Designing and Supporting Participation Cultures (or the Management of any Social System)

I reread an article from Gerald Fischer this morning and wanted to get the gist of it into my management toolbox.

Designing and Supporting Participation Cultures

Gerald Fischer wrote the following ideas about the design of software systems, but it can readily apply to any social system or system of management.  Quoted and Adapted from Fischer, G. (2009). Rethinking Software Design in Participation Cultures,

  • Embrace Users as Co-Designers
  • Provide a Common Platform to support sharing and the insight of others
  • Enable Legitimate Peripheral Participation
  • Share Control
  • Promote Mutual Learning and Support
  • Foster a Social Reward and Recognition Structure

Also a couple additional great insight from Dr. Fischer, in systems,

strike a balance in system design between automate and infomate.  I see this acting in two ways. Sometimes you want to collect information and at other times, supply information.  Sometimes you want to structure systems so that particular actions will happen, and sometimes you want to supply information that will allow the person to self-structure their actions.

All Systems (or social infrastructures) Evolve, intervene through a SER model: seed, evolve, reseed on a meta-design framework.

Meta-design [Fischer & Giaccardi, 2006] is a design methodology . . . that allow “owners of problems” to act as designers. A fundamental objective of meta-design is to create socio-technical environments [Mumford, 1987] that empower users to engage actively in the continuous development of systems rather than being restricted to the use of existing systems. Meta-design aims at defining and creating not only technical infrastructures for the software system but also social infrastructures in which users can participate actively as co- designers to shape and reshape the socio-technical systems through collaboration. (p.5-6.)

Even though Fischer is speaking of software design, it is really good design for all socio-technical systems and is also relevant to business management or any technical field based on the social sciences.  After all, what is management today other than the design and support of a participatory culture?

What is a Relationally Responsiveness Approach to Action (and Art)

“We must renounce our monological habits so that we might come to feel at home in the new artistic sphere which Dostoevsky discovered, so that we might orient ourselves in that incomparably more complex artistic model of the world which he created” (Bakhtin, 1984, p.272). Taken from the John Shotter Article (Draft), Organizing multi-voiced organizations.

The 20th Century’s industrial model of education thinks of us as living in a mostly dead and static world that only changes slowly, deliberately and in ways that we control.  Important knowledge is of the patterns and regularities that allow us to control change, to be the cogs that make the machine work.  But that does not seem to be our world.  The world Bakhtin and Shotter describe is dialogical.  Important knowledge is how to interact and create in a chiasmic world that is always changing; never the same from day to day, changing us as we change it.  Its is like writing a novel where all the characters act on their own volition, emotional and unpredictable, where life is an artistic creation in the highest sense.