Sunday, March 11, 2018

What assumptions do you make when designing human-centric practices or systems?

In this article published in KOSMOS Journal for Global Transformation (Winter 2017) titled “Luminal Leadership”. 
The author Nora Bateson wrote “the illusions of our system crumble, each grouping of ideologies is ossifying in their own particular frequency and becoming less able to hear the others. The sense-making apparatus of our culture is losing its grip. (...) But short of a fundamental reorganizing of embedded assumptions of life and being alive, humanity may not make it. So, are we ready?”
I believe it is going to be hard work and requires a lot of discipline. It is not impossible, and it will be a journey. 
As a start, I/we make a lot of assumptions when designing human-centric practices/systems (in organisation or in society). We have to be clear what assumptions do we draw on about human beings, about the gappiness of realities, about existing power structure, and how human beings make sense and mov-ING in between the cracks. There are many theories out there. One that has been developed in the past 40+ years by Dr Brenda Dervin called Sense-Making Methodology (SMM) is one that I found most useful. SMM makes explicit these assumptions, and Dervin’s research systematically apply a set of theoretically-informed methods to “listen to one another” whilst recognising that human beings tend to be habitually locked into their own world of nouns (eg ideology, role, function, gender, culture,...). 
For those who are interested, it is impossible to elaborate her 40+ years of work in a few paragraphs. Here is an older article which I co-write with Dervin:
With Dervin’s permission, I am happy to share some more articles to see if that helps to develop your thinking further. Feel free to get in touch. 

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