The status of the book

My journey has continued – to create a disciplined basis for human interaction design grounded in our conversations for purpose. It’s a discipline that offers efficiency and effectiveness in enterprise interactions, and justice and meaning in workplace change.

But it is largely written to first draft status, and the contributions of the book include:

· An extended heuristic exploration and integration of the social contexts of purposeful conversation. The three conversational terrains of Create, Monitor and Perform are illustrated on the Requisite Conversation® framework (RCF).

· A systemically developed insight into interactional dynamics in human enterprise. Within the Create terrain, three habitats of conversational cognition, Scope, Generate and Build can be shown to exert a fractal presence throughout enterprise conversations. Again, a heuristic frame, the Knowledge Development Pathway® (KDP) is used to support the exegesis of these insights.

· A perspectival approach that mines and lays out the fractal richness of the conversational terrains and habitats, their ecosystems of cognition and artefacts.

· Syntheses and aggregations of theoretical literature from a wide array of fields of study through the lens of conversational cognition.

· An attempt at the foundations for a new discipline – “Conversation Design”.

It has been really interesting to explore conversation as a naturally occurring form of complex adaptive system, and yet combine that with a view that humans are not just coevolving actors on an indifferent fitness landscape. I take the view that while we are not the heroic creative individuals painted by post-enlightenment triumphalism, we nevertheless are purposeful, and that we can align ourselves in purposeful enterprises. The question then, if we are people who make our world through speaking, what are the structures that underlie such activity, and how can we become self-conscious and skilled practitioners of that art?

For me, some of the clues lie in the version of the Christmas story told by John – that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. There is some mystery, but also a great deal of pragmatic reality that we echo in our own incarnation of enterprises. For better and for worse, our words become flesh and persist among us. We had better take heed to what makes a wise word.

If you are interested/still awake, the contents of the book are along these lines:

Chapter 1

I bring to the surface some features of our experience of talk that demonstrate the possibility and practicality of a conversational framework.

Chapter 2

For the purposes of this chapter, conversation remains “black boxed”, while we attend to the conceptual “planks” of deep architectures, recursion and the behaviours of complex adaptive systems.

Chapter 3

I move from working “ON” the conversation framework to “IN” the framework. What are the forces that shape the “system and structure of language for coordinating purposeful human enterprise”? There are three main ones: time, the production/presence of artefacts, and the role of our personal involvement.

Chapter 4

Chapter 4 opens the “black box” and looks at the high level features of conversation in human enterprise. I introduce the recursive levels of “zoom” we apply throughout the book – the terrains, habitats and settings of conversation. I introduce the 3 major terrains and their top level distinctives, and discuss the necessarily fuzzy boundaries that exist between our purposeful conversations and our everyday living.

Chapter 5

In chapters 5, 6 and 7, I go into detail about each of the conversational terrains, starting with the Create Terrain. This requires, in turn, an exploration of

a) the major Habitats of our conversational cognition – the places we are accustomed to and have become skilled in traversing, laying down social and neural pathways,

b) the fractal Settings, where each of the main cognitive patterns covered in a) is echoed recursively within each of the habitats.

Chapter 6

I cover the Monitor terrain – the social and historically conditioned substrate of conversation that is formed by our Create conversations, and becomes in turn the fabric for our conversations for valuing, learning, awareness, and embodiment.

Chapter 7

The Perform Terrain is where our Creative and evaluative conversations are enacted in the world to accomplish our purposes – and sometimes more: always more than we could foresee, and sometimes sequelae that are untoward at best…

Chapter 8

So what? The Requisite Conversations framework is somewhat of a platform technology, so I can only provide a few glimpses of some of the more prominent applications that have been envisaged or explored using this enabling heuristic.

There are also a heap of shovel ready training units and applications that have fallen out along the way….

Please let me know if that interests you….


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