Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pattern Language: Media for Overcoming Double Contingency

Last class, the students in Social Systems Theory class learned scenario planning, which is media for communicating in communities or organizations based on future plans.
On the other hand, Prof. Iba introduced pattern language as media for verbalizing the tacit knowledge and sharing it among people in an organization in order to take over double contingent situations.

He explained what pattern language is, and how we write pattern language with recent examples in our laboratory.

The example was English pattern writing pattern which he discovered recently on the generative beauty project. We firstly wrote the pattern in Japanese, yet we needed to write the patterns in English in order to submit the paper for the international conference.
On that process, we tend to have difficulties with writing patterns in English, the process does not go smoothly. Then, Prof. Iba realized that we need to learn vocabularies related to topics of the patterns, in this case beauty, so he bought variety of books about cosmetic, fashion and beauty written in English. His intention of it was to write patterns while learning vocabularies and phrases at the same time.

Even though he shared this knowledge with the current members on the project, he will need to explain that consecutively when he encounters the same situations on the different occasions or people. Therefore, it is effective to organize and write this knowledge in order to make easier to tell it to other people.

Then, he decided to write the pattern on that. Basically, pattern language consists of three main parts: context, problem, and solution.
Pattern Name: Writing with Learning
Context: You write in English, which is not your mother tongue.
Problem: Because you have no idea how you should write ideas in proper and comprehensive English, you cannot write patterns smoothly.
Solution: Write patterns with learning and referencing vocabularies and phrased related to the topic of the pattern that you are writing.

The reason why we give names to each pattern is to make us remember the contents of the pattern easily, and help our communication on the topic as a vocabulary.

In other words, Christopher Alexander, an architect who established the concept of pattern language, explains in The Production of Houses that pattern language is a language for writing design knowledge including problem finding and problem solving.

After the lecture, students have Q&A session about pattern language for deeper understanding on that. Although they acquired better understanding on it, they have never talked with patterns.

So, we are having the workshop on patterns in Fearless Change, and having dialogues based on their experiences with vocabularies in the book.

C. Alexander, The Production of Houses, Oxford University Press, 1985
M. Manns & L. Rising, Fearless Change, Addison-Wesley, 2005

1 comment:

  1. Its a wonderful post and very helpful, thanks for all this information. You are including better information regarding this topic in an effective way.Thank you so much

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