Stewardship (Collaborative Decentred Metagovernance and Inquiring Systems)

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Series: Collaborative Decentred Metagovernance and Inquiring Systems

This book is the first in a series of books is designed to define cumulatively the contours of collaborative decentred metagovernance. At this time, there is still no canonical version of this paradigm: it is en émergence. This series intends to be one of many ‘construction sites’ to experiment with various dimensions of an effective and practical version of this new approach.

Metagovernance is the art of combining different forms or styles of governance, experimented with in the private, public and volunteer sectors, to ensure effective coordination when power, resources and information are widely distributed, and the governing is of necessity decentred and collaborative.

The series invites conceptual and practical contributions focused on different issue domains, policy fields, causes célèbres, functional processes, etc. to the extent that they contribute to sharpening the new apparatus associated with collaborative decentred metagovernance.

In the last few decades, there has been a need felt for a more sophisticated understanding of the governing of the private, public and social sectors: for less compartmentalization among sectors that have much in common; and for new conceptual tools to suggest new relevant questions and new ways to carry out the business of governing, by creatively recombining the tools of governance that have proved successful in all these sectors. These efforts have generated experiments that have been sufficiently rich and wide-ranging in the various laboratories of life to warrant efforts to pull together what we know at this stage.

This first volume in the series attempts to scope out, in a provisional way, the sort of general terrain we are going to explore. It is not meant to impose boundaries or orthodoxies, but only to loosely identify the horizons and the frontiers, as we perceive them at the time of launching this journey. Horizons and frontiers are to us not ways to limit the inquiries, but rather invitations to all forms of transgression.




  • What is collaborative decentred metagovernance?
  • A work in progress
  • A preview of the contents
  • Envoi

Chapter 1 — Foundations

Gilles Paquet

  • A new mindset
  • Assumptions
  • Key concepts
  • Stewardship as process
  • Automatic pilot and collibration
  • Putting all this together

Chapter 2 — Inquiring Systems

Gilles Paquet and Christopher Wilson

  • Introduction
  • The underlying conceptual framework: sound, but in need of improvement .
  • Inquiring systems as heuristics and affordances
  • Collaborative decentred metagovernance as inquiring systems
  • Stewardship: self-governance, collibration and collaboration .
  • A word of warning
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3 — Scheming Virtuously

Gilles Paquet

  • Introduction
  • Inquiring system as design challenge
  • Tasks to be tackled
  • Phases in the crystallization of inquiring systems
  • The ethical corridor
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4 — The New Frontier

Ruth Hubbard and Gilles Paquet

  • Introduction
  • Inquiring systems, social learning and safe-fail mechanisms
  • Healthcare
  • Productivity and innovation
  • Conclusion

Chapter 5 — Metagovernance Review

Ruth Hubbard and Gilles Paquet

  • Introduction
  • A new basic unit of analysis
  • The new cosmology
  • A framework
  • Two cases
  • Lessons learned
  • Conclusions



  • The power of denial
  • No need for undue pessimism
  • Developmental evaluation as a point of entry
  • The requisite variety and collaboration imperatives
  • In praise of humility


Authors: Gilles Paquet Ruth Hubbard Christopher Wilson

Stewardship  Quality paperback 2012, 5.5 x8” 151pp,

ISBN: 978-0-9877575-4-8 $15.95
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