the behavior of the whole system
  • Since the late 1990’s when it was initially developed, Strategic Clarity has been applied in over 200 organizations, small and large, in businesses, civil society, government, and global action networks, in dozens of countries

Start your exploration of Strategic Systems Mapping with this article or this book