Spiral Dynamics from Peter Koenig’s Source perspective


Individuals take the initiative and begin new endeavours with a vision and passion often rooted in power and dominance. The source relies on fear, coercion and force to enroll the ‘help’ of others, who get involved because the fear of non-compliance is greater than the fear of being involved. Sub-sources may sometimes feel they have no choice.


In many Blue-dominant cultures, God is seen as the ultimate source of all human endeavours. Human initiatives are seen as sub-initiatives of a master plan, to keep and follow the higher authority’s orders and promote a particular stance on right and wrong. There are strict rules and regulations giving people laws and codes of conduct which must be obeyed no matter what. Sacred texts provide guidance, reassurance and threats.


With Orange, the spiral swings back to an individualistic perspective, but unlike the purely primal needs of Red, Orange seeks self-betterment, achievement and autonomy.


Green attempts to address Orange’s shortcomings with a pluralistic perspective. Collectivist needs for equality and community take centre stage. Green seeks work/life balance and intrinsic motivation, finding fulfilment in the work itself, not just the rewards. Billionaires who made their fortunes in Orange gain deeper meaning in their lives by giving away their fortunes to philanthropic causes in their retirement years.


The transition from Green to Yellow marks a far larger leap than the steps before it. As individuals and organisations move to Yellow, they have access to all levels of the spiral that came before it. They have the opportunity to benefit from the positive sides of each level: The creativity, passion and adventure of Red; The sense of purpose, values and order (where order is useful) of Blue; The innovation, autonomy and self-betterment of Orange; and the community connection, equality, environmental sustainability and deeper fulfilment of Green. Yellow takes a systemic view of organisations and values adaptability and integration.

Turquoise (and beyond)

Organisational thinking can be transcended in Turquoise. Turquoise no longer sees stakeholders like Green does — as separate groups which need to be ‘aligned’. There is no absolute wall around an organisation. To Turquoise, all people and other life-forms exist in an infinitely complex and awe-inspiring web of interdependent connections.



Researching and working with founders to realise big ideas and keep the startup passion forever.

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Tom Nixon

Tom Nixon


Researching and working with founders to realise big ideas and keep the startup passion forever.