Sea Change Design Institute

We work with leaders and organizations to co-design
positive, profound, and regenerative transformations.

Transforming by Design

Design is conscious planning and meaningful action creating relationship with humanity, nature, spirit, and time, in service of life.

The Great Transition

Our world is in the midst of a phenomenal metamorphosis. Everything is being called into question—and anything is possible. It's a good time to know how to design sea changes.

This is an interstitial age. We exist in a transitional era defined as much by evolution as by extinction. In this crucible of possibilities, old paradigms are disintegrating while a new worldview is birthing. We are in the paradoxical space of becomingness with creativity as our midwife. What great transition stories will we co-design in order to thrive?

Meta-conditions are pervasive and persuasive. There are five primary conditions that are influencing our worldview on all levels—from the personal and professional to the planetary:

Separation. Whole human beings design inclusive, collaborative, and cooperative relationships that transcend the illusion of isolation. What’s inevitable when we embrace the integral nature of the universe?

Speed. Balanced human beings design with time, generating successful outcomes that flow within the accelerating pace of our world. What’s possible when we orient ourselves from the still point?

Change. Resilient human beings design regenerative systems that emerge from rigidity or domination. What’s viable when we understand the advantage of adaptability?

Complexity. Discerning human beings design to make sense, meaning, and simplicity. What’s attainable when we decipher the dynamic patterns at work?

Chaos. Creative human beings design beauty and order from overwhelming circumstances and catastrophes. What’s conceivable when we form ideas from a greater context?

Global forces are in flux. Massive systems crises are occurring in at least six areas: climate, population, security, technology, finance, and globalization. Planetary life supports are in extreme peril including water, land, and biosphere breakdown. Yet many promising structural alternatives, initiatives, and movements are arising, like the circular economy, biomimicry, the industrial internet, and more.

In order to shift our perception of reality, we need to re-align our behaviors, mindsets, emotions, and spiritual awareness. In order to respond to global forces with resilience, we need to proactively and intentionally design sea changes.

The source of our global distress is human dysfunction and disconnection; at the transformative core remains this question: How can we evolve our consciousness, our society, and our institutions in relationship to the Earth? At its furthest frontier, design generates new ways of being and shifts in consciousness. I know that together we can design the critical sea changes that our world needs.

Lauralee Alben
Founder, Sea Change Design Institute®

This is the era of water. Our planetary water crisis is an interstitial confluence of extremes: Deluge and drought, commodity and commons, sacredness and scarcity, life and death. Yet despite all odds a plethora of organizations and efforts are emerging to address the spiritual, cognitive, emotional, and physical aspects of water. These include Blue Mind, Global Interfaith WASH Alliance,, and The Ocean Project. For 18 years, we have used the Sea Change Design Process℠ to engage in inspiring efforts like these.

The Sea Change Design Institute is a sanctuary. We are a gathering place where you can gain respite and renewal. And, as our world transitions from one era to another, we invite you to join us as courageous co-creators and compassionate collaborators. We are uniquely primed to serve at the intersection of creativity, society, ecology, consciousness, and evolution. During this Great Transition on Earth, we are committed to a flow of transformation that presences the evolutionary potential of life—living—and love.

When we approach our problems on a universal, general systems basis and progressively eliminate the irrelevancies, somewhat as we peel petals from an artichoke, at each move we leave in full visibility the next most important layer of factors with which we must deal. We gradually uncover you and me in the heart of now.

R. Buckminster Fuller

Our Process

The living system of the ocean provides a fluid design framework, connecting our world and the web of life into one interrelated whole.

The Sea Change Design Process is a contextual, participatory approach, designed to surface emergent solutions, strategies and systems that respond to the challenges and opportunities we face today on Earth. When we apply Sea Change Design to our lives, businesses, society, and the environment, new ways of being emerge, and we generate sea changes—transformations both rich and relevant.

We use water mimicry to co-design with the four-billion-year-old wisdom of the sea. Our process, based on this living system, is informed by the ocean’s majestic and mysterious movements—the winds of the atmosphere, the surface of the ocean and its flowing currents, and the circulating deep water below the surface. Through endless ocean swells, forces are constantly at work shaping and changing the planet. Like the ocean alters the land, design affects our lives.

Our ocean-inspired process features four cycles: Intention, Context, Relationship, and Flow. Together, we use intention to design the sea changes you want, well before they actually take place. We apply systems thinking to help you clearly see and synthesize the context of your challenges and opportunities. We design powerful currents that connect your actions, products, and services in relevant and meaningful ways to your partners, society, and the world. And we direct a sustainable flow of results that positively impacts profitability, social equity, the environment, and design integrity, to strengthen your purpose and place in the world.

Our methodology combines the fields of design, deep ecology, and spirituality. Our approach differs fundamentally from the reductive, analytical, mechanistic paradigm of the past. Our point of view is that, in this time of Great Transition, design is needed to create relationships—engendering a holistic worldview based on the interconnected and interdependent nature of all phenomenon. Once consciousness shifts, all manner of miracles are possible.

How can the Sea Change Design Process generate a flow of desirable results for you? Let’s explore together. Read more about our process in Navigating a Sea Change. [PDF]

Experiencing the Sea Change Design Process has shifted not only how I approach my work, but also how I approach my life. It forces participants to challenge underlying assumptions; to examine the inter-relatedness of products, services, relationships, and actions; and to consider outcomes from a worldview rather than a corporate or personal view. This is the most powerful planning process I’ve ever experienced.

Patsy Tinsley McGill, Ph.D.
Professor, Strategic Management, CSUMB
Former VP of Education and Outreach, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Connect with us


Sea Change Design Institute
317 Arroyo Seco
Santa Cruz CA
95060 USA

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