About Our Lab

    Science + Humanity.

    Build an Adaptive Learning Organization

    Our VMCL

    We ‘eat our own dog food.’ In our book Flock Not Clock, we describe the four functions of an adaptive organization (Vision, Mission, Capacity, Learning or VMCL). We use these four functions to lead and manage our research lab. We also help others to develop VMCLs for their own organizations. Like what you see? Let us help you craft and hone a laser-focused VMCL that gets everyone and everything in alignment.


    8 Billion+ Systems Thinkers.

    Our Vision (V)

    Our Vision is something we see as possible in the future. We work on our Mission everyday to bring about this Vision. We're committed to our audacious vision to create 8 Billion Systems Thinkers. Thinking is foundational to future success in every domain: creativity & problem solving; new scientific discoveries, products & services; individual & organizational learning; education & business success; communications, and; even democracy itself. Research also reveals that there are hundreds of crises in the world today, and all of these crises stem from a single 'root' crisis: the crisis of cognition. In other words, a crisis in how we think. We need to think differently. Solving the root crisis means that Systems Thinking becomes the new norm and 8 Billion Systems Thinkers becomes possible. "Leaders stand in the future and describe what they see. 8 Billion+ Systems Thinkers...it's what we SEE.
    8 Billion Systems Thinkers (500 × 250 px)


    Push. Facilitate. Motivate.

    Our Mission (M)

    We do our Mission everyday to bring about our Vision. Our Mission logos (three learning curves) symbolizes the everyday work we do to "Push. Facilitate. Motivate." We Push the scientific and research frontiers, constantly striving to discover new knowledge at the cutting-edge of basic and applied research in our field. We then ensure fidelity of this scientific knowledge as we help to build public understanding, capacity, and impact. To do this we: (1) Facilitate better thinking so that, "when the learning curve is steep, we flatten it." We make learning high-fidelity, empirically-based systems thinking is easier; and (2) Motivate better thinking such that, "when we can’t flatten the learning curve, we motivate people to climb it." Sometimes, we can't make it easier, but we can show people why it is worth the effort and get them over the steepest sections of the learning curve. Push, Facilitate, Motivate...it's what we DO.

    Mission-critical system of systems

    Capacity (C)

    We develop Mission-critical capacity by working everyday to ensure that we have the right energy in the right place to serve our Mission everyday. We've developed a system of systems that are hyperfocused on Mission and Mission Moments.

    Continuously improve mental models

    Learning (L)

    We are an agile, adaptive, learning organization. We build and evolve mental models. We know that thinking differently, is the crux of all individual and organizational learning and of insight, innovation, and invention.

    Shared mental models

    Our Culture Code

    Our Culture Code is a uniquely balanced blend of opposites that, along with VMCL, act as the simple rules that provide for the kind of emergent properties we want in an organization: Self-organizing, trusting, spontaneous, effective, responsible. 


    3 Labs in 1 with 4 Research Focus Areas

    About Our Research

    Born at Cornell University, Cabrera Research Lab (CRL) drives basic and applied research, innovation, and public understanding in Systems Thinking, Systems Mapping, Systems Leadership, and Systems Science. Our Mission-Vision is to Push, Facilitate, and Motivate 7 Billion Systems Thinkers. We look for projects that bridge our scientific research with real-world, practical, everyday experience. We work with excellent teams of excellent people. We don't just think the theories, we build real stuff that makes lives better and increases human potential and organizational effectiveness. 

    In a nutshell, this means we study thinking and how it parallels reality. Einstein had three importance things to say about thinking.


    3 Labs in 1

    4 Research Focus Areas


    Our Founding Faculty

    Derek Cabrera

    Derek Cabrera, PhD

    An internationally known author and systems scientist and serves on the faculty of Cornell University and the Board of Advisors DSE at the US Military Academy at West Point...

    Laura Cabrera

    Laura Cabrera, PhD

    An expert in research methods and systems thinking, Laura serves on the faculty of Cornell University where she teaches systems thinking, mapping, and leadership...