The Iceberg Model




The Iceberg Model is a diagnostic tool that is used to analyze systemic structures and identify blind spots that cause a team/organization/society to collectively reproduce results that no one wants. The Iceberg Model makes underlying structures, paradigms of thought, and sources visible. When these are ignored, they keep teams locked into reenacting patterns of the past.




The Iceberg Model lets participants:

  • identify leverage points that allow a system to shift from operating at levels 1 (behavior) and 2 (process & structures) to levels 3 (paradigms of thought) and 4 (sources of inspiration).
  • address challenges on the level that they are created so that they can be transformed.
  • shift perception from inside individual heads to outside organizational boundaries (the field).
  • facilitate a collapse of the boundary between observer (an individual) and observed (a system) and recognize that “I am part of the problem.”
  • create optimal conditions for decision making by recognizing the source-level of awareness.

When using the Iceberg Model as a tool, consider applying the lens of the Matrix of Social Evolution to the place from which your perception arises:

  • Attend from downloading, to seeing, to sensing, to presencing
  • Converse from downloading, to debate, to dialogue, to co-creative flow/presencing
  • Organize from centralized, to decentralized, to networked, to ecosystem
  • Govern from hierarchy, to markets, to negotiation, to awareness-based collective action

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