Organization Science Applied to Creating the Nation's Energy Future
Prepared by John Murray McCombs, Senior Fellow

Excerpt from the Program:

"The best way to spread the learning that the ODII-AIC provides is through practice on this very type of problem. That practice should be on the most important issues of our time and involve the largest possible amount of people. It is for this reason that we envisioned the purpose of the Light Energy Program.

The linkage between Light Energy, and the idea of Purpose as a source of power that works like Light energy, is the AIC model, which is based in scientific knowledge of the human effects of the Light spectrum."


  • Energy Source Choices: Earth and Light
  • Purpose and Mission
  • Goals
  • AIC Organization Science — Philosophy, Model and Process
  • Ownership
  • Whole Systems Policy
  • National Meta-Design & Action Workshop
  • Regional Design & Action Workshops
  • Appraisal
  • Background

June 16, 2003 (Format update 2011)


Energy Source Choices: Earth and Light*

The Light Energy Program (LEP) establishes an appreciation of Earth and Light that defines our sources of energy at the highest level of our social-political system awareness. Each has its scientific base in geology and biology respectively, and its own resource forms for extraction or exploitation. Use of these resources has been determined by human social-political goals for growth and development.

A declared national goal is achieving secure independence from increasingly restrictive, uncertain, scarce and environment-destroying use of the Earth energy sources of oil, gas and coal. Earth energy use for producing hydrogen is counter to the declared goal of achieving secure independence.

The potential Earth source of uranium will not become the global majority energy source. Primary obstacles to nuclear energy are excessive development costs and time, restricted technology transfer, military implications and potential environmental damage from plant facilities and waste deposits for which no proposed storage appears wholly safe. Uranium is scarce, highly controlled, and therefore subject to inflationary price increases, which are passed onto consumer users who cannot escape the social danger and environmental costs.

The Light source is responsible for sustaining the biosphere engine that generates different flows and forms of energy resources. These forms are radiation, wind, trees, plants, rivers and oceans. Existing Light energy science and technology can provide national infrastructures that substitute for, and avert the rigid and highly vulnerable Earth energy systems that characterize today's industrialized nations.

Deferral of immediate world action on implementing Light energy use may not reduce Earth energy to minority use for decades. Before that time, the remaining Earth source supplier-nations will not want or will not be able to continue high levels of production. Without increased massive action in Light energy use, the specter raised is that many developing and developed nations will remain vitally dependent on Earth energy supplies that are costly, limited and vulnerable, since supply may disrupted at any time. This condition is inevitable and places suppliers and consumers in an untenable position: High or low prices will produce conflict; and if Light energy sources are not being aggressively implemented, competition for dwindling or any accessible reserves will cause direct conflict among nations over control of remaining Earth energy sources.

*"Light" energy is a scientific/technical term that is utilized to identify the encompassing source of all "solar", "renewable", "alternative", "bio-energy/fuel", "non-conventional" or "sustainable" energy resources, the biological-climatic environment, and the resulting technology for exploiting such energy resources. Light energy resources are distinct from Earth energy resources that are geologically extracted.

Purpose & Mission

The purpose of the Light Energy Program (LEP) is to strengthen national resolve to prevail on immediate saturation installation of Light energy technology to supply the national energy infrastructure. This is desirable and essential for the nation to achieve timely, secure, sustainable energy supply.

The LEP mission is to enable and empower the nation to focus institution capacity for policy, planning and research organizations as well to provide the products, business and construction systems, and trading arrangements necessary to meet national energy needs with Light energy. Such mission is to be achieved by utilizing an evolutionary philosophy, method and process for organizing accelerated action.


  • Expansion of supply of Light energy resource technology as may be necessary to power and fuel the nation's economic and social growth.
  • Alignment of national public policy and private planning organizations to ensure that the nation's projected population is supported with sufficient Light energy supply.
  • Stimulation of communication channels for governance, legislation, regulation, trade, business investment, technological interchange and public education as may be desirable to develop Light energy resource information systems.
  • Creation of sufficient national and state economic incentives and financial resources to support accelerated Light energy resource infrastructure development.
  • Preservation of ecological systems and achieving a clean bio-climatic environment as protection of vital Light energy resources for future populations.


AIC Organization Science — Philosophy, Model and Process

Dr. William E. Smith of ODII discovered, over thirty years of research and practice, that AIC (Appreciation, Influence, Control) is a next step in the evolutionary process of organizing, one that goes beyond the current emphasis on control, one that is critical and essential for tackling the large complex interactive problems that characterize our times.

AIC embodies a philosophy stating that purpose, not wealth, authority or knowledge, is the source of power. Current paradigms, models and practices do not utilize all the dimensions of power available to individuals, organizations or communities as they pursue their purposes.

The AIC self-organizing process is the ideal mechanism to solve environment, energy, military and religious policy issues in the context of national social and economic security and growth. It will facilitate policy action in the midst of political conflict, and the end result is capable of bringing about large-scale systemic change.

We need models that can cope with and honor infinite levels of difference in human, social, political and technical capacities. We need models that can transcend such difference to provide meaning and direction that can serve as a basis for integrating difference without suppressing it.

AIC is this model. It accepts difference as originating in purpose and so is a source of power. Difference and the resulting conflict is the normal state of affairs. People will always have differing purpose, values and interests, and these will always cause conflict. AIC uses this as leverage, an advantage, and gives ways to turn these differences together as assets. AIC applies equally at the individual, organizational and community levels. It helps to ensure that an entity identifies its highest level of purpose as the source of its power. In the process no participant is required to give up control.

Current models of individual, organizational and social organization do not draw on the whole field of power that affects performance. AIC is an organizing process that does draw on all the potential released by purpose, so anybody can achieve much better results at lower cost in short periods of time without telling others what to do.

AIC is, fundamentally, an ethical, truly democratic organizing process. Using AIC we clarify and reconcile our purpose with the purpose of others. By making visible the difference of purpose and the differential capacity to pursue and achieve those purposes, AIC gradually helps reduce the difference or the negative impact of the differences. In doing so, it removes the systemic incentives for deceit and corruption. This is a definition of ethical organization.

The secret to success of the AIC model lies in a new and more complete understanding of power and its relationship to purpose. This discovery lays a new foundation for organization theory. The basis of all organized action, the basis of all power, is purpose — and every purpose creates a power field. Organized activity requires an understanding of that power field and how it is converted into action. Current approaches do not use the full potential of the field and waste considerable power by overusing some parts of the field.

The key to performance is how is the potential of the power field created by purpose translates into actual (kinetic) power. That translation is made through management of the three universal power fields that give the model its name Appreciation, Influence and Control. (See fig 1). High performance comes from marshalling the full potential of each of these fields. The AIC organizing process is designed to do this.

  • Appreciation is the field of potential created by purpose. The appreciative field is our relationship to everything that affects the achievement of our purpose but which we cannot control or influence.
  • Influence is the field of our relationships to anything we can influence but can't control in the pursuit of our purposes.
  • Control, the smallest part of the field consists of the resources that we have control of relative to our purpose.

Those with responsibility can decide how to use their control based on a better understanding of the options that they learn from the influence phase and a better understanding of the consequences for the whole, which they get from the appreciative phase. We end up with effective control, control that is informed by adequate influence and appreciation.

While intellectually the AIC process draws heavily on the major social science developments of the last fifty years - Kurt Lewin's field theory, Eric Trist's socio-technical systems and Russell Ackoff's interactive planning- and is consistent with the New Sciences - Relativity, Quantum physics and Chaos theory - it has also learned from traditional approaches to organizing in all major cultures and all major religions. The result is a simple, elegant model that applies equally to the design of a fifteen-minute meeting or a fifteen-year national development program in any culture.

The best way to spread the learning that AIC provides is through practice on this very type of problem. That practice should be on the most important issues of our time and involve the largest possible amount of people. It is for this reason that we envisioned the purpose of the Light Energy Program. The linkage between Light Energy, and the idea of Purpose as a source of power that works like Light energy, is the AIC model, which is based in scientific knowledge of the human effects of the Light spectrum.

  • AIC, then, is a philosophy that explains why purpose is the source of all power.
  • AIC is a model that shows how purpose is translated into results through the management of three power fields, appreciation, influence and control.
  • AIC is an organizing process that automatically incorporates knowledge about effective relationships in the three fields. By following the process you automatically invoke all the parts of the power field that contribute to success.

Contained in the robust, action-learning, self-organizing process itself is all the wisdom necessary to enable leaders, organizations and communities to achieve the full potential of the LEP purpose. Learning occurs in a forum environment that ensures maximum involvement for large numbers of participants. The intensive nature of the forum ensures maximum learning in a shorter time and lower cost than through the traditional imported expert lecture format. This strategy of human resource capacity building and awareness-raising is a cost effective way for achieving the LEP purpose.


Participants in a LEP workshop will all receive experience and own the AIC tools and facilitative skills to execute the design of national and regional Light energy policy with the necessary institutions to successfully implement programs. However, such tools and skills are not sufficient to ensure that designs are implemented and sustained.

The LEP is designed to affect a marriage of public policy, technical expertise, participation, and commitment to national implementation. Commitment is gained to such a marriage when participants who must implement, or live with the effects of implementation, are involved in design of policies and programs that affect them. Engaged participants, exploring realities and potential with hands-on strategies, create the basis for policy development and provide the added value of creating commitment to action.

Stakeholders at the policy, management and operational levels work together in designing and implementing this Program. Such involvement with the AIC process will ensure that Light energy considerations are integrated into all regions and stages of policy, planning and development and that this integration and high rate of implementation is sustained.

Whole Systems Policy

Integration of Light energy into future national economic development requires a whole system approach such as AIC, i.e., a process that sees development and the environment as a singularity. A whole system approach for design and implementation makes Light energy an integral part of all energy and environmental planning, rather than a separate activity. Using a whole system process will not require re-organization that under traditional approaches might be necessary, because the AIC process is so designed that it cuts across organizational boundaries and encourages cooperation. Results Achieved:

  • Dramatic and rapid increases in performance at low cost with high degrees of commitment
  • Enhanced individual, team and community spirit
  • Creation of more robust policies that take into account the whole internal and external environment
  • Creation of strategic alliances between stakeholders, new configurations of roles and responsibilities, and more effective coordination mechanisms
  • Clarity on actions and the creation of more support and commitment to those actions


National Meta-Design & Action Workshop

Inclusion of national and regional officials, managers and staff in the detailed design and carrying out of each phase of the LEP is fundamental. In the smaller Design workshop, the selected and invited participants gain experience in applying AIC principals in order to create the design of the larger national Action workshop.

The experience gained from the Action workshop generates excellent material for producing guidelines for Light energy policy formation, institutional planning and infrastructure development. In the regional follow-on workshops, such guidelines are more likely to be adopted than guidelines produced by outside experts.

Regional Design & Action Workshop

Following the national workshop, the participants from respective regions will organize small regional Design workshops at the beginning of each effort in which regional stakeholders come together. The regional Design workshops will establish information and data to be gathered by each state in the particular region for preparation of the larger regional Action workshop.

Participant-identified resources will be made available to the Action workshop participants. Through existing research information, states will be grouped in regions defined by using Light energy bio-climatic resource distinctions, to facilitate natural development among states with similar characteristics.


After each LEP workshop event, a review by the Organizer and Sponsor will occur to provide guidance for future events and to establish ongoing commitment to implementation.



ODII is represented by Director Dr. William E. Smith and Senior Fellow J. Murray McCombs, representing the LEP purpose. ODII is dedicated to organization science in service to humanity.

The AIC paradigm and process has been applied worldwide to both public and private organizations. It has been used at every level- village, regional, national and global. It has been applied to projects ranging from village development to the design of national policy in Cambodia, Colombia, Hungary, Indonesia, Mali, Norway, Sierra Leone, Thailand and the United States.

It has addressed very technical issues such as the design of policies for energy, very political issues such as the peace process in Cambodia, and also several complex institutional and governance issues such as the design of market systems for Hungary.

The World Bank paper describing the results of AIC research "The Design of Organizations for Rural Development" World Bank SWP 375, sold more copies worldwide than any other World Bank paper in the series. Prof. Emeritus John Montgomery, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University in review of the Paper declared that the paper was a "giant leap forward for mankind."

The first full scale application of the AIC philosophy and model took place in Colombia, in 1985. It created a new framework and process to solve the problems of the collapse of the electricity sector in five days. See "Planning in the Electricity Sector" at in the Papers section. This was akin to solving the recent energy problem in California in five days.

In Thailand, the self-organizing process has taken on a life of its own, in both the private and public sectors. A Thai Foundation, which promotes the process, has been formed under royal patronage. A series of "five star" partnerships between the government, the private sector, community and religious organizations and NGOs has been created to promote programs of development that extends to 50,000 villages. In 1996 The National Planning NESDB completed the first national plan using the AIC process.