heartfelt, caring explorations of the unprecedented systems change we are living through
Our ways of being need different ways of relating and perceving
You. And me. And everybody else, too.
Shifting the perception to interdependence and to what connects us in many different ways.
Curiosity, integrity, interbeing
We need another kind of information
The way we look at systems up to now is mostly by decontextualizing them. But the data that we put into excel sheets and databanks is stripped of contextual information, of warmth, of information about the interdependencies of these very systems we are looking at and we’re part of. What happens then is that we externalize all sorts of things we don’t understand about the system, or don’t even see, whilst pretending the system we’re looking at is doing fine.
If we want to get anywhere near a healthy planet for all living beings, we need another kind of information and another process of in-forming ourselves.
“Polarization and conflict is a sign of not enough context.”
– Nora Bateson
How much complexity are we allowing into our processes? Life is messy and beyond our control. It is full of paradoxes and inconsistencies. All the bits are changing all the time. How can we deal with this? How can we not be completely overwhelmed when we learn that we need multiple descriptions and different tonalities? Perceiving and moving within Warm Data is a practice that is fundamentally different from conventional practices. It is deeply personal and intimate. And it leads to unprecedented possibilities.
In every second we are inhabiting multiple contexts. While I write this, I hear the sound of cars outside, I’m on Zoom with a colleague and frænd, I have two monitors to work with ease and I wonder whether my kids are sleeping well. At least Economy, Family, Technology and Health contexts are overlapping. So, to “de-silo” we need to communicate within overlapping contexts. We need to contextualize ourselves within the larger systems again. We are not seperatable from all these contexts.
From there we start to perceive interdependencies.
the liminal space
Interdependencies point towards relations. When we relate to relations and relationships more than to things we start to perceive and therefor to act in a fundamentally different way. We start to look for the “patterns that connect” (Gregory Bateson) and perceive processes rather than the Status Quo. We become more curious and less scripted. We move from a linear functional perspective to adding contexts and perspectives. We become an understanding part of the bigger picture.
From decontextualizing to contextualizing, from scripted roles to our experience of being human amongst other living species.
Nora Bateson, Filmmaker, Complexity and Systems Thinker, Mother, Artist, Poet, Daughter of Gregory Bateson (“Towards an ecology of Mind”) and wonderful teacher coined the term “Warm Data” in 2017. In a process that took years she crafted “Warm Data Labs” and since the COVID-19 crisis sent us into lockdowns also an online warm data process “People need People online“. In these seemingly easy processes lies an enormous amount of love, care, integrity and decades of complexity science.
We are four certified Warm Data hosts at Frændi and as those very thankful for being able to bring this into the world together and to be part of a global community of Warm Data practitioners.
Thinking in terms of ‘applying’ the Warm Data Lab methodology is already de-contextualising the richness of the experience of a Warm Data Lab or People need People online process. The Lab itself is not an ‘app’, which can be be ‘applied’. It is rather a process which can be experienced. As a human being among other human beings. Not in your professional role, and certainly not with a fixed goal in mind. Because people need people to build relationships, which build relationships, which build relationships.
There are however certain contexts within which the Warm Data Lab and its online sister People Need People can be specifically beneficial. Below a few of these examples:
Everywhere where we need to make decisions, it is important to craft these with care for the larger living systems we are part of in mind. Too often leaders are unaware how they and the organisations they are part of contribute to these larger living systems. Warm Data Labs and People need People online sessions help us perceive and relate to these larger living systems and to ourselves as part of these. Decision making then includes the multiple perspectives and brings in care.
It is state of the art to come up with a multi-stakeholder approach. Still, what does it mean, to really see and perceive the very personal perspective of the other? How do we relate to these different descriptions of the world we’re in? Are we aware that the larger living systems are stakeholders of our undertaking? Weaving Warm Data Labs and People need People Sessions into our multi-stakeholder dialogues changes the tonality of the dialogue and opens it up for the personal and intimate juicyness we need to hear to be able to relate to the larger living systems.
Bringing the tonality of care into conferences
Our usual ways of gathering and convening are full of suits and ties that bind us to our professional roles and produce the regular scripts. Do we bring the father, mother, sister, brother we are to our work contexts, do we bring the poem we read last night that brought us to tears? Why don’t we? Warm Data Labs and People need People online sessions in preparation to the conferences allow us to fully show up as the complex beings we are, enriching the soil we convene on. From there we move to considering the larger living systems we’re part of.
It’s not about the next program brought to the community from the outside. It’s about the connective tissue, the relations between the people, the tonality in which we relate to each other. Warm Data Labs and online People need People Sessions open the doors for richer communication, deeper relating, warmer togetherness. We understand that it’s these relations that make the community thrive.
“Participating in the Warm Data sessions was a lifeline during what felt like a global unravelling that began with the pandemic. The generous, often courageous and always gentle hosting served to invite a group of strangers to make unusual contact with complexity in ourselves and between seemingly familiar contexts in our world. That such a permanent widening and deepening of perception could be initiated virtually (online) is testament to a process without conscious purpose other than to welcome Warm Data.”
“I was surprised by the simplicity and beauty of the People need People process. It was light & deep, confusing & enlightening. Through the process, I gained more calm with the complexity of the COVID-19 situation, while also taking several AHA Moments home for my personal journey. The team invited and held this space with competence and warmth. In the more and more transparent complexity of our world are process like this needed more than ever to make sense of it all, to enable us to hold the paradoxes, to sit with the hard stuff and to navigate it all with light hearts and smiles on our faces.”
Bring it on!
Share your questions with us and become a frænd. We’re all in this together. Let’s see how we can serve the soil together.