Apply Holistic Observation

for organizations

This Domain-Level Guide is designed to be used based on the Core Model. Please refer to the Apply Holistic Observation Core Practice before exploring this guide.


Holistic Observation in an organizational context means first and foremost: observing how everything fits in the grander scheme. Organizations are made of people, interactions, and numerous details. *Observing* something holistically in such an environment is to notice how it fits among all the other bits of information and how the environment reacts to it.

Holistic Observation is more than just gaining new perspectives on the observed subject. It is turning the fabric of the organization into one of the subjects you are continually exploring.


Explore the Interactions Between the Things You Observe

An important aspect of Holistic Observation is how different things, which might seem unrelated at first, connect. Often, it is the connection between ingredients that can embed surprising and valuable insights.

Exploring the connection between things should not be confused with the Fuse function. The essence of Fuse is creating new relationships and harmonies. As such, it is a processing function. In the context of Holistic Observation, your focus is to uncover the existing connections and Observe these connections as raw material for future creative insights.

  • Observe how things connect, before trying to create Fusions of your own.
  • Notice where the things you Observe fail to connect.
  • Turn the connection between things into one of your subjects of Observation.
Invite Different People to Observe With You

Organizations are made of people, and so any attempt to form a Holistic View of a subject will benefit from including different people. When you invite various people to Observe with you, they can become the subject of your Observation. Beyond understanding their unique perspective, the way they see the issue and their interaction with it becomes a source of insights.

  • Observe the same subject with various people throughout your organization and beyond.
  • Be aware of how each of them reacts to the subject and to the differences between them.
  • Don’t settle for seeing things from their perspective — make their perspective the subject of your Observation.


Example 1

When a new piece of information or new insight is brought to your attention, explore how it connects to other things. Don’t confuse that with [Fusing](../../fuse ), which is about creating connections. As part of Observing, the connections between the things you observe and how they fit in the grander scheme of things can become a valuable ingredient by itself.

The Holistic View can become highly effective when analyzing past events and learning from them. Breaking down these events into specific activities is often necessary for such an analysis. But exploring the impact each activity had on other actions and on the entire event is likely to expose the best and most effective ideas for improvement.

related practices

further exploration

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