Transforming a Society (Venezuela) Against All Odds – Part 4: The Outcome

By Helio Borges and originally published on

This article is the fourth and final one in a series that follows a five-month evolutionary journey of three dreamers, who in their effort to transform a society that is suffering the effects of a complex humanitarian emergency under a very authoritarian regime, are undertaking a transformation of their own.

EE Magazine’s republication as Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, and Part 3 is here.

May. Co-Shaping

“The most important question that any changemaker can ask him-herself is “What future do you want to create? Personally, relationally, professionally. In terms of society. In terms of u.lab, or any global movement that you feel part of”. Otto Scharmer.

u.lab-S. Image: “Prototyping” Olaf Baldini, Presencing Institute.

Due to the frequent and deep disruptions that we were experiencing, Proyecto Hikola was a little behind the rest of the teams participating in the STL. To keep up with the schedule, we held the “Visit To The Field Of The Future” experience at the beginning of the month, and the “Prototyping” session one week later.

A Journey To The Field of The Future.

Otto Scharmer has created a deep mindfulness session that allows any person, not only to dream about their future but literally to step into it and to experience it so vividly that they can make in the present time, decisions to act and bring that future to a tangible reality. For the participant, it is like having an out of body experience.

In my experience facilitating u.lab, I have seen all sorts of things happening when people are exposed to this experience, mostly regarding the urgency of bringing to the reality the future that they want to create, but for one reason or another, they keep postponing the necessary, and in most cases courageous actions required to do it.

A Journey to the future surrounded by nature. Venue: Marietta’s home.

In our particular case, we were working on two dimensions, one where everyone explored his/her particular emerging future, and another where we explored the future of Proyecto Hikola as an emerging organization. Regarding the first dimension, everyone had clear paths of action revealed to themselves. In the second case, the future was somewhat foggy for different reasons that we began to clarify after the prototyping session.


We held two prototyping sessions, one in person, another virtually. After a deep mindfulness meditation based on “The Pale Blue Dot” of Carl Sagan, we guided our extended team through the PI methodology of prototyping, answering the following questions:

What is the grand idea? Whom do I need to invite? How do I break up that idea into small, practical steps that I can do in the following days? We completed the session using the PI Prototype Evaluation Methodology “7 R Criteria”. Is it Relevant, Revolutionary, Rapid, Rough, Right, Relational, Replicable? And what are the key learnings?

As I said before, we were able to hold the space for the participants to go through the journaling and reflection process about their prototypes successfully. However, I manifested to the rest of the members of the core team, that although at the personal level I felt that I had new revelations about my emerging future, I continued having the feeling that at the group level something was missing.

The Hikola Village

We felt that we had accomplished something meaningful in 2018, when with a little help from the universe, a core team of three people was able to obtain funds, forge alliances, and facilitate u.lab, a complex consciousness based systems change program, adapted to the Spanish language to three cohorts of change makers, totalling two hundred and twenty participants, 55% of whom developed prototypes of social change.

Ist Cohort Proyecto Hikola. Photo: @hborgespics

The Road Ahead

Now in 2019, we are integrating an extended team and trying to take this emerging organization to the next level, but we are lacking the funds that we need. Moreover, we have a different sense of direction and purpose depending on what member of the core team you ask to. Things get more complicated when you ask the members of our extended team. We look more like a giant ameba which keeps changing shape as new members come and go, which is navigating with the flow of a current that has turned violent at times by the force of the disruptions that we are experiencing. I honestly have felt at a loss sometimes…

…That is a way to look at it.

Nevertheless, we have always maintained our deep listening capacity tuned on, giving ourselves the opportunity to “let come” some new ideas and insights that will give form to complex concepts and processes.

Turning Weaknesses Into Strengths

In our case, the lack of structure that we were perceiving as a team weakness, was instead an open space permeable enough to allow an atmosphere of free participation, in which everyone had the freedom to develop their prototypes with the certainty that we would be holding that space for them. As time, new knowledge, and disruptions went by, we morphed into something more than a project, the Hikola Village turned out to be a sort of oasis in the desert for our change agents, who were thirsty of liberty, creativity, and innovation for developing their projects.

One example of this is Nathaly Briceño, one of the members of our extended team, who beautifully and succinctly summarized the Hikola Village concept.

“Our goal as the Híkola Village (breath of life in the Yanomami language) has been to build comprehensive visions of our political — social reality and our emotions as a country, analyze them and develop really innovative and comprehensive diagnoses that allow us to generate our own collective plans focused on our human development. For this we have worked on our consolidation — linking as a team, moving from co-detection to co-evolution with a clear vision, open heart and open will and understanding of our own role in a village of which we are part, through our personal and collective journeys”.

We, the inhabitants of this village, keep iterating, listening to what the field is whispering to us, speaking with key stakeholders, exploring new ideas, forging new alliances, looking for new sources of funds, creating new programs, detecting new needs, reaching out to the global u.lab-S community, and developing our prototypes within the context of a collective societal transformation journey.

May God bless us all.

Helio Borges

Republished with permission.

Featured Image/graphic link added by Enlivening Edge Magazine. Image by Mariangela Castro (Mary) from Pixabay