Applying Big Pictures to Big Problems

We’re an experiment-driven social action think tank 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 Social Action Community

We’re focused on catalyzing experimental social action. Our goal is to enable scholars, funders, leaders, analysts, entrepreneurs and others to apply Integrative Metatheories to discover the promising evolutionary acupuncture points—“Transformational Fulcrums”—inside any wicked context, problem or issue.

Our process is simple:

Ask any question about an important problem, issue or context

Fund small teams of scholars and experts to map the context of that question using integrative metatheory


Identify the possible high-leverage Transformational Fulcrums in the context, and conceptualize into small-scale action-learning experiments

Invite others to help us build or scale successful hypotheses


Integrative Epistemology Platform

Since 2020 we’ve been designing and developing the world’s first software platform for integrative epistemology, which has been designed to conceptualize dozens of metatheory paradigms in a single, socially-reflexive analytical workspace. Though it will take time for the full vision to be realized, it fuels our vision of a movement engaged in meta-practical social action. 

IAM teams can start mapping while we’re building the platform

We’ll support all comprehensive metatheories

Team behind the Institute:

Robb Smith
Robb is a social innovator who coined the term the Transformation Age and is a leader in integral philosophy and the global integrative metatheory movement. As CEO of Integral Life he advises entrepreneurs, executives and thought leaders on leading-edge innovation and applications of integral philosophy.
Bruce Alderman
Bruce Alderman, MA, is an affiliate faculty at John F. Kennedy University in the Consciousness and Transformative Studies and Holistic Counseling Psychology departments.
Josh Leonard
Josh Leonard is the Executive Director of the Institute for Cultural Evolution. He believes that solving all the other problems we face as a society—climate change, widening economic inequality, and mounting health crises—depends first on our ability to transcend (and include) the expanding polarization fueling our culture war and political strife.


A Primer on Metatheories


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.


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.


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.


IAM is a social action think tank conceptualizing the Integrative Metatheories into an integrative epistemology platform that can help subject-matter experts and financial stakeholders identify potential transformational fulcrums inside any wicked context in order to suggest potentially high-leverage social transformation experiments.

About Us

The Institute of Applied Metatheory is an international member-led social action think tank for the education and application of leading-edge integrative metatheories. 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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