Creating a Generative Board

board2Life inside a nonprofit organization is highly uncertain. And as with any complex adaptive system, activities and interactions are open to multiple influences, nonlinear, interdependent, unpredictable and diverse. What an executive director needs is not someone looking over their shoulder, but a collaborator who is present and accessible over the long haul. That is the seed of a generative board of directors. Members of a generative board come together as a whole, leverage the day-to-day business to a strategic level and act as a collective thought partner.

Developing Generative Capacity

Boards of Directors are comprised of individuals from unique backgrounds. They come together with a diversity of expectations and perspectives about their roles, about the organization, and about how they participate in governing their organization. Often, they have little or no real training in understanding the complex nature of their responsibilities and the decisions they must make.

board7We believe the role of any governing board is to engage in seeing, understanding, and acting to shape the patterns of interaction and decision making that will move their organization forward.  This is not about operational and day-to-day activities and interactions; it is about understanding the dynamics around them. This includes establishing policies and expectations that will set conditions for productive, sustainable patterns across the whole. Add to that the social, professional, institutional, personal and ethical landscapes that frame their tasks.

Our practice is based on the premise that learning, change and sustainability depend on adaptive practice, the ability to see, understand, and act as circumstances change. Grounded in the theory and practice of human systems dynamics, complexity science, and the work of Dr. Glenda Eoyang, the Simple Rules Foundation offers methods and models to strengthen your board and your organization’s adaptive capacity.

board 8We support your board as a dynamic and evolving body.  Over the course of our training, facilitation and ongoing technical assistance, your board will begin to examine their own frameworks, create the most relevant questions and act with new and enhanced understanding.  Most importantly, they will be able to see, understand and influence their own patterns of interaction and decision-making across the system.

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 Radical Rules for Girls


What do we know?

girls7Today the world is an uncertain place for girls. There are plenty of things to worry about – just check the headlines or news feeds.  Now add family, friends, boys, school, sexuality, body image, self-esteem, jobs, role models, health, safety and security.  No wonder girls are feeling overwhelmed.

Many groups and communities are working towards creating positive outcomes for girls. Innovative programs include developing new activities, new structures, and new relationships. Still, creating systems change that supports respecting differences, building and mending relationships, and valuing the individual can be elusive.

At the Simple Rules Foundation, we believe that learning and growing is about creating the capacity to adapt. That means seeing and understanding our own patterns of behavior, making sense of what is around us, coming to an informed decision and then acting.  This creates a path for change and achieving our desired outcomes.

What does it mean?

girls3We believe in adaptive practice, the ability to see, understand, and act as circumstances change.  Grounded in the theory and practice of human systems dynamics, complexity science, and the work of Dr. Glenda Eoyang, Radical Rules for Girls offers methods and models to strengthen adaptive capacity.  Through systems-based coaching, facilitation, and training workshops we help girls shift their patterns of behavior and interaction to be more effective in meeting day-to-day challenges.  And we believe in Simple Rules as a framework for learning about who we are, what is important to us, and how we want to connect with others.

What are we going to do?

Radical Rules for Girls is available to individuals and groups who want to assist girls in developing their own adaptive capacity. Schools, organizations and communities can use these methods and models as part of their own programming and practice, helping girls discover and engage in their own exploration and inquiry. Together we can:

  • Understand the concept of patterns and how we create our own behavior patterns
  • Examine the nature of simple rules and begin to develop our own short list of simple rules
  • Practice ways to understand our environment, our choices, how to make positive decisions, and then act upon our best decisions
  • Articulate a plan for achieving our desired goals


Radical Rules for Girls is a unique and engaging way for girls to recognize and appreciate the connection between themselves and the world and learn about their own power to INFLUENCE.

For more information please contact us at