Tool no.78 - 4-Fold Integration

mapping levels of involvement within metadesign teams

See the evaluation of this tool

The Purpose of the Tool

  • The four-fold integrative framework is part of a methodology for improving teamwork.
  • It aims to guide team members from a ‘me’ perspective to a ‘we’ perspective.
  • This can strengthening the team’s inter-personal dynamics.


Tool Process

  • This metadesign tool combines 4 component parts (tools)
  • These levels are in not in linear sequence, because each nests within the others
  • They describe levels, or states of involvement with themselves, and the other levels.
1)On seeing myself as an individualHow self-confident am I?Believing in myself79.
2)On being able to relate to othersHow well are we collaborating?That sympoiesis takes place80.
3)On working within my teamHow well are we (the team) getting along?Effective teamwork can occur81.
4)On my team's external taskHow well are we focusing on this external task?Team becomes effective on an outside task82.

Tool Example


  • This tool was one of the eight tools tested at the Pines Calyx workshop on 29th February and 1st March 2008
  • As you can see from the above diagram, the four-fold integrative framework acted as an architecture from within which to deploy the other seven metadesign tools.
  • In this particular phase the tools deployed from within the framework were as follows
  1. Phase one - The casting tool and the cultural props tool- choosing a prop to bring to the session
  2. Phase two - Presenting the cultural prop and the rhythm tool (to the 'other')
  3. Phase three - The story-telling tool, the parameters tool, the positioning tool and the scenario tool (in the teams)
  4. Phase four - Presenting the scenario work to the whole group (wider context) - after the workshop the design participants were interviewed by an external interviewer about their experience at the workshop. This 'presentational knowledge' also contributes to the fourth phase of the framework as the interviewees have had the opportunity to process the experience and perhaps shared what happened or used something from the workshop with their peers outside of the workshop context.
  • cogs ladder tool - another framework tool
  • The four-fold integrative framework serves as an architecture to deploy tools, within each phase of the framework there are tools nested to nurture, and harness synergies at different levels of individual and team awareness.
  • Tool no. 1 - Tetrahedral Logic)

Tool History

(Wood, Nieuwenhuijze, Jones, et al 2008)

  • This tool was outlined by Dr. Otto van Nieuwenhuijze at a consultation meeting on 5th February 2008
  • Dr. van Nieuwenhuijze is an expert in living systems and an external consultant for the metadesign project.
  • He calls for designers to develop more ‘integrative modes of design thinking’, believing that when designers act as representatives of a team they need to become ‘transpersonal’, embodying the values, dreams and concerns of the other members of the team to communicate with external bodies.
  • Its structure (topology) is also based on the work of Euler (1751) and Fuller (1975). (See Tool no. 1 - Tetrahedral Logic)

Tool Context

  • This tool was developed for the Pines Calyx' workshop
  • It seems far more appropriate - i.e. more organic, less mechanistic than our previous model of Cogs Ladder.
  • This is used in the corporate world. It uses terms such as 'the power stage'.
  • In architecture, 'master planning', or urban planning is well-known, but hierarchical (see Peer-to-Peer Topologies)
  • The recruitment, facilitation and nurturing of a metadesign team is no trivial task
  • This is because metadesign is holarchic and ecologically embedded
  • This is not necessarily true of:
  1. Design Management
  2. Open Design
  3. Strategic Design
  4. Transformative Design
  • Therefore, the four-fold integrative framework for metadesigning is intended to encourage a more self-reflexive, empathetic, context dependent, inclusive and highly collaborative process than more conventional fragmented and hierarchical design processes.

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