Transboundary Forum

Integral Forum Design – Transboundary Forum 2020 (Concept)

We  have entered the time where bridging boundaries and integrating processes is the work at hand,  the place for an evolutionary leap in social and transformational process/technology.  This needs to happen for all manner of conferences, conventions, summits and symposia.

This is very important but not the end of the story.  The larger business of integrating the multitude of conferences and conveners that are not well connected, but should be, for the sake of not duplicating effort, wasting energy and for finding synergy, effectiveness and optimal impact/accomplishment.  This macro integration of conferences over a long period of time I have dubbed….. Integral Forum Design.

Integral Forum Design
This concept takes us to the macro, long term version of the integration/connection of existing conferences leading up to a specially designed “conference of conferences” and supported between events by teleconfernece, video confernece, local meetings, email, on-line social networking and project/team management sites.
  • The Integral Forum Design concept is about intentionally connecting conveners, conferences and other conversations (on-line and in-person) into an on-going, progressive (building over time) and integrated forum that produces breakthrough connections, collaborations, and creative solutions that weren’t going to happen otherwise.  This concept addresses the need to advance the art and science of “convening” and a recognition that innovation is now needed in the connection and integration of convenings and conveners over time.  The current practices and processes for how we “formally” come together to solve our problems is insufficient to the magnitude of the challenges and opportunities we must address for our common good.
  • If we are going to create a better world we have to do a better job at making connections, engaging in healthy conversations and collaborating effectively to meet the challenges and opportunities of this complex, fast changing world.  One place to get to work is to advance the art and science of generative convening, connections, conversations, collaboration and change initiatives.  The  purpose of the Integral Forum Design concept is to look at the connection of multiple conferences and conveners into an innovative and integrated meta-forum that happens over an extended period of time (measured in years for the most part).
  • I/Walt am developing a coalition of  creative people and organizations that will offer this new convening and forum design service.   In this case the “Forum” is not attached to a specific place or a one time event.  The Integral Forum Design concept is instead focused an on-going marketplace of ideas and conversation, formal and informal, face to face and on-line, and conducted through existing gatherings/mediums and through specially designed gatherings and processes.
  • First and foremost  Integral Forum Design is a neutral convener with the sole purpose of providing the conditions necessary for generative connections, conversations, coordination and collaboration.  The Integral Forum Design framework includes:
  1. An integral or whole system perspective for both who is in the conversation and for how we look at the challenges/opportunities.
  2. A future vision and outcomes orientation that keeps us clear about what the desired future looks like in concrete terms and measures.
  3. An appreciation for both formal and informal/self organizing opportunities.
  4. Making essential connections within a specific issue/topic area among people, organizations and projects that need to be made but aren’t.
  5. Making essential connections between issue/topic areas among people, organizations and projects that aren’t being made but must be for a complete and powerful solution.
  6. A process design that fosters generative conversations across the spectrum of dialogue, deliberation, debate and decision making.
  7. Personal and interpersonal capacities for civil and creative conversations will be a key element in the process design.
  8. Purpose. goals and guidelines will be emphasized so that participants are empowered to self and co-generate without needing extraordinary guidance or facilitation and thus fostering greater ownership and sustained engagement.
From NCDD: Integral Forum Design
Intends to Maximize
these Intended Outcomes

Defining our terms is always fun / helpful.

  • Integral: 1) of, pertaining to, or belonging as a part of the whole; constituent or component: integral parts.  2) necessary to the completeness of the whole.  3) consisting or composed of parts that together constitute a whole.  4) entire; complete; whole.
  • Forum: 1) the public square or marketplace of an ancient Roman city or town, where legal and political business was conducted  2) a law court; tribunal  3) an assembly, place, radio program, internet site for the discussion of public matters or current questions 4) an opportunity for open discussion.
  • Design To conceive or fashion in the mind; invent.  To formulate a plan for; devise. To plan out in systematic, usually graphic form. To create or contrive for a particular purpose or effect.  To have as a goal or purpose; intend.   To create or execute in an artistic or highly skilled manner.
The Transboundary Forum
We are formulating a pilot project called the Transboundary Forum 2020, planned to have a 10 year life (continuing if desired) and intended to provide the framework, connectivity, processes and structures needed to connect many conferences into a more aligned and integrated whole.  A Conference of Conferences is being formulated to begin a learning by prototyping process of research and development for and within the framework of the Transboundary Forum.   We are working to make connections among conferences and there convening organizations by offering:
  • Framing, purpose and theme weaving,
  • Cross participation/presentations,
  • Participation in convening a special Conference of Conferences
  • Light facilitation and support of on-going connection and collaboration where the energy is high through
  1. Conference calls, video conferences (and web-meeting supported when appropriate)
  2. Local meetings (where appropriate)
  3. Regular email (and Google Wave when it is out of Beta)
  4. Popular social networking (SN) sites like Facebook and Wiser Earth when that makes sense and/or
  5. Organizational networking and collaboration “Ning” like SN sites like those of the Transpartisan Alliance , World Cafe, or NCDD sites and/or
  6. Project coordination sites/tools such as Basecamp and FMYI for more structured and formal collaborative initiatives and projects.

Walt Roberts is a board member of The Performance Center, a partner of Transformation Systems International, inventor of the Integral Forum Design concept and on the core team of the Transpartisan Alliance. Walt has extensive experience working with groups, institutions and communities that are generating their future together strategically and collaboratively. Walt offers innovative and integrated approaches to the design and orchestration of alliances, coalitions, forums, conferences, keypad polling assisted deliberation and decision making, and generative engagement processes. Walt is based Portland Oregon. Email:

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