Adaptive Capacity is the ability to see, understand and influence patterns in human systems. In HSD, we think of it as the set of skills, abilities, and insights that build resilience and sustainability in individuals, couples, groups, organizations, and communities. Adaptive capacity depends on the ability to engage in ongoing and multiple cycles of Adaptive Action; the more a system is able to engage in those ongoing cycles, the more adaptive capacity is present within the system. We use these essential principles and metaphors of HSD, as they are described and applied throughout this Wiki site to work with people to build their individual or collective adaptive capacity.
These “essentials of HSD” form the core from which all other models and methods are derived. Building skills and comfort in the use of these ideas and concepts increases adaptive capacity.