Ways of observing

Posted on ma 19 april 2021 in tools

The Nine Ways of Observing come from The Earth Path, a book by Starhawk.

I have used this tool in all my designs. I find that good, thoughtful, long observation is key to making good, thoughtful and effective designs.

  • I wonder...
  • Observing energy
  • Observing flow
  • Observing communities
  • Observing patterns
  • Observing edges
  • Observing limits
  • Observing from stillness
  • Observing past & future

Thinking in terms of systems, these different aspects cover many aspects common to all systems. Energy is the thing that makes any system alive, flow shows how matter and information move around a system, communities reveal the different elements of the system, patterns show us the ways a system solves problems, edges show potential interfaces to different systems, limits show where the system can not go, which area's are unreachable, past and future asks us to look at the evolution of the system as a whole.

The different ways invite me to take a detailed look at the different aspects of the system I'm studying. It helps me avoid blind spots because the tool reminds me to cover all these aspects. Every aspect is important in its own way. Without understanding, we're flying blind.