An Introduction to the Confluence Toolset


  • Cynthia Kurtz Independent consultant


Confluence, self-organization, complexity, organization, planning, group exercise, decision making, decision support, sensemaking, brainstorming, mapping


How do complex patterns affect our lives, families, teams, communities, organizations, and societies? What are the practical implications of self-organization as it intermingles and interacts with our intentional actions? Confluence is a set of thinking tools and a group exercise designed to help all of us make sense of how the twin forces of self-organization (spontaneous patterns) and organization (purposeful plans) flow together through the situations we face and the decisions we make. In this paper, the author introduces the concept and purpose of Confluence and illustrates its use with a worked example that employs all seven tools in the Confluence toolset. The author hopes to help more people learn how to use and benefit from Confluence, and to build a community that will continue to refine and improve it in the future.