Humanity is at a fork in the road.
In one direction: struggle, division and despair.
In the other: wisdom, compassion and thriving.
This is your invitation onto that second path.
The Age of Thrivability is a promising new era that awaits us, if only enough of us choose to align with life actively and intentionally in our work and in our communities.
The journey into thrivability requires a shift in both perspective and practice. The good news is: there are plenty of signposts pointing the way — and there are even more pioneers blazing a trail, with approaches that are both more joyful and more effective.
Here you’ll find a sampling of resources in different formats, each providing an introduction to the journey.
I’m hearing people say: this moment is a battle between good and evil. If that’s true, then we are powerless. Good and evil are forces far bigger than us, far beyond our control. We just have to keep our heads down and hope good will prevail. This perspective is paralyzing, terrifying. BUT if we recognize The post You have a role to play first appeared on Michelle Holliday.
In a surprising turn of events, I find myself packing my bags for an accidental, month-long European tour. What is perhaps even more fascinating is that my itinerary has come together as an unintentional journey through Berkana’s Two Loops model, a compelling theory of how system change emerges. The tour came about a few months The post Traveling the Two Loops first appeared on Michelle Holliday.
Have you noticed how the concept of organizational purpose has become muddy and unclear? In pre-Industrial days, it was understood that a business was nested within a community as well as within a living ecosystem and, therefore, it existed to serve and enhance life at each of those levels. Money may have been a necessary The post The Muddied Waters of Organizational Purpose first appeared on Michelle Holliday.
As in so many sectors of society, the pandemic has pushed the tourism industry to a point of reckoning. While tourism brings undeniable value to communities and travellers alike, there are also harms that have not been fully acknowledged. And perhaps more importantly, there are potential contributions that have not been fully realized. The enforced The post Tourism, Hosting & The Practice of Community Wellbeing first appeared on Michelle Holliday.
I’ve just given a short talk to a corporate audience at a daylong online conference. I was invited to help close out the day with some provocative thoughts. And still, it felt risky and brave. Here’s the description of the session, as it was given to me: This discussion will look ahead and try to The post Think Like a Mother (Or: Why Stakeholder Capitalism is a Dangerous Concept) first appeared on Michelle Holliday.
Just over half the US population and much of the rest of the world is puzzling over one question: why would anyone (much less 70 million people) continue to support Trump, given everything he and those associated with him have said and done? In fact, a growing number of countries have their own local version The post Preparing the Ground for a More Perfect Union first appeared on Michelle Holliday.
“The Age of Thrivability provides a timely and accessible introduction to the significance of living systems principles. In this impressive synthesis, Michelle Holliday reveals how self-organizing and self-integrating patterns continually shape seemingly disparate fields and trends. From the history of human evolution to contemporary business examples, she demonstrates how recognizing and working with these patterns and principles is key to making sense of the role and potential of human agency. With compassion and clarity, she illuminates how understanding and participating in the shift to a living systems paradigm is essential for anyone seeking to cultivate healing relationships with Earth, the environment, and each other.”
“In this brilliant compendium of information, ideas and philosophy showing the urgent need for our world of business to fit itself sustainably into the web of all life, Michelle Holliday tells us life is not a metaphor to complement that of mechanics, but that lifeis our entire reality! And that sums up why we cannot ignore her imperative or her leadership. I, for one, will use this book in teaching MBA students!”
“In The Age of Thrivability, Michelle shows us that the innovation we desperately need in our world is not how to make stuff but in humanbeing, in patterning our lives and the lives of our organizations according to a template that was here before we arrived on the scene. The language is hopeful and the vision is rich in possibility. The practices are based on timeless principles that can be as infinitely generative in human society as they are in nature. When followed, as in nature, we all thrive together and our organizations and society will be the better for it.”
“While a number of pioneers at the vanguard of organisational development and leadership are exploring what it means to be a flourishing, participatory, resilient, regenerative organisation in these fast-evolving times, never before – that I know of – has the importance of life-affirming stewardship been conveyed with such clarity and insight.
With a light-hearted tone yet depth of wisdom, Holliday articulates the way forward to enable our organisations to move beyond the reduction of negative impact toward full-bodied participatory engagement within life. It is truly heart-warming to read a book that so eloquently conveys love of life in such practical ways. With insights at every turn, she invites us to see with fresh eyes and to learn to sense the wisdom within and all around us.
The Age of Thrivability is an important and timely contribution to a deepening conversation on how we transform our social and organisational systems into living systems that tend toward harmony with Life. This is a must-read for those interested in our life-affirming future.”
“The Age of Thrivability is an inspirational roadmap for taking us out of our current economic, social and ecological crisis and into a new paradigm, through the exploration of multiple and divergent perspectives, the dynamic processes of natural systems and a holistic conception of the unity of life. Michelle Holliday provides us with the systemic frameworks, case studies and practical guidelines needed to shift our way of thinking towards the effective stewardship of our organisations, communities and planet.”
“Michelle Holliday’s The Age of Thrivability is a field book offering leaders and facilitators history, frameworks and useful insights on how to cultivate thrivable environments in work, community and family contexts. What is even more compelling is the explicit call to action. Beyond the generous knowledge transfer, put the book down and pick up the baton. The reader is evoked to be more mindfully explicit of each interaction as a teachable moment. We are always moving to and from thrivability. May your torch shine brightly.”
“In this extraordinary sweep of ideas from across the new sciences of human flourishing and living systems, Michelle Holliday takes us on a tour of meaning-making to help change the human story from anguish and anxiety to thriving with and as part of nature. With attention to the convergence of science and spirit, she demonstrates how human self-organization and creativity co-creates new living systems and collectivities that bring forth energized life, possibility and engagement. I recommend that the reader spend time with these ideas as if they could seriously intervene in the “business as usual” organizations and cultures we tend to accept without question. The Age of Thrivability shows us a powerful pathway to transformative change.”
“Holliday has done something I greatly admire and respect. She weaves together the spiritual and the material, as living systems are, into useful and hopeful ways of crossing the chasm between paradigms. Inspiring reading!”
“Michelle writes of complex things that people and organizations are tackling and she does this with an extraordinary love and clarity. She reveals a deep understanding of how we evolve and change alongside the projects and initiatives we care for and are entrusted to steward. She is a scribe to an emerging era, with a worldview and a set of practices and attitudes that are showing us a radical story of collective thrivability.”
“A comprehensive review of the background and principles behind thrivability, this book weaves together the multiple layers, threads, stories, and metaphors of what thrivability means and what it could become.”
“If you are looking for a read that is heady and profound, filled with truths and certainty, this book is not for you. If you are willing to let yourself be aroused, to dance with images and ideas about what kind of world is possible now, then please pick up The Age of Thrivability. Michelle Holliday is one of few people who both understand living systems conceptually AND who see and understand what those concepts mean as a lived experience in these times. The Age of Thrivability masterfully weaves together mind, body, spirit and stories in an important exploration of what is possible now. We are at a point of choices. This book may be a guide as you find deep pathways into your own life.”