This is an edited section derived from ‘A Emergent Knowledge Workbook’ by David Grove
The practice of adjacency involves asking a client to physically move to a different space in the room, and then ask what they know in that space. Moving to adjacent spaces provides opportunities for new information to arise so that the facilitator can look for the clues that will help the client find the cosmological edge, and then move them through it to the other side where the solution spaces are.
Clues may not arise immediately which is why adjacent spaces need to be found. A move of six or so spaces should uncover the clues needed to move on.
The notion of adjacency was developed out of emergence theory, viz. an idea that a network will find a solution faster than an individual. In other words the adjacent spaces and the knowledge within them hold the clues to the solution.
Adjacency uses the notion of ‘networking’ to find solutions that resolve clients’ issues. Different spaces in a room will hold different information. When a client views another space and the information it holds, they are linking the spaces and the information, thus creating a network of information which, according to emergence theory, should find a solution faster than if one space is worked on its own.
The theory of the six degrees of separation comes from the study that showed that mathematically, among the billions of people throughout the world, there is a probability of finding a connection with any other person in the world through 6 other people. Therefore, it should take a facilitator, on average, six spatial moves to find the link that leads to a solution.
The key to the linkages are the weak links between the logical steps that one would normally take to find an answer. The weak links are like short cuts to the solution.
For example if there are 50 points on a circle, you would imagine you have to go through each point to complete the circuit, but if there are a number of weak links in the circle where one vaguely knows about another, then all of a sudden you can jump to a place where you only have two more points to reach the end instead of 40.
The weak links are the key to making the network phenomenon work. It’s not what you think is going to work, but some offhand or obscure remark, which, if picked up on could take a client to a perspective they haven’t seen before. This could bring them closer to a solution than they might be if the most obvious line of inquiry were followed.
The movement between adjacent spaces coupled with the use of simple iterations, over and over, will allow the facilitator to merely guide the process and a network solution will occur.