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PHD-DESIGN  January 2012

PHD-DESIGN January 2012

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Subject:

Re: CoCreation, Commercial Consultants, and the de-evolution of respectful academic conversation

From:

GK VanPatter | NextD <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

PhD-Design - This list is for discussion of PhD studies and related research in Design <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 18 Jan 2012 15:29:12 -0500

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Lars: I remember your two-towns sinking in northern Sweden project from when you came to visit us at Humantific in New York in October.

As I said that day: The project that you are working on is great example of a fascinating, somewhat baffling series of challenges that have nothing to do with product or service outcomes.. You are working upstream from such presumptions.

What makes it particularly interesting is the how you are doing what you are doing part, and what kinds of challenges you are encountering while doing it in that particular way.

In your post on this thread I saw your expression of interest in constructive conversation that you referred to as debate. What you might think about is what kinds of outcomes you are looking for. I say that because often we see well-meaning folks looking for other, more outcome oriented dialogue, perhaps problem framing/solving oriented, future framing discussion but ending up by default in debate-town as this is often the sharpest tool in the collectively understood toolbox. The sharpest tool, most often in use might not be the best tool.

What we do is suggest not getting the dialogue type of debate mixed up and prescribed to everything we need to do or are doing. Debate tends to generate a lot of entertaining heat but often little forward motion. Much of what Humantific does in helping people find pathways and move forward in an imperfect world has nothing to do with debate.

If you come to a realization that this list is by design and by purpose a debate-town model you might consider creating some alternative type of gathering space for those who are genuinely interested in the subject that you have in mind. That subject sounds like design in the context of organizational challenges, societal challenges etc. You might find different levels interest from others in dialogue on such a subject outside the debate-town model.

In reference to your comments regarding Co-Design workshop training difficulties I can offer one comment here. As per my remarks to you in our face-to-face conversation here in New York, what you are referring to as “Co-Design” seems to adhere to the dynamics of what we call from a methods perspective Language Mode A.

To make a longer story much shorter: At Humantific we look at hundreds of design, innovation, problem solving process models every year in visual form and noticed that there are most often several indicators missing that have not often been talked about historically or even still today. We had to figure out a way to talk about something that is largely invisible in terms of what the process looks like. Since there seemed to be no name for this missing dimension now of interest to us and others we named it Language Mode. We have come to acknowledge that different modes represent different forms of methods language, ie require different skills.

To keep it simple: In Language Mode A content is continually combined with process in every individual including the person leading the discussion. In Language Mode B content knowledge is separated from process knowledge. Some participants are in content while others are in process including the person leading. What you are doing and what most design professionals practice (ie have considerable skill in), what is deeply embedded in design history is Language Mode A.

In design contexts we find that most often when folks are referencing terms such as Co-Design or Participatory Design what they are referring to is Language Mode A at the scale of Design 1 or 2. An additional twist to the story is that in Language Mode A there is often, but not always, no visualized process present. This way worked well when everyone was in one tribe and knew the codes and the secret handshakes. It works less well in settings where multiple disciplines must navigate together.

Sometimes Mode A is referred to as Sage on the Stage. In contrast Mode B is known as Guide on the Side. With that simple lens in mind it is not difficult to see that Sage on the Stage is deeply embedded in design history and certainly in design education still today.

The tricky part, not often surfaced or acknowledged in design circles is that as challenges scale to the complexities of organizational challenges (Design 3) and societal challenges (Design 4) much, much, much more Language B Mode skills are needed.

From the Humantific perspective cross disciplinary cocreation in the context of organizational challenges and societal challenges requires heavy doses of Language Mode B as there are multitudes of subjects in the mix, along with multitudes of participating stake holders.

If we keep assuming or pretending that Method Language Mode A and B are one in the same we never get to realization of what needs to be changed, what needs reskilling.

In reference to your perception of Co-Design workshop training difficulties I assume you realize that it is among many other things knowledge of Methods Language Mode differences that years ago informed how Humantific (and other forward practices) have already constructed cross-disciplinary cocreation skill-building programs and academies. Some practices including Humantific have been out in the marketplace for years with progressive skill-building around cocreation so that activity has long since moved beyond speculation. Whether everyone likes it or not, for better or for worse, suffice it to say that the development pace of the marketplace and that of this list are two different things. I would suggest not assuming that they are one in the same. I would be happy to speak with you further off list.

 Good luck and keep in touch Lars.

 GK

 ...


GK VanPatter
Co-Founder

Humantific
SenseMaking for ChangeMaking

NEW YORK / MADRID

6 West 18th Street, 9th Floor
New York City, NY 10011
T: 212-660-2577

http://www.humantific.com 


Follow Humantific on twitter: http://twitter.com/humantific

...

Related fyi:

 

NextD Archive

http://issuu.com/nextd

 

CoCreation is Rising (Shows Method Language Modes)

http://issuu.com/nextd/docs/cocreation_is_rising?mode=window&pageNumber=1

 

NextDesign Geographies

http://issuu.com/nextd/docs/nextdfutures2011_v02

 

Understanding Design 1,2,3,4 / The Rise of Visual SenseMaking

http://issuu.com/nextd/docs/understandingdesign1_2_3_4

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