Adaptive Intelligence

A recent adventure took me to Devon on a course run by Claudius van Wyk, Michelle Le Vieux and Jane Pightling under a banner of Evolutionary Transformation, over the two days we examined something loosely described as an issue within our ‘problem space’.

I can’t actually begin to describe all that we covered – it was an intense experience and I am still letting the ideas bed-in to my consciousness; some of it profound, dealing with aspects of Complexity, Holism and Spiral Dynamics – please look them up on Wikipedia if you want to know more.


What I would like to focus on here, at least at this stage of my understanding is the motivation that led me to travel all the way from Yorkshire to the South Coast of England.

I think a big part has to do with appreciating that first the world is changing and secondly, I am changing.

Now, it is quite evident that things are moving-on; this is being alive, participating in the human race; as to whether the changes are more rapid than in the past is hard to say.

I wasn’t around 100,000 years ago, so my limited experience is, well, limited.

That I am changing is also fairly obvious; whether I like it or not, even the most conservative, not in my back-yard person is changing.

Our physical, emotional and psychological selves respond and adapt to the world around us.

The melanin in my skin reacts to the changing seasons, my heart counts-off the number of beats allocated to me; my digestion grumbles on, I move from here to there. You smile, I respond; it is a constant flux of being, doing and changing.

My sense, or, at least my experience over the past few months is that I have awakened to the necessity for change, not just in myself, but in the system in which I operate, and, for much of the remainder of my life this means work, or the care, treatment and support of other people; sure, there is more to my life than this, but, reflecting on the Adaptive Challenge – my problem space is mainly within this context.

I have long witnessed unhappy, dissatisfied people at work.

I remember a couple of years ago looking at a group of five hospital matrons; the senior nursing leaders of the organisation, they were attending a staff meeting and they all looked knackered.

Their eyes were dull, tired, their postured stooped; they emanated nothing more than a faint flicker of a need to keep going, to survive today in order to continue the next.

I have seen doctors like this, therapists, indeed this is almost a feature of those who work in health and social care; clearly not everyone all the time, but that draining of spirit, the erosion of life that surely is not what anyone planned when they started working or applied for a university or college course.

Is this just the way it is?

Is the extinction of your energy part of the contract of employment?

Do you live to work?

Do you work to live?

Neither I believe are what we want.

And it was this question that brought me to the course;

Surely this isn’t all there is; not necessarily in a spiritual sense or even a hippy, we can all get along and love-in way.


More, a belief, that if the world is changing, if technology and the advancement of science and thought are progressing, and there are some amazing things happening in the world beyond Smart Phones – literacy rates are increasing, life-spans, fertility rates falling, we have treatments for HIV, vaccines for Ebola; cancer and heart disease are no longer the killers they were. Although we have jingoistic leaders rattling sabres, we don’t have Passchendaele or The Somme. Food is safer, even little ducklings still waddle past me as I step-out on Sunday morning.


There is good out there.

Yet, if there is so much good, why does it at times feel so bad?

And why, particularly is this such a focus within communities of individuals working in the already mentioned health and social care?

Surely these should be the most rewarding, satisfying occupations;

Perhaps part of the problem is that we, or rather, the system has not adapted?

If we provide elements of 19th or 20th Century care to patients in 21st Century hospitals, it is inevitable that something will go awry.

I haven’t mentioned the End PJ Paralysis campaign in a while.


It is still alive and growing as a global movement.

Yet, I walk into a ward in any hospital in the country and a significant proportion of people will be in or on their beds, wearing PJ’s, passively receiving meals, medicines and records of their heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturations.

We apply the same factory mentality that existed when Titus Salt built Saltaire in West Yorkshire in the 1850’s to the world of 3D-MRI and laser-guided surgery.

child in mill.jpeg

Our working practices are unchanged; people clock-on and off, they must obey rules and regulations that are long past their sell-by date, mostly, just, because.

We need to determine our problem space – this is the aspect of our lives that provides us with the most significant and meaningful challenge, and, once it is defined, worked-out, dissected, analysed from as many angles as possible (perhaps applying a multidisciplinary interpretation), we can do something.

We don’t have to turn on, tune in and drop out, more turn on and change.

This is evolution.

Not perhaps in the sense that Darwin might have described (although I am sure if he were around today, he’d be up there with the greatest thinkers in the field).


If we don’t adapt, we die.

No one knows what the future holds; one thing however, is certain, that with access to more information and means of communication than at any time, we have the opportunity to seize the moment and adapt, to determine what we want, what is right and what needs to evolve and change.

We might complain about working practices in hospital – yet, who are the people who determine those practices? Yes, us.

Not everyone is in a position to contribute, and not everyone even sees the issues, that is just the way we are.

Yet, those of us who have determined that something must happen, something must change, have a responsibility to speak out.

I’m not sure if this has at all explained the Evolutionary Transformation – I am sure others could put it into more meaningful terms and I am definite that those who don’t know about Adaptive Intelligence will not be any the wiser; I guess I need to get a better grasp of the concept before explaining to others.

In the meantime, please enjoy your Sunday.


Published by rodkersh1948

Trying to understand the world, one emotion at a time.

5 thoughts on “Adaptive Intelligence

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