Architectural Model

The Architectural Model is designed to help you visualize coherence and alignment across scales in your system. It ensures that the organizational and operational structures you establish provide the greatest fit between what you do, how you work, and what you hold to be true.


Using the Architectural Model you name what you believe and know to be true about the work you do. You identify the Simple Rules that help you function in alignment with what you know and believe. Then you establish organizational and operational structures that support your work, communications, decision making, and accountability across the system.

So What?

In the complexity of todays world, organizations set themselves up with the structures and relationships that have worked in the past. Often no one questions why processes and procedures are established as they are. Organizational, community, and cultural systems and structures work according to a blueprint that was designed and valued for a simpler time. In a complex system, coherence across scale and location is more difficult than in the past. Shared understanding of the work to be done and the expectations or culture for accomplishing that work creates clarity and transparency. It ensures system-wide alignment, informs coherence in near- and far-horizon decisions, and empowers individuals and groups to make decisions that fit system patterns.

Now What?

Use the Architectural Model in your next sticky issue to:

  • Clarify what you believe and know to be true about the work you do.
  • Identify a short list of Simple Rules that shape patterns of decision making and action to support those beliefs and truths.
  • Establish expectations and processes to build adaptive capacity to support those system-wide patterns.

Related Resources

In complex adaptive systems, groups have the capacity to move together, even when they are free to make their own choices.
September 26, 2013 In this presentation, Glenda Eoyang talks about collaboration and how HSD can support effective, generative collaboration. She explores ways to set conditions for collaboration that work wherever the team is.
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