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Conscious Community Theory


Conscious Community Theory (CCT) was written in 2016, by Nathan Warren, MBA, owner of Harris Bridge Vineyard, founder of the Harris Bridge Community, instructor at the Oregon State University College of Business, and Administrator with the State of Oregon.  CCT is inspired by four primary life and educational experiences, including work in information systems, business analytics, human services, public safety, and Oregon's wine industry.  The theory can be applied to any organization, but it is uniquely suited to any organization where scientific awareness is important to success. 

New and expanding sources of information and awareness are changing our world.  We have more access to information about the needs of citizens, customers, and the natural world than we have ever had before.  Machine learning, artificial intelligence, scientific studies, blockchain technology, agile iterative development, and data analytics are all ways of capturing, understanding, and responding to new awareness.  Purpose-filled power, structure, and rigid plans are being overtaken by awareness-inspired information, flexibility and agile response, and just as in life itself, the most nimble and adaptable organizations survive.  Conscious Community Theory (CCT) provides organizations with what they need to thrive in an awareness-driven world.   

While CCT is designed to improve outcomes for our most advanced and technologically driven Corporations, it is based on natural concepts as longstanding as the living world, including lessons from the life of a winegrape, and from the life-supporting balance of the forest.

 The wine industry in Oregon is led by awareness, and its dedication to nature, community and collaboration is unique.  Nathan says "The magic of wine is that it is a living, breathing thing, even after its bottled. Wine, just like life itself is always new, always changing. Humans didn't create the grapes and we don't control the wine, our job is to listen to the fruit, and to support the natural processes. This awareness-driven, nature conscious approach results in wines that are beautiful beyond our own limited human imagination."  Experience is just as important as money in the world of wine, prompting the common phrase "the best way to make a million dollars in the wine industry is to start with a hundred million."  Nathan says "People typically don't invest in wine for the money, they invest in wine for the value of the life experience.  Money and value are not always aligned."  These unique qualities of the wine industry have inspired the awareness-led, and life and nature-focused elements of CCT.   

The foundational tenets of consciousness and community were inspired by Nathan's childhood in Harris Valley, just West of Philomath, Oregon.  Philomath, which means "Lover of Learning" in Greek, is a timber town with a history of strong community leaders, like Rex Clemens, the founder of the Clemens Foundation, which gave college scholarships to every graduate of Philomath High School.  Nathan received a Clemens Scholarship, and he says "The Clemens foundation has changed the lives of thousands of rural graduates through education.  Rex's philanthropy demonstrates a commitment to both consciousness and community, and it's the reason we called this the Conscious Community Theory."  Other strong community leaders were the Lowther, Starker and Harris families, all timberland owners who opened their private lands for educational, and recreational experiences.  "My community actively expanded my awareness of the natural world.  My hope is that CCT organizations will inspire generations of children to value life on planet earth above all else."    

CCT was also inspired by Nathan's work for the State of Oregon, where he has worked in healthcare, education, public safety, and several public-private partnerships throughout a 20 year career.  In 2016, Nathan was asked to develop a program to assist with culture change through the lens of quality assurance for the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC).  Work in corrections relies upon interpersonal connections and awareness of established structures within each institutional "community" to identify and respond to opportunities and risks.  Nathan says "A person's awareness and response is often the guide to safety in the sometimes unpredictable work of corrections."  This awareness-driven approach also applies to human rehabilitation, behavior change, and transformation.  Nathan continues, "You can't force change into another person.  Change comes from within them.  Human transformation is an awareness led support process, not a purpose led control process."  And, in the ODOC, all that an adult in custody has is time.  When all you have is time, "being" becomes as important as "doing", and "being" is a consciousness concept.  So, Nathan began to model what mainstream American culture might look like outside the walls of prison if a mainstream culture of human busyness (human doings) were to become a culture of human awareness and connection (human beings), a culture where people were valued as much for their impact to the community and environment as for their performance in a task or a job.  The insights from the work of Corrections are responsible for the organizational behavior components of CCT. 

Soon after CCT was released, Nathan began a pilot of the theory called the Harris Bridge Community, a community centered around Harris Bridge Vineyard, in Philomath, Oregon.  This community is led by the ideas and interests of its members, and it carries on with no hierarchical administration.  One year after the community began, Harris Bridge Vineyard was nominated for Business of the Year, and several other pilots of CCT were launched in human services, manufacturing, and public safety.  CCT is applicable to every organization that employs human beings, and it is the first organizational function theory in existence to prioritize awareness and consciousness, above ego-centric purpose.  It is a theory that supports life, freedom, and connection in all directions, and it holds promise to help inspire some organizations to let go of excessive, wasteful, dangerous and even deadly purpose-driven practices. 

Nathan says "In closing, we can all move toward greater awareness of all the gifts of life that surround us.  We don't need to wait for the next election to drive meaningful change in our communities.  Change can begin with each of us, individually, and with each of the organizations that we all work with and for every day of our lives.  We can start today." 

More history can be obtained by contacting the author, Nathan Warren, MBA at nathan@harrisbridgevineyard.com and by phone at 541-990-5919.