Process is Product.

Fostering inclusive ecosystems (with the goal of innovation and system vitality) asks us to embrace a paradigm shift, a cultural evolution. This cultural evolution is necessary because our communities and systems have evolved from oppressive hierarchical power structures. Hierarchies are not inclusive or equitable—by design.

In the U.S. there are pervasive, cultural practices that govern our interactions and reinforce patterns of inequity in the distribution of opportunity, resources, wealth, and power. These practices divide those at the top from the bottom to maintain the status quo and extract wealth.

This hierarchal structure is replicated at all levels. It fractures communities, limits system intelligence, and yields significant and persistent waste. Assets remain locked at the margins, and communities lose their resiliency. The ecosystem grows increasingly fragile.

Antifragility will not emerge unless the structure of the system evolves. The only way to do this is to bridge the assets from the margins to the center. This action works to foster a culture of belonging that heals and spans communities.

Boundary spanning relationships can then evolve to distribute information, opportunity, resources, wealth, and power throughout the system. Trust among communities and individuals may then grow and strengthen through cycles of reciprocity and gratitude, cultivating broader vitality.

CoLead’s dynamic approach to planning applies an 8-level strategic lens to understand the current organization/initiative and the context in which it exists. It supports development of a clear vision that sustains movement toward a future that maximizes outcomes to all constituents, while eliminating wasted time, expense, and energy.

Create a culture of belonging and trust through iterative, reciprocity and gratitude.

The Cohado® Process is structured on the action planning process itself. Critical stakeholders are engaged at every phase of the process to ensure that the design is fully integrated into the fabric of the initiative. It also fosters shared “ownership” of the final design among the community stakeholders and key partners to ensure smooth implementation and sustainable results. 


0. Foundation Level: Identify the opportunity for growth and the desired future state. 

1. Individual Level: Lay foundations for collaboration. Assess intrinsic motivations and shared interests.

2. Relational Level: Listen and align collective interests. Reveal the culture of the system, its history, shared values, and assets.

3. Developmental Level: Foster growth and explore capacity. Solidify commitment to collective action and shared power.


4. Structural Level: Co-create structures to support relationships and collective implementation of the vision and opportunity.

5. Functional Level: Evolve tools and processes to refine and nurture the vision towards sustainable growth. 

6. Communal Level: Weave and strengthen relationships to scale collective action. Monitor and measure impact.

7. Regenerative Level: Reflect. Identify opportunities for growth and the desired future state. 

…and REPEAT!