Conscious Choices

Be conscious. Make choices.

These practices are the essence of human systems dynamics. They are the heart, the core, the center, the distillation, the cause and effect, the input and outcome, the seed and the fruit of our work.


Be conscious.

We practice consciousness through Adaptive Action. In the past two weeks, HSD Associates and clients have used Adaptive Action to become conscious of patterns of political discourse, public health, personal growth and development, health and wellness, conflicts at all levels of interaction, children suffering from trauma, sustainability for communities and environments. In all these complex situations, we strive to be more conscious. We stand in inquiry to see, understand, and influence emerging, systemic patterns.

Make choices.

Pattern Logic helps us see options and choose wisely. For us, patterns in human systems inform both understanding and action. We understand patterns through the CDE Model (Containers, Differences, Exchanges). We use the same model to explore what is possible and to choose our next wise actions to create patterns for the future.

The purpose of HSD practice is to use Adaptive Action and Pattern logic to be more conscious and to choose with more care. We ask:

  • What . . .
    • . . . is happening now?
    • . . . differences make a difference?
    • . . . agents are engaged in the pattern right now?
    • . . . similarities give stability and identity?
    • . . . differences enliven and give energy?
    • . . . what boundaries engage and protect?
    • . . . connections bring information and resources?
  • So what . . .
    • . . . tensions exist in the current pattern?
    • . . . measures of success are most relevant?
    • . . . hopes and dreams, pains and frustrations are emerging?
    • . . . was expected and what is experienced?
    • . . . agreements and disagreements shape action?
    • . . . relationships are barriers to the future, and which are bridges?
  • Now what . . .
    • . . . will I do to make a difference right here and right now?
    • . . . will I do to support long-term change at a systemic level?
    • . . . will I ask and what information will I share?
    • . . . relationships can I create or maintain to make the most of my community?
    • . . . can we do together to capture opportunities and overcome challenges?
    • . . . will I look for in response to my action?

We live and work in complex systems, so we know each of our “now what” actions will make a difference. We just don’t know what that difference will be. Every Adaptive Action cycle sparks the beginning of the next, as we discover the consequences of the past and prepare for the possibilities of the future. In this way, every Adaptive Action cycle leads to an even deeper practice of consciousness and choice making.

Our work in HSD draws on complex and sophisticated theory. It involves many diverse models and methods. It supports an infinite variety of applications for a growing number of Associates. In spite of (or because of) that complexity, HSD has two simple practices at its center:  Be conscious. Make choices.

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