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  • Writer's pictureWilma Hartenfels

The Secret of Effective Regenerative Transformation – The DNA Wheel

For some time I have been wondering why so many initiatives in the field of regenerative transformation don't really fly. Why is it that some people invest a lot of time to bring big ideas into the world and then find that no one follows them?

Over the last 3 years, during my integral development training from IMU, during Laura Storm's Regenerative Leadership Journey and reading some books (e.g. New Work needs Inner Work (in German only), I got an idea of what could be an explanation for this. The initiators of the wonderful movement 'Inner Development Goals (IDGs)' describe it this way:

"In 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) presented a comprehensive plan for a sustainable world by 2030. The 17 goals cover a wide range of issues that affect people with different needs, values and beliefs. There is a vision of what needs to happen, but progress towards this vision has been disappointing so far. We lack the inner capacity to deal with our increasingly complex environment and challenges. Fortunately, modern research shows that the inner capacity we all need now can be developed. This was the starting point for the Inner Development Goals initiative."

If this is transferred to companies as an important part of a regenerative transformation, then the development of the inner dimensions, such as the mindset, is first needed as a basis before initiatives can even land and become effective in the long term also on the outside.

Laura Storm's DNA Wheel is a helpful tool for assessing these inner and outer dimensions. The DNA Wheel consists of 3 core areas and 17 subcategories:

  • Living Systems Being: How much value do you place with your team on slowing down, pausing and playfully giving space to new ideas and inspirations?

  • Living Systems Culture: How diverse, authentic and resilient is your team and to what greater purpose have you dedicated yourselves while not forgetting about staying financially healthy?

  • Living Systems Design: How much do the principles of nature find their way into your products and processes, e.g. through circularity, regenerative materials and forms inspired by nature?

Sounds quite complex, but it's actually quite simple. This is how you proceed:

  • It's best to start in your team. If necessary, adapt the words in the DNA Wheel a little so that people can understand the elements (not everyone will have an idea of what 'dance' means). There is more detailed information for you in Laura's book.

  • Briefly introduce the DNA Wheel and explain the different areas. Determine what the assessment should focus on, the team level or the organisational level.

  • Ask your colleagues to make an intuitive, individual assessment.

  • Then put all the individual assessments next to each other and go into the discussion.

    • What is seen similarly in the team?

    • Where are there differences? Why?

    • In which areas is the biggest pain and what is a first small step to solve it?

I promise you that the analysis with the DNA Wheel will not only help you with the transformation towards sustainability/regeneration, but will also help you to achieve more satisfaction, cohesion, authenticity and passion in the team, regardless of the topic of sustainability.

Twin-Tip: Anyone familiar with Ken Wilber's integral approach, the AQAL model, will see that the areas of inner/individual, inner/collective and outer/collective can be connected with Living Systems Being, Culture and Design. The IMU Augsburg has even recently published an Integral Map on Regenerative Economy (German only) which organisations can also use to look holistically at the issue of regeneration in order to initiate transformation.

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