SD in Action

Did Dr. Graves come up with the name, “Spiral Dynamics?”

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No. The term was coined several years after Dr. Graves’ death in 1986. Before we began using “Spiral Dynamics,” we called it Value Systems Theory and Coping Systems. The trademark was registered in 1999. The motivation for the name change was both the need for a title for the book, and a recognition that the earlier labels did not resonate as well as we’d hoped. There had always been confusion between values and value systems and, despite its accuracy, coping systems suggests just getting by.

Graves referred to his theory in several ways: the emergent, cyclical point of view; emergent cyclical theory; or emergent, cyclical levels of existence theory. In our work, we frequently use ECLET™. The full name can be expressed as “the emergent, cyclical, double-helix model of adult biopsychosocial systems development.”

SPIRAL DYNAMICS® is the brand and trademark that refers to NVCC’s trainings, consulting, assessments, products and services. These are based on the spiral-like nature of the emergent systems as illustrated in many of Dr. Graves’s diagrams, and to the dynamic energy of the process.

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