MG Taylor Core Team
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"I have been exploring the elements of group genius since teaching my first class of second graders in 1963. This was a peak experience in creative genius for me, watching them bring ideas to reality in the most remarkable and unencumbered ways. Since then, my work has focused on discovering the how's of removing blocks to adult creativity --- not teaching creativity; releasing it.
My degree is in education from the University of Kansas and training in Montessori methods. In 1972, after teaching in public and Montessori schools for several years, I founded the Learning Exchange as a center where teachers could exchange ideas and rekindle their creativity and enthusiasm for teaching. The Learning Exchange became a successful, nationally recognized, community educational resource center now in its 27th year.
Matt and I met in 1976 and married in 1977. Together, we created MG Taylor corporation to develop processes, tools, and environments that support and facilitate the release of group genius to solve 'systemic' problems -- problems that a group cannot solve without engaging a larger system, of which they represent only one part. Working together, we have grown the enterprise, it's scope of influence and it's vision, deeply effecting thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations along the way.
We opened the Hilton Head knOwhere Store, market place for the network economy in 1997. Our son, Todd, stepped up to the responsibility of taking an idea and turning it into reality. Today, we have both the Hilton Head store and one in Palo Alto, California. Matt and I have recently relocated our 'home' to Palo Alto.
Sons, Jeff and Todd Johnston, both live in Silicon Valley. Todd has been with MG Taylor for over eight years. It has been an extraordinary experience to work with him. His ability to design, to play with ideas, to collaborate is delightful. Although I often glimpsed his gifts as he was growing up, to experience them directly is always fun and insightful to me. Unfolding and enfolding take on new meaning. Jeff, a knowledge worker since birth is at the Molecular Physics Laboratory, SRI International. By the age of ten he was collecting articles, doing research during the birthing of MG Taylor Corporation Although not officially with MG Taylor, he collaborates when he can. Our dreams together are to bring the MG Taylor processes to the scientific and policy-making communities.
Sailing Camelot, our 22-ton, 1960 teak, gaff-rigged ketch is another passion for both me and Matt. We have restored her and now the challenge is to find quality time to be sailing with her! Someday, we hope to live aboard and make many ports our home. She is a pleasurable exercise in collaborative design, from charting the course to executing a starboard tack that we share with colleagues and friends.
Matt Taylor is a designer, inventor, teacher, facilitator and entrepreneur. He has focused a forty-four year career on the application of architectural design to solving complex, systemic problems in organizational and epistemological frameworks - from business processes, tool-sets and software programs - to the design, construction and use of physical environments, and their component artifacts - including their fit with, and impact on, social-economic systems.
His theoretical foundation is based on the principles of organic architecture and the sciences of general systems theory, cybernetics and complex adaptive systems. He has made a lifelong study of the human creative process and how individual and group creativity is augmented by the artful integration of technology, environment and work processes.
The sum of his work is currently a System and Method (co-invented with Gail Taylor) which resides in pending status with the United States Patent Office.
He is a cofounder and currently holds positions in the following companies:
MG Taylor Corporation CEO and President
knOwhere Inc. Network Member and Board Member
Athenaeum International (AI) Design Principal and Board Member
Yolke Incorporated Vice President and Board Member
iterations Principal and Board Member
These companies form a synergy that embodies the patent-pending System and Method in an operational ability to deal with complexity, the rate of change and the requisite-variety problem. These companies provide goods, products and services - related to collaborative, high-performance environments and the creation of working ValueWeb® structures - to organizations of all types and sizes all over the world.
Matt is an instructor at the San Francisco Institute of Architecture and principal in its associated practice.
He has served as a board member and advisor to startup software companies including Consensus, Incorporated and NetDeva.
His personal client facilitation and knowledge-transfer practice includes work with with organizations as diverse as Knight Ridder, HP, Electronic Arts, the Foresight Institute, ETS, Detroit Edison, Borgess Health Care, Continuum Health Care, National Institute of Supply Chain Integration (Chrysler, Honda, Harley Davidson, Proctor and Gamble, etc.), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, US Air Force, National Car Rental, BP, Budget, Warner Lambert, HyperCar, Ernst & Young, Herman Miller, Capital Holding Corporation, General Motors, the Independent Bankers Association and the US Army.
He has published extensively on a web site at www.matttaylor.com providing over 2,000 pages of documentation, designs and position papers.
Further biographical information is available at here.
I have been working with MG Taylor since early '92, embracing a wide range of roles and responsibilities over this time, consistantly amazed at the depth and grace that imbues the organization's philosophy and practice. After three and a half years in Hilton Head in which I served as knOwhere Host and General Manager, I relocated to Mountain View, California in the fall of 1998. Here on the West Coast, I'm enjoying the Northern California lifestyle and continuing to find new roles within the MG Taylor organization. Process design has become a passion, and I've stepped up to more and more lead facilitation as well. DNA transfer, meme building, and context setting are 'meta' roles I enjoy with the knOwhere team, as well as the network of knowledge workers that is emerging in the PA knOwhere community. I have also been stewarding the website recently and am looking foward to a more active period of cotent development and publishing.
Self described as "an informal writer, occassional poet, deep thinker, eternal optimist, lover of music and animals and road trips and wild imaginations," I also enjoy world travel, the outdoors, golf, my hammock, and my cats.
Primary Roles:Being the glue and the ear to the ground, or to quote one of our founders, being "the corporate fuse box". Specifics include client interaction; contracts; calendar crunching; at events - music facilitation, environment, proofing, editing. Whatever it takes"
How you got involved with MGT/KNO/AI:
Catching lines for sailing vessel Camelot's arrival to Hilton Head Island in 1991 provided me with the opportunity to first meet her owners, Matt & Gail Taylor. Over several years I ran into them more often, until one morning I found myself in their infamous Sea Loft, taking a call from them (safely ensconced hundreds of miles away on Camelot). My side of the conversation - "Scuzzy cord? What does a scuzzy cord look like? Nope, not kidding - remember, no previous experience with computers. Hard to believe in this day and age isn't it? Hmmm...grey, plug at either end. OK, I'll give it my best." Everyone, including the computer, survived. Scuzzies became SCSIs, I have moved from the Loft and now call the Hilton Head knOwhere my home, where I continue to engage in the wider MG Taylor arena while being part of the local knOwhere community.
A favorite story / experience:
Coming around the corner at a DesignShop event to find the catering chef on the floor helping the crew stuff 50 FedEx packages with deliverables so we could beat the pick up time. He intuitively understood the importance of a ValueWebĘ team!
Other bio info (background, interests, travels, oddities...) ...
childhood alumni; player of music; biker chick; professional athlete & coach; finder of solutions; stitcher of leather; skywatcher; teacher; student; collector of teeth and knives; reader; lover of good food and healthy laughter... Personal vision / mission: Time and circumstances make this complex and fluid. The algorithm is incompressible. I strive to reach a fitness peak and excellence in whatever I am doing in order to support what I find appropriate over time.
I tend to distinguish my WorkLife in three phases 1) my days in Michigan, 2) exploring and working in the global marketplace, and 3) my MG Taylor Corporation experience.
Growing up in Kalamazoo, MI and attending the University of Michigan planted the seeds for my WorkLife journey. In Kalamazoo I learned the joy of being surrounded with family, a strong community, and a network of peers and friends. During college, this community and network became more diverse with different religions and cultures with students from other states and social-economic backgrounds.
After college, I passed on entering a traditional workplace in order to continue to learn about new systems, cultures, and ways of working. Working six months in Ireland at a hotel, teaching English for one year in Japan, and spending a month on a journalism project in Russia will always be seminal adventures.
From the moment I entered the MG Taylor knOwhere store, everything I had explored and experienced from birth at Borgess Hospital to the banks of the Volga River suddenly crystallized into a systemic whole and purpose. During my 3 years with MG Taylor I have discovered that humane, dynamic work environments, culture and process, and tools and technologies do not have to exist independently of one another. And they can flourish within high-level business ventures. Bringing passion, innovation, discipline, knowledge, productivity, and more is not a cause of the new economy it is not lost in the old economy it is present in the entire economy. Our "job" is to liberate it.
In my past role as apprentice to founder Matt Taylor, and in my current role in developing and facilitating the creation of Navigation Centers inside large complex organizations, I have learned a tremendous amount about Enterprise. Foremost in mind is the fact that no one or two individuals, or groups of individuals, can transform an organization can change a culture. However, one or two individuals, or groups of individuals, can create a new, dynamic way of working can create a new organization or culture. And, if done elegantly, within a team's intellectual and financial boundaries, these individuals will attract other individuals, and a larger pool of intellectual and financial resources, into the emerging Enterprise. At the Borgess Navigation Center and the Detroit Edison Learning Zone, this strategy is "happening." During my next phase of WorkLife, I hope to collaborate in more similarly unique and rewarding ventures.
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