Binary Actions to Manage Adaptive Environments


Binary actions are two synchronized actions that expand businesses while they ensure their results. They were developed to manage the evolution of adaptive environments by managing actions to install maximal strategies to grow and minimum strategies to ensure results.

Binary actions empower the value of processes while they diminish their costs. They use catalysts to expand the boundaries of solutions and business objects to accelerate processes and ensure their functionality. 

The research developed at The Unicist Research Institute demonstrated that any adaptive system and environment (living being or artificial construction) is driven by binary actions. Some examples will help to grasp the idea:

  1. The active function and the energy conservation function of the intelligence of a tree drive its growth and survival.
  2. Lift and propulsion make airplanes take-off and fly.
  3. The cover and the back-cover define the functionality of the packaging of a book.
  4. The music and the lyrics of a song define its aesthetics.

Universally known examples of binary action are:

  • Efficacy + Efficiency = Effectiveness
  • Empathy + Sympathy = Personal influence
  • Participation + Power = Leadership
  • Marketing + Sales = New customers
  • Productivity + Quality = Value generation

The use of binary actions to manage adaptive environments is a must. This implies profiting from the influence of the context and/or building the necessary binary actions that allow influencing without generating reactions. It requires understanding a specific system, which is described by the unicist ontological structure that defines its functionality.


“For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This is a law of physics that also applies to social and business behavior. The popular name for this reaction is “change resistance”. If this reaction were unavoidable, there would be no other possibility of doing different things than by exerting the necessary power to overcome the reactions. But this solution does not work in social and business environments; or at least it cannot be used systematically.

Fortunately, the discovery that human adaptive actions are driven by the concept people have, showed a way to introduce changes by developing maximal and minimum strategy actions that fit into the purpose of the concept people have. These actions are what we named unicist binary actions that avoid reactions when they are designed to fit into the functionality of what needs to be done.

As adaptive environments are evolving, they require using a strategic approach, which includes maximal strategies to grow and minimum strategies to ensure results. Binary actions are the actions that transform these two strategies into results. 

Managing Adaptive Systems and Environments

Working with adaptive systems and environments requires developing synchronized actions that include maximal strategy actions to grow and minimum strategy actions to ensure results. Perhaps it needs to be clarified that adaptive systems are those that are dominantly feedback dependent.

When the results of a system depend on biunivocal relationships with the environment, the system is open and it is necessary to manage the concepts of what is being done and developing what we have named unicist binary actions to develop actions with a maximal strategy to grow and a minimum strategy to ensure survival.

Dualistic Actions vs. Unicist Binary Actions

  • Dualistic actions are functional in controlled environments. (1 actor, 1 action)
  • Unicist binary actions are necessary in adaptive environments (1 actor, 2 synchronized actions)
The universal rule is that the Action 1 expands the boundaries of a process and the Action 2 drives the results assurance.

Dualistic actions are “solitaire” actions to influence the environment to produce results. They are functionally valid in controlled environments where the cause-effect relationships are being managed.

Dualistic actions are such because they integrate the actor and the action. These dualistic solitaire actions in adaptive environments generate spontaneous reactions that inhibit their functionality. These reactions adopt different shapes according to the environment.

Unicist binary actions integrate the actor with two synchronized actions including, on the one hand, the maximal strategy to foster growth and, on the other hand, the minimum strategy to ensure survival.

Unicist binary actions respond to the needs of the nature of what is being managed and therefore generate no reactions.

“Half a table is an expensive heap of wood”. Dualistic actions in adaptive environments are half a table, they generate costs and do not generate results.

It has to be considered that dualistic solitaire actions are installed in the fallacious myths of many cultures and environments. The saying “you didn’t try hard enough” implicitly fosters univocal dualistic actions to generate results, which is valid in controlled systems but fallacious in adaptive environments.

Dualistic actions are unavoidable in over-adapted environments, when the concepts of what is being done are unknown or when the individuals who develop these actions are marginals.

Unicist Binary Actions (UBAs) to Manage Adaptiveness

Influencing adaptive environments requires the development of simultaneous binary actions to influence each adaptive function of the environment.

It requires defining the ontogenetic maps of the functions that are involved, their maximal and minimum strategies, and developing the consequent UBAs to ensure the generation of results.

The adaptive behavior of social and institutional environments is homologous to the behavior of nature. Their ontogenetic maps have a triadic structure that requires going beyond dualistic thinking using the unicist logic and developing UBAs.

The use of unicist logic allows emulating the structure of adaptive systems to develop UBAs to manage their dynamics and evolution.

Double dialectical reasoning allows individuals to apprehend and manage the concepts and fundamentals of adaptive environments to influence them by developing UBAs that include the use of catalysts.

This has to happen within the scope of what is possible to be achieved and following the evolutionary synchronicity. The use of UBAs in adaptive environments requires the use of catalyzing objects and has to occur within the limits of a functional wide context.

A Precedent of Binary Actions in Business: The Du Pont Method

The Unicist Conceptual Management of adaptive environments is based on the use of maximal strategies to expand and grow and minimum strategies to ensure results and survive.

This implies developing two synchronized actions to ensure the generation of value.

These actions were named unicist binary actions because they are based on the unicist logic that allows dealing with adaptive environments. The original Du Pont Formula is a precedent of how these UBAs are measured.

The Du Pont formula, developed in 1920, implies the existence of unicist binary actions and is a precedent of the mathematics that allows measuring their functionality.

The Use of Binary Actions

Binary actions are needed to develop solutions in adaptive environments. These actions are counterintuitive for adults. They require approaching the world by accessing the functionality of a solution, which requires being driven by the requirements of the environment and not beginning by the comfort zone of the present situation.

Therefore their use requires having a deep understanding of the environment and its possibilities.

Step 1)
The Use of Catalyzing Binary Actions

The implementation of solutions requires beginning by installing catalysts that might exist in the restricted context of an activity or might be built. In complex adaptive environments it is necessary to begin by installing external catalysts that make a new solution possible.

The catalyzing binary actions cover the latent needs of the environment and of the people involved. That is why they drive an environment to its next stage. Without catalysts the existing comfort zone prevails and the introduction of a new solution fails.

These catalysts are sustained by the gravitational force that sustains the solution that is being catalyzed and implemented because the implementers have the necessary knowledge and authoritative role to propose a solution.

Step 2)
The Use of Binary Actions of the Maximal Strategy

Maximal strategies foster growth by expanding the boundaries of an adaptive system. Its binary actions foster the expansion based on the structural needs of the environment while it provides an internal catalyst for the minimum strategy actions that ensure the results.

They are based on the catalyst that has been introduced and their actions need to fit into the expansive functions of the concept of an activity.

It requires to fit into the concept people have. They cannot work if the concept of an activity is unknown, because people cannot see the solution as meaningful.

The binary actions are adaptive actions that work when they fit into the structural needs of the environment and the people involved. They are defined by the fundamentals that drive the functionality of the environment.

Step 3)
The Use of Binary Actions of the Minimum Strategy

The purpose of a minimum strategy in nature is to ensure survival, while in social and business environment it provides the assurance of results. To ensure results the binary actions of the minimum strategy need to manage the urgent needs of the adaptive environment that is being managed.

It requires defining the urgent needs which are driven by the dysfunctionality of the fundamentals of a business. These fundamentals need to be functional with the gravitational force that sustains the business. Unfulfilled urgent needs introduce discomfort in the comfort zone of a business which is frequently accompanied by the denial of the true problem that is being faced.

The binary actions need to expand the boundaries of the solution ensuring the functionality of the fundamentals of an adaptive environment and paying the prices that need to be paid to ensure the achievement of results.

Step 4)
The Use of Binary Actions of the Essential Function

The management of the binary actions of the essential function is an integration of the binary actions 1, 2 and 3 which implies that it deals with the management of latent, structural, and urgent needs.

But it is possible to make a shortcut avoiding the steps 2 and 3 and develop only catalyzing binary actions and essential binary actions when the complexity of an environment is low.

The complexity is low when there are few objects and simple processes that are being managed. This allows influencing the environment by just making the catalysts tangible and operational. In the case that this simplification has been used and the results cannot be achieved it becomes necessary to develop the complete process, integrating the 4 types of binary actions.  

Strategy Building Using Unicist Binary Actions (UBAs)

Unicist binary actions allow managing the functionality, dynamics and evolution of adaptive systems and environments. They imply having a strategic approach to the environment. This technology allows dealing with any type of adaptive environment, from nature to social environments. It was specifically developed to foster growth and sustainability in social, institutional and business environments.

Unicist Binary Actions

The unicist strategic approach that emulates the intelligence of nature defines that every adaptive system needs to have a maximal strategy that fosters growth while it has a minimum strategy to ensure survival.

This is based on the discovery of the triadic structure of the ontogenetic intelligence that regulates its evolution defined by a purpose, an active and entropic principle and an energy conservation principle.

This intelligent structure defines the concepts of things, which define the root causes of their functionality. These concepts are intrinsic in living beings, which means that they are part of the biological structure of the living being, and are extrinsic concepts when dealing with inanimate entities.

This drove to the development of the unicist logic that explains the functionality of nature and allowed emulating the functionality of adaptive systems and environments and build unicist binary actions that drive the functionality of complex adaptive systems.

Unicist Strategy Building

The first step is the development of catalyzing objects that work as UBA type 1 to foster the expansion of an activity, which ensures having the necessary critical mass to generate the influential power. This allows defining a functional identity in an environment that avoids needing to adopt survival roles.

A person, organization, institution or society that cannot expand in an environment needs to adopt survival actions that hinder adaptive behavior. Thus, the system enters into a chaotic or stagnated behavior to survive. No binary actions are possible in these conditions.

UBAs type 4 can be built when the first step of UBAs type 1 has been successfully fulfilled. These UBAs establish two actions satisfying the needs of the maximal and of the minimum strategy. It has to be considered that the sequence of the actions defines their functionality.

The first step is the development of actions that deal with the perception of the maximal strategy and immediately afterwards the development of actions that deal with the minimum strategy.

It Uses the Four Types of UBAs

  • UBAs Type 1: that integrates the influence of the environment with the specific function or object. It includes the integration of external catalysts.
  • UBAs Type 2: that integrates the active and the energy conservation function of the maximal strategy.
  • UBAs Type 3: that integrates the active and the energy conservation function of the minimum strategy.
  • UBAs Type 4: that develops the central binary actions of the essential function.

Each UBAs include two levels of actions:

  • Level a) that deals with the expansion of boundaries, which drives the maximal strategy of a function or object.
  • Level b) that deals with the assurance of results that drives the minimum strategy of a function or object.

The process of the use of UBAs begins by developing the UBAs Type 1, which implies expanding the boundaries of an activity, continues with the UBAs Type 2, to development the maximal strategies, UBAs Type 3 to develop the minimum strategies, and UBAs Type 4 to manage the essential function of the process.

In the case of processes with a low level of complexity, the UBAs 2 and 3 might become unnecessary.

Experience Binary Actions in Strategy Building

Here you can download to experience the Unicist Functional Designer (UFD) for business strategy building. There you will find a real application of the precedent description of the unicist strategy and its binary actions.

Unicist Strategy Designer



It is recommended to begin by perceiving and observing the binary actions in the real world. You will find them in all successful adaptive environments. You will find them in art, business, politics, etc and you will also find them in everyday life if you watch at the manipulative behavior of children.

Binary actions are non-manipulative activities to foster the expansion and the achievement of results in adaptive environments. They are a must to generate results in any adaptive environment.

Peter Belohlavek
The Unicist Research Institute