Embodied practices for teams

Related frameworks and models

Other frameworks and models linked to embodied intelligence and transformative learning and leadership.
Abstract illustration for embodied intelligence toolbox by Anna Muchenikova.
Chaordic Path by Art of Hosting Community. Graphic design: Anna Muchenikova

The Iceberg Model

Icebergs are infamous for being much bigger underneath the water than what is seen over its surface. Transformative action and systems change require more than what we can see.

Therefore, the iceberg is an often used metaphor to help us notice and work on the deeper structural blind spots and barriers of systems change.

Iceberg framework infograph for embodied intelligence toolbox by Anna Muchenikova.
Transformative change requires seeing and sensing what's hidden, and acting upon it. Graphic design: Anna Muchenikova
Infograph based on the iceberg model for embodied intelligence toolbox. Design: Anna Muchenikova.
Maria Joutsenvirta's adaptation of the iceberg model. Graphic design: Anna Muchenikova

Maria Joutsenvirta’s adaptation of the model illustrates that knowledge and intelligence are currently strongly associated with our reason. There is a tendency to seek certainty in things through rational reasoning. By doing so, we use only part of the intelligence that is built into us. A more holistic understanding of things is created when our reason is enriched by experiential, emotional and intuitive intelligence.

Such multifaceted - or embodied - intelligence is crucial for transformative change, learning and leadership.

The path between chaos and order

To experiment with transformative ways of learning and creating we need new spaces, both physical, virtual and conversational. Building a space like this usually requires a team of hosts who put effort into creating a hospitable and safe space.

The challenge of transformative action is to enable liveliness and positive flow in the diverse group or community. This kind of flow is created on the interface of chaos and order.

Chaordic path infograph for embodied intelligence toolbox by Anna Muchenikova.
Radical creativity, transformative learning and new meanings emerge in the living flow of chaos and order. Content Maria Joutsenvirta, adapted from Chaordic Path by Art of Hosting Community. Graphic design: Anna Muchenikova

If too much freedom is allowed, we end up in chamos, spaceof complete disorder and confusion. If the leadership relies too much on control,people freeze and are unable to adapt to change. The outcome is more of the same.

Creativity does not flourish at either extreme. A team, organisation or community must learn to navigate in the living flow of chaos and order. We need to develop our confidence to stay in this space that allows newness, collective intelligence and wise action to occur.

Inner Development Goals

Inner Development Goals (IDG) is a non-profit initiative that is working to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through inner development. It is an open-source framework that presents 23 transformational skills and inner qualities that individuals need to contribute to a sustainable world.

Inner Development Goals framework

The framework includes a toolkit with a library of scientifically-validated methods to develop the skills outlined by the IDG framework.

Many organisations and institutions have recognised the need for cultivating inner capacities as part transformation aims. See for example

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report on inner capacities as a crucial complementary approach to activate food systems transformation

European Parliament report on SDGs (see section 50)

Re-thinking Bildung

The education sector’s social significance grows during transition periods. Universities possess an important Bildung role for the whole society.

Bildung is a complex phenomenon and concept that has deep roots in European thinking and education. It has many definitions, and one of the newer ones is:

“Bildung is an individual maturing process connecting education, upbringing, knowledge, culture, and personal responsibilities towards humans and our globe.” –  EAEA

Today’s challenges endanger the survival of humans and other species. We have reached, and partly exceeded, planetary boundaries as we have acted upon the presumption of human supremacy, perceiving humans separate from nature.

We are at the point where we need to re-think how society works as it moves from consumerist lifestyles towards more sustainable, meaningful lives that don't only add the wellbeing of humans, but also more-than-human nature.

The concept of Ecosocial Bildung or Planetary Bildung expands the sphere of human care and takes the transformative aspects of wellbeing and progress into account. Our relationship with the world deepens and widens as we withdraw from the sense of separateness, recognize our own place in the world, and connect to our own uniqueness to build the common good.

See also

Abstract illustration for embodied intelligence toolbox by Anna Muchenikova.

Theory U, Social Presencing Theater and Embodied Intelligence

Transformative learning framework and a methodology for systemic change, and practices to facilitate the process.

Embodied practices for teams
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