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StageLens - a digital tool for measuring ego development

Dr. Tom Murray

It was a pleasure describing the StageLens automated assessment technology to the IFIS attendees. I found the questions and conversation to be fruitful and I look forward to follow-up opportunities to dive deeper. Questions about the development of human consciousness and "wisdom maturity" are so important in our day, and though our tools for psychological measurement don't match the complexity of the phenomena, they and the theories of adult development that they are based on, can add important insights to questions about human capacity, organizational development, large scale social behavior, and civic/political conflict, collaboration, engagement, and dialogue. Now that we are beginning to see cost-effective high quality assessment technologies, which traditionally were limited to individual or executive team assessment, investigations can be scaled up to scan for patterns across organizations and populations. This brings up entirely new ethical and practical issues and inquiries. In addition to describing the StageLens artificial intelligence technology and the STAGES developmental model it uses, I engaged participants in discussing these emerging issues. For example, we can now scan for developmental patterns within a large organization, but exactly how does on interpret a developmental profile at the group level? Many theorists and practitioners in the field have intuitions or advice about this, but we actually have little real experience or best-practice principles worked out yet (as we do for individual-level developmental coaching reflection).

Another issue that came up was how to measure and theorize human development at the very highest levels ("Construct Aware" and above). Our automated scoring technology is not very accurate at those levels, but O'Fallon's STAGES system claims to be able to assess development at these levels. It is assessing *something* (and has been shown to have statistical reliability at these levels), but is it pointing to the same developmental phenomena that other system are pointing to at their highest levels? This is a fascinating topic for future discussion. Open Way Solutions is the company that offers the StageLens technology, and our mission is "to assess wisdom skills in individuals and groups using advanced technology to support the development of deep insight, broad perspectives, full compassion, and bold action." StageLens is just the beginning of what we foresee, and, for me, the "holy grail" of such technology would be to help us assess and reflect on "shadow material" at the group level. Though I work in the area of human development, I think it is more important to help people establish health, integrity, and integration within their existing developmental levels than to push forward into higher levels. Psychotherapy and contemplative practice tires to do this for individuals, but I believe we will need more tools for working at the collective level to meet our global challenges. Lets keep the inquiry going--we have just begun!


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