Applying Big Pictures to Big Problems

We’re an applied philosophy network formed from the belief that the world’s largest problems and most difficult questions are not considered with the Big Picture complexity needed to see their transformational potential.

A learning organisation

A Social Innovation Community

We’re focused on catalyzing novel social experimentation through the penetrating insights generated by Big Picture integrative metatheories. Our goal is to enable scholars, funders, leaders, analysts, entrepreneurs and others to apply Integrative Metatheories to discover promising evolutionary acupuncture points inside any wicked context, problem or issue.

Our process is simple: 


Ask any question or notice any blindspot in an important problem, issue or context


Organize small teams of scholars and experts to apply IMs to that issue or context


Look for penetrating insights or high-leverage Transformational Fulcrums in the context, and conceptualize into new domain-specific toolkits or innovations


Invite others to experiment with these insights and toolkits in order to generate novel social transformation

More inclusive philosophy

Integrative Epistemology Platform

IAM has partnered with Context, the world’s first software platform for AI-augmented integrative epistemology and context mapping, providing IAM’s issue-mapping teams with a novel, powerful tool for generating penetrating insights into a current problem domain. 

Funding penetrating insights

The IAM Foundation

IAM Foundation, Inc. was established in 2023 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization to provide seed grant funding, education and support for research and innovation of targeted, high-priority issues by IAM network investigators or teams. The IAM Foundation aims to be supported by world-class donors sharing our vision of and commitment to the potential for Big Pictures to transform some of our most intractable challenges.

Big pictures to get above complexity

A Primer on Metatheories

1. What most people think of as science is what metatheorists call “middle-range” theory. A theory of gravitation, or political preferences, or international trade deficits, are all theories that start with real-world phenomena as their “data”.  A theory then tries to create an explanatory model for why reality gives us that data.

2. Metatheory sits “above” theory. Where theory takes real-world phenomena as its “data”, metatheory takes the theories themselves as its “data”, helping to provide a bigger, more coherent picture of a given knowledge domain.

3. Integrative Metatheories take that even further, attempting to synthesize the highest-order Big Pictures that might organize all theories, from all domains, and thereby simplify (but not reduce) the complexity into knowledge that’s more usable but better matched to the real complexity of the 21st century.

4. IAM is an applied philosophy network conceptualizing the Integrative Metatheories into problem-specific insights and toolkits that can help subject-matter experts and/or financial stakeholders generate novel social transformation in their domains.

About Us

The Institute of Applied Metatheory is an international applied philosophy network dedicated to the education and application of “big picture” philosophical systems known as integrative metatheories. In conjunction with our nonprofit IAM Foundation, we provide scholars, practitioners and organizations with the resources and support they need to advance integrative metatheory and apply it to promising evolutionary leverage points to promote human flourishing in the 21st century.

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