Spiral Thinking: The Next Level

Possibilities of Spiral Thinking: CDNA 2013 (c) 2013 Amberwood Media Group, all rights reserved

(c) 2013 Amberwood Media Group

Since December, we have sought to understand how Linear Thinking and intention traditionally combine to create an organization’s culture.  Now, to get to the next level, let’s look at how Spiral Thinking and alternative approaches to Organizational Learning can help culture evolve in new ways.

You may be asking, what’s Spiral Thinking? Stay tuned for a consolidation post here in the near future, but here’s a 2009 post by Robert Twigger that does a good job of laying out the concept.

Keep in mind, our goal is to fill in the Collaborative Learning framework we started back in December, shown here. We’re continuing to explore ways to get there. We’d love your ideas.

In our MON 3/11 #CDNA chat, Astrid Kowlessar will guide a discussion that takes us to the next level of dialog, as we explore:

  • Q1. Does culture or intention change when we apply  Spiral Thinking?
  • Q2. How is creating a Culture of Learning different with Spiral Thinking?

A big #CDNA thanks to Astrid for offering to facilitate this session.  She’s our first guest moderator, and we’re hoping the first of many.

Will see you guys online.

Chris & Astrid

About Chris Jones

Thinker. Author. Explorer of edges. Passionate about learning and coffee. Founder of #smchat and #orgdna communities. Writing on Medium. View all posts by Chris Jones

4 responses to “Spiral Thinking: The Next Level

  • sourcepov

    Great chat last night Astrid, thanks again for moderating. What were some of your primary takeaways?


    • Astrid F. Kowlessar (@AstridBijou)

      Hi Chris, no problem! We got down to a pivotal understanding of Spiral thinking and intent to change culture.

      Key points as follows:

      The foundation principle: there must already exist INTENT to foster any learning outcome, via any learning method, spiral or hierarchical.

      Although spiral thinking sounds much more spatial than hierarchical thinking, there is also inherent structure, as mentioned by @Versalytics

      @JohnRichardBell, a #CDNA guest, mentioned that we as humans tend to always lean towards Hierarchical thinking for leadership. We agreed, and after some discussion concluded that Spiral and Hierarchical thinking are not necessarily mutually exclusive. There isn’t an either/or in this scenario. Why? Due to the human biological need to have a comprehensive Left Brained and Right Brained learning outcome.

      In this manner, there is no need to forego linear, lateral or hierarchical learning patterns for spiral thinking/learning. The question now is how to manage a blend of all learning patterns with the intent to change culture.

      The “blend” per se may be relative to each micro and macrocosm.

      We were also introduced to the idea of Left-Siders by Simon Sinek via @d_scott – where a small portion of the human bell curve, the left portion, are the “functional geniuses” who use spiral thinking to innovate, and then bring innovation mainstream.

      And via @d_scott and @jonbergmann we discovered Flipclass as a method of introducing Spiral Thinking into the classroom setting. We follow up on this #CDNA progresses.


      • sourcepov

        Truly an outstanding recap, Astrid. Not only did u moderate a great chat, but u did an A+ job at synethesizing key takeaways.

        Few in my experience are able/willing to take on both roles .. in the same chat .. myself included !!

        Working on a lightweight frame for tonight that will try to advance the duality of hierarchy and spiral still more .. and definitely pull in the left- and right-brain perspectives as we do ..

        See you in a bit 🙂 and again, thanks ..



  • As the Spiral Turns: From Culture to Community [CDNA frame 3/25 8pET] | The DNA of Collaboration

    […] we follow the turns of our spiral thinking model, no surprise that we have considerable flexibility as to “where we go next” in our […]


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