To cancel out, nullify, or treat as non-existent. For the now-to-new practitioner, it means to thwart or limit a value generation possibility.
Something that exists only as an idea; a construct; an “imperfectly defined explanatory notion” – Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind (pdf, p.5); a nominalisation (a verb converted into a noun).


Abstractions and corresponding actions

A disaffected former customer or non-customer who does not trust a particular organisation. Whether ‘fair’ or not, the grievances of anti-clients are real to them. Anti-clients may actively promote lack of trust in the organisation via their social networks and other channels. Anti-client is a term originated by Tom Graves, author of How anti-clients happen (and what to do about it).
The degenerative counterpart of value. Anti-value is more than dissatisfaction. It manifests as an experience of physical pain or emotional upset arising from a poorly designed or malfunctioning value generator, or from the denial of previously received and possibly taken for granted value.
Read more about value, anti-value and value generation
If goodwill is an asset, then badwill is a liability. Badwill comes about when customers or other beneficiary set members make public their experience of anti-value generated by the enterprise. Badwill can play out in the form of decreased revenue, loss of clients or suppliers, loss of market share, or damaged reputation—sometimes so great that it brings about the demise of the enterprise.
A person or collective gaining some sort of value by virtue of an enterprise’s existence, its activities or the value generators (products, services, facilities etc.) it produces.
Beneficiary group
A cluster of entities that gain value from an enterprise in the same way, such as customers, suppliers or investors.
Specify the value to be generated by the now-to-new project
Beneficiary set
The complete set of beneficiary groups for a given enterprise.
Beneficiary set, beneficiary groups and beneficiaries
Read more about beneficiaries
See Value generation capability.
Co-creation meeting
A collaborative gathering taking place over half a day, an entire day or several days, and usually forming part of a broader organisational change or innovation programme.

+ Read more
A co-creation meeting brings together diverse stakeholders, often in large numbers (the upper limit is constrained only by the venue capacity) and with widely-differing agendas and perspectives, to discuss issues of heartfelt concern, share ideas, pool knowledge, explore possibilities and devise plans for sustained collaborative action. Co-creation meetings are known by various other names including large group interventions, large-scale events and ‘whole system in the room’ events. The three main types of co-creation meeting are Type 1 (pre-planned, facilitator-led, outcome focused, everyone together), Type 2 (impromptu, unfacilitated, freewheeling, fragmented), and Type 3 (Types 1 and 2 in sequence, typically T1 > T2 > T1 or T1 > T2 > T1 > T2 > T1).

The three main types of co-creation meeting

Read more about co-creation meetings

A fully-formed idea or set of ideas.
In its degenerative form, control is a way of seeking to determine, influence or accomplish outcomes by domination, manipulation, coercion, violence, or similar means. In its generative form, control is an enabling act or system aimed at generating beneficial outcomes or preventing harmful outcomes (e.g. air traffic control). See also Power.
Create vs. generate
An enterprise creates value generators (such as products and services). An enterprise cannot create value. It can only create value generators, or ‘value propositions’ as some academics would have it. A value generator generates value when the beneficiary interacts with it.

How value is generated

The Creative Lifecycle
A naturalistic model of creating the new and realising the potential of the new creation, using the analogy of human procreation and development. It consists of seven stages: Readiness, Conception, Commitment, Gestation, Birth, Potential Realisation, and Completion.
The Creative Lifecycle
Read more about The Creative Lifecycle
Creative power
The innate (see George Land, 1968) ability to manifest that which generates value. The creation could be anything from a conversation or a glossary to a cathedral or a space rocket. See also Power.
Aimed at generating anti-value, inhibiting or limiting value generation, or nullifying generated value.
Distant from the source. Happening later in a sequence of activities. See also Upstream.

Upstream and downstream

Trusting acceptance.

“Faith is a critical but curious mind’s readiness to adopt a reality model (even if provisionally) for which there is less than absolute, empirical proof.”

Jay Gaskill, The Dialogic Imperative.

A distinctive combination of elements, notably principles, room arrangement, process or sequenced processes, and manner of facilitation, enabling meeting participants to achieve their desired outcomes. Examples: Open Space Technology, Knowledge Cafe, Scrum daily stand-up.
Functional value
The kind of value you only notice when it’s absent. “Salt is what makes potatoes taste funny when you forget to put it in” (Anthony Rumgay). You rarely experience functional value — you only experience the anti-value that’s generated when functional value is missing.
Generate vs. create
See Create vs. generate.
Aimed at generating significant value. Seeking to create that which improves people’s lives and makes the world a better place. World-enriching. There are two levels of generative action. Level 1 is concerned with generating value for others (“give a man a fish”). Level 2 is concerned with creating that which generates value for others (“teach a man to fish”).
Generative enterprise
1. A business or nonprofit organisation that has adopted a world enrichment ethos wholeheartedly.
2. A way of doing business, focused on generating widespread value.
A credible definition of holistic must itself be holistic. The limitations of language make this impossible, but there are some clues here. None of them is the whole story.

See also Reductionism; Wholeness.

A heartfelt desire to enrich the world. An altruistic orientation. A determination to utilise our value generation potential to the full. Each heartbeat is an affirmation of our unshakeable commitment to fostering widespread value, meaning and joy. Intent is not synonymous with strategic intent, a management term and concept originated by Gary Hamel and C.K. Prahalad. Purpose is a personal expression of intent.
The relationship between intent and purpose
A shrewdly-designed action or set of actions taken in order to bring about a shift from Now (the current state of affairs) to New (the desired state).
Knowledge Cafe
A Knowledge Cafe (a.k.a. Gurteen Knowledge Cafe) is a meeting format and a type of meeting that enables rich and rewarding conversation on a topic of mutual interest. Knowledge Cafe participants explore the topic, share knowledge, glean insights, surface ideas and opportunities, experience new ways of thinking, strengthen relationships, and form new connections. The originator of the format is David Gurteen, an influential practitioner working in the areas of knowledge management and conversational leadership.
Max4 principle
A reference to the discovery made by various researchers that the maximum group size for a proper conversation is four people. Read more
“That which makes life and work truly worthwhile.” Source: Edward Matchett. Meaning is a form of value.
Meta generator
A meta generator 1 is a producer of value generators (products, services etc.) — typically an enterprise. A meta generator 2 is a producer of meta generators, such as an entrepreneur. See graphic here.

How value is generated

Microcosm of the enterprise
A meeting participant population formed of one or more people representing each organisational function / hierarchical level intersection.

Microcosm of the enterprise

The graphic shows a microcosm formed of 22 people.

An enterprise-wide programme of work that converts strategy into action. Here, the term is borrowed from the field of space exploration. It is not a synonym for vision or purpose, and it is not about mission statements. Each successive mission has the aim of manifesting intent more fully. A mission consists of a mission objective and a suite of projects aimed at meeting the objective by a specified date. In some cases, the mission will be formed of two or more sub-missions, each composed of a set of projects.
Now-to-new is an umbrella term covering innovation, change, problem solving, development, and other activities involving a shift from the present situation (Now) to what’s needed instead (New) with the aim of generating value. The three now-to-new work modes are creating alone, creating together, and helping others create, in an enabling role such as facilitator, coach, thinking partner, teacher or project leader.
Open Space meeting
An Open Space meeting (Open Space conference, Open Space meeting, Open Space gathering, type 2 co-creation meeting) is a participant-led gathering in which 10, 50, 100, 500 or more people establish shared intent, discuss matters of heartfelt concern, pool knowledge, conceive ideas, reach agreement on the best way forward, and make preparations for sustained collaborative action. Participants create their own programme of self-managed sessions (e.g. discussion groups, experiential workshops, ideas sessions, planning meetings) in response to a thematic question such as: What are the issues and opportunities regarding the future of the XYZ Corporation?

From its inception in 1985 until 1989, Open Space was simply the format employed for the annual gatherings of the global organization transformation (OT) community. Open Space then broke free from the OT mothership and was used as an organisational intervention for the first time, with the chemicals company DuPont. That same year, the format became known as Open Space Technology.

Open Space Technology
The format of an Open Space meeting.

+ Harrison Owen explains how Open Space became Open Space Technology
“As it happened, one of your compatriots, Ronnie Lessem, had written a book called Principles of Global Management. The book featured the work of four characters including Peter Drucker and yours truly. My work was the last section with the awesome title, Metaphysical Management. My Indian colleague, in introducing me to a business press gathering in Bombay, ended by saying that Harrison Owen is the inventor of Open Space Technology (he added “technology”) and practitioner of Metaphysical Management. He then turned to me and said – Harrison, please explain what all this means. The next morning there were a series of stories – all a little weird – with Open Space Technology prominent in the title. And it stuck.”

Source: Private correspondence between Harrison Owen and Jack Martin Leith, 7 March 2008

The capability of doing or accomplishing something. Source: Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary via The Free Dictionary. See also Control; Creative power.
A mantra to employ when designing and facilitating a co-creation meeting. PRESTO is a reminder to maintain an acute awareness of the six factors summarised below, and to consider their possible consequences. When facilitating an Open Space meeting, PRESTO can be used in place of the conventional Open Space principles, which are only relevant when Open Space is being used as a conference format.
The six factors:
People Who’s here? Who’s not here? Whose absence might derail our plans? What immediate or downstream action is required to address this absence?
Resources What resources do we have? What do we need? How can we get what we need? How can we best use what we have?
Events What’s happening? What’s not happening? What just happened? What’s about to happen? What needs to happen?
Space What space do we have? What do we need? How can we get what we need? How can we best use what we have?
Time How much time do we have? How much do we need? How can we get what we need? How can we best use what we have?
Outcome To what extent is what’s happening in the room right now contributing to the accomplishment of the desired outcome of the meeting? Is some kind of intervention called for?
Reason for existing. A heartfelt desire to enrich a particular piece of the world in a particular way. The enduring aim of our value generation efforts. Purpose is a personal expression of intent.
The relationship between intent and purpose
Readiness work
Readiness work, which is the first stage of The Creative Lifecycle, enables members of the now-to-new project team to prime themselves for the showing up of a high potential concept, by becoming immersed in the demands and dynamics of the project and having a felt sense of the new reality in which the desired results will arise. Read more about Readiness work
An attempt or tendency to explain a complex set of facts, entities, phenomena, or structures by another, simpler set. Source: American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. The antithesis of reductionism is holism.
Rich Co-creation
A set of principles and practices employed in projects where diverse beneficiaries work together on an equal footing, from start to finish, in order to bring forth a mutually beneficial result. The ‘rich’ prefix indicates that this form of co-creation is full-bodied and capable of generating significant downstream value.
See beneficiary.
There is little agreement about what strategy is. In his classic text The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning, management academic and author Henry Mintzberg offers five ways of viewing the concept:
Plan A course of action designed to achieve an objective.
Ploy A manoeuvre for outwitting an opponent.
Pattern Consistency in behaviour.
Position Location in a conceptual space relative to competitors.
Perspective A shared worldview.

Other luminaries, such as Roger Martin, Gary Hamel, Michael Porter, Rita Gunther McGrath and Ken Favaro, provide their own interpretations of strategy.

It’ Time to Accept that Marketing and Strategy are One Discipline, by Roger L. Martin. In 2017 Roger Martin was named the No.1 management thinker in the world. He was a strategy adviser to A. G. Laffley when the latter was CEO and later chairman of Procter & Gamble.

The following definition of strategy, articulated by the academic Richard Rumelt, author of Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, comes closest to the way Jack currently thinks about the topic: “Strategy is a cohesive response to an important challenge”. Rumelt says there are three things that make up the ‘kernel’ of good strategy: a diagnosis; a guiding policy (an overall approach chosen to cope with or overcome the obstacles identified in the diagnosis); and a set of coherent actions that he calls “the punch in the strategy”. Main source: The perils of bad strategy, by Richard Rumelt, in McKinsey Quarterly, June 2011.

In a generative enterprise, the overriding and persistent challenge is the manifestation of intent. Here, strategy is not a laundry list of objectives or a detailed master plan, but a pithy statement describing in the broadest of terms how the constraints to intent manifestation will be eradicated. Strategy can be animated by means of a programme of work called a mission.


“System is illusory. All systems we fancy we observe in nature are merely constructions of the observer, and the ‘interconnected web’ or ‘system’ view of the universe is no more than a fairy tale.”

Source: James Wilk, unpublished manuscript.
See also Wholeness.
Closer to the source. Happening earlier in a sequence of activities. See also Downstream.

Upstream and downstream

Tangible or intangible benefit. The three main forms of value are economic value, conceptual value, and experienced value, which includes meaning and joy. On this website, I mostly talk about experienced value. Value is not ‘delivered’, as if by FedEx. It is co-created through the interaction between the beneficiary (e.g. consumer or user) and the value generator. See Wikipedia: Service-dominant logic. Value is a unifying principle: the red thread that unites intent, strategy, mission, project work, capability expansion, and other business fundamentals.

Value for customers means that after they have been assisted by a self-service process (cooking a meal or withdrawing cash from an ATM) or a full-service process (eating out at a restaurant or withdrawing cash over the counter in a bank) they are or feel better off than before.

Source: Service logic revisited: who creates value? And who co-creates? by Christian Grönroos, a Professor of Service and Relationship Marketing at Hanken Swedish School of Economics, Helsinki, Finland.
Read more about value, anti-value and value generation
Value advocate
Someone who speaks on behalf of the downstream value that will be generated by an intervention, course of action or value generator. The voice of value in a relationship, group or enterprise.
Value for all
The greatest amount of value for the greatest number of beneficiaries. Now-to-new work is founded on the hypothesis that when an enterprise is focused on generating value for all, it enriches itself, its employees and its shareholders as a natural consequence (all things being equal).
Value generation capability
Latent power currently available to an individual, group or enterprise for creating the new and realising the value generation potential of the new creation.

Recommended reading: How capabilities can unleash business performance, by John Hagel, John Seely Brown, and Maggie Wooll, on Deloitte Insights.

Value generation potential
The total amount of value a value generator or meta generator (an enterprise, for example) could be generating. “The difference between capability and potential is that capability is the power or ability to generate an outcome while potential is currently unrealised ability” (source: WikiDiff). “Capability to do what now, versus potential to do what in the future” (source: Richard Mackinnon on SlideShare).
Value generator
Value is co-created through the interaction between the beneficiary (e.g. consumer, user) and the value generator. A value generator is something tangible or intangible that produces experienced value when the user interacts with it, such as:

A product

A service

A facility such as this website

An event (conference, music festival)

An establishment (museum, theatre, restaurant)

A book, song, piece of music, painting, theatrical production etc.

A way of working

How value is generated
Read more: What is value and how is it generated?
Vision (of realised potential)
A depiction — an actual picture accompanied by a vivid and compelling synopsis — of how the world will look, sound and feel when the enterprise is fully utilising its value generation potential and manifesting its purpose.
Widespread value
Another way of saying value for all.
Whole system
A way of thinking and acting that takes into account the realities, perspectives and value requirements of all relevant beneficiary groups.
“An undivided or unbroken completeness or totality with nothing wanting.” Source: The Free Dictionary. Wholeness is all-encompassing, transcending the dualistic nature of mundane reality, and cannot be reduced to parts (see Holism). Neither can it be reduced to a pithy definition or distilled into an elegant concept. “The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.” – Lau Tzu.

What does ‘holistic’ mean?

Seeking to generate significant value for customers or users, other beneficiaries and wider society.
An individual’s set of fundamental beliefs and organising principles; his or her unquestioned assumptions about the nature of reality and the human place in it. A worldview is like the operating system in a computer, controlling operations behind the scenes but mostly outside the user’s awareness. When someone upgrades his or her worldview, certain things that were previously impossible become possible, and some things that were difficult become easy. Generally, a new worldview does not replace the old one, but subsumes it.

Evolution of worldviews, by Jack Martin Leith