Prosocial is the first change method based on evolutionary science to enhance cooperation and collaboration for groups of all types and sizes that’s effective at a global scale.

People use words such as “evolve” and “adapt” all the time when talking about the need for positive change. Prosocial is the only change method that actually uses the latest developments in evolutionary science to achieve its goals.

While evolutionary science focuses on adaptations of individuals and groups over time, it also provides a set of practical tools to help groups of all sorts function better and adapt to ever-changing environments.

Prosocial harnesses these tools in an evidence-based method for increasing motivation, satisfaction and productivity among group members in many contexts.  The method is a powerful approach to improving outcomes for groups of all sizes and can help groups work with other groups to expand the scale of positive change--ultimately to the scale of the whole earth.

Our interactive course, taken with the help of a facilitator, will start you and your group on this path. You can also forge your own path to positive change by becoming a facilitator and joining a worldwide community to catalyze greater harmony in all walks of life.

The Prosocial Path

Our interactive course for groups will clarify their purpose and create alignment around their goals and values--even in the presence of competing interests among members.

Facilitator Training

Anyone who works with groups can become a trained Prosocial facilitator, adding to their existing toolkit. Prosocial is designed to complement, not compete, with other change methods.  

A Worldwide Community

Working together, we can evolve our methods and create positive change on a global scale, starting with single groups and multi-group cultural ecosystems.

Our new book is out now!

"The book is a welcomed practical and well-documented guide for people interesting in lifting up the capability and competence of a group to be more productive, equitable and collaborative.”

Jane Dutton, PhD

Professor Emerita of Business Administration and Pschology and author of Awakening Compassion at Work

“Prosocial helps feuding individuals figure out their common purpose and gives warring factions the means to cooperate. Anyone who has ever tried to solve a burning conflict within or between groups should read this book.”

Susan Pinker

Psychologist, a behavioral science columnist at the Wall Street Journal, and the author of The Sexual Paradox and The Village Effect

"A powerful, simple but new perspective, part what to do, mostly how to do it, on the big question. It’s always been make or break for our species. Somehow it’s looming ever larger: 'How can I be for myself, but also for others and our world?'"

Nicholas Gruen, PhD

Visiting professor, Kings College London Policy Institute, CEO of Lateral Economics. Author of The Public Goods of the 21st Century (forthcoming)

Positive Change as Managed Evolution

Evolution isn’t just about genes. Everything that we call personal and cultural change is also a form of evolution, which can be understood with the same conceptual toolkit that has proven itself for the study of genetic evolution.

But evolution doesn’t make everything nice. It frequently results in behaviors that benefit me but not you, us but not them, or our short-term but not our long-term goals. Also, adaptations to past environments can become mismatched to current and future environmental conditions.

This means that virtually all positive change efforts can be seen as the wise management of evolutionary processes so that they become aligned with our current environments and normative goals.

The first step of the Prosocial Path helps groups and their members take charge of their evolution, expanding their repertoire of behaviors (variation) for overcoming obstacles and working toward their valued goals (selection).

Core and Auxiliary Design Principles

Groups can be much more effective than individuals at accomplishing positive change--but only if they are structured in the right way. Inspired by the Nobel-prize winning work of the political scientist Elinor Ostrom, the second step of the Prosocial Path teaches eight core design principles that all groups need to function well, plus auxiliary design principles that are needed by some groups but not others to reach their particular objectives.

Not only can these principles forge your group into a highly cooperative unit, but they can also be used to create cooperative relationships with other groups. Once a meta-group becomes a highly cooperative unit, it can cooperate with other meta-groups, all the way up to a global scale. It really is possible to think globally, act locally, and also act globally in this multi-level fashion!

Hitting the Ground Running a Marathon

The third step of the Prosocial Path is to “hit the ground running” with short-term goals that the group formulates on the basis of the first two steps. However, the Prosocial Path does not end with the first three steps. Our intention is to work with groups over the long term to track their success and develop their relationships with other groups. In this fashion, Prosocial groups score early successes and keep on going to achieve their long-term goals.

Assessment and Scientific Research

Not only does Prosocial draw upon the latest advances in evolutionary science, but it also employs the most rigorous scientific methods to assess the progress of each group and to further improve our own techniques for accomplishing positive change in real-world settings. We regard our groups and facilitators as full partners in our continuing quest for knowledge, in the spirit of Participatory Action Research.

The first three steps of the Prosocial Path can be completed in three sessions or a full-day workshop. The process is interactive and tailored to your group’s specific needs.

Facilitator training can take place online or in workshops that are starting to be held around the world.

Prosocial developers, facilitators, and their groups work together to expand the use of Prosocial in multiple contexts and at multiple scales.

Who is Prosocial for?

Business teams in all kinds of settings. Our method plays well alongside Agile and many other management practises.

Self-organising groups, such as community groups, political movements, non-hierarchical groups with complex structures.

Organisations with several groups. Coordination with other groups is one of our core principles and integral to the method.

Groups in conflict. Prosocial is designed to balance conflicting interests and align members around a shared purpose.

Groups expanding. Our method helps clearly outline goals and internal processes, making it easier to onboard newcomers.

Newly-formed groups.
Prosocial is the ideal first step for any new group, building a strong foundation from day one.

I feel empowered on a more macro and micro level to more actively promoting prosocial ideals.

Prosocial workshop attendee, Reno, NV

Case studies

The science behind our method

Prosocial was born out of our desire to use science to create a positive impact in the daily lives of people everywhere. Our practises are firmly grounded in scientific theory and research, and we are also continuously researching Prosocial itself, strengthening our evidence and our methods. Our framework is derived  from three bodies of research:

CONTEXTUAL BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE (CBS)
CBS refers to the applied study of behavior in the context of everyday life, including behavioral, cognitive, and mindfulness-based therapeutic and training techniques.
POLITICAL SCIENCE AND ECONOMICS
Lead Prosocial developer David Sloan Wilson worked with Elinor Ostrom for three years to generalise her core design principles approach and turn it into a practical change method.
EVOLUTIONARY Science
Modern evolutionary science provides the general theoretical framework for integrating CBS, political science and economics, and other branches of science that are typically isolated from each other.

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