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Communication as an Analysis and Design Approach to Understand Data and Emergence

Format: Papers, RSD12, RSD12 Papers Pre-release

Tore Gulden
In this article we seek to describe how communication theory can contribute to understand data collected and visualized in GIGA-maps within a systemic design process. A primer idea of a GIGA-map is that it includes and produces discussions among stakeholders and subsequently an understanding about the data in in relation to other data by that all data is synthesized by visualization. Through the discussions and thinking processes that the GIGA-maps elicits it is expected that ideas for interventions and change emerge out of the connections that the map describes. It seems however, that the mechanism of emergence does not happen as an automatic function, rather it needs to be facilitated. One way to understand the emergence is that something is produced because of something. However, what is produced then needs to be identified by analysis to be described. It is exactly this analysis that can be identified or described by theory. One may understand and describe the data in a GIGA-map is through what I call theoretical overlay, that is you look upon your data through any theory to understand the data in different ways and for emergence to elicit. One theory that is perhaps not utilized to perform such a theoretical overlay is in fact to be found within the theory of systems itself.

One way to understand synthesized data by what it produces, is to describe what the relations between parts may create (William Ross Ashby, 1956/1963). That is, the emphasis is on what the machine or relations produces more than on what it is. The data in one visualization not only represents a complex context but also suggests seeing the data in relation with other data and that these relations may indicate existent dynamics that can be described and that these dynamics produce something. Auch an analysis can be understood as a cybernetic analysis (Bateson, 2000). Considering the concept of GIGA-maps through cybernetic analysis may lead towards an understanding of GIGA-maps as something that produces something in the now and not a thing or an artifact. A cybernetic analysis then involves understanding the synthesized data as networks of circuits (Krippendorff, 2007) or relations, and that different relations occur on different levels. Understanding the data in this context may be achieved through describing them by how they are related and how such relations serve to produce something other than itself in a circular fashion. Following one needs to investigate what relations are. In systems and cybernetic theory, it is suggested that relations are communications, expectations, embedded expectations, coding among others, and that these can be described.

Literature on systemic design and giga maps suggests visualizing richness in order for concepts to emerge, however emergence is not an automatic function. Accordingly, at present GIGA-maps and it’s visualizing of complexity is not fully utilized to design for interventions and change of systems.

In this article I will describe communication through systems theory and cybernetics by (W.R. Ashby, 1963; Bateson, 2000/1972; Glanville, 2007; Krippendorff, 2007; Lettvin, Maturana, McCulloch, & Pitts, 1959; Luhmann, Hilt, & Hide, 2009; Maturana & Varela, 1980; Meadows, 2009; Sweeting, 2015), pragmatism by (Mead, 1934), and sports philosophy to understand the engagement or motivation for a processor to produce by (McWhinney, 2005; Perinbanayagam, 2006)
Keywords: systemic design
communication
emergence
information
engagement

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Citation Data

Author(s): Tore Gulden
Year: 2023
Title: Communication as an Analysis and Design Approach to Understand Data and Emergence
Published in: Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design
Volume: RSD12
Article No.: pre-release
URL: https://rsdsymposium.org/design-approach-to-data-and-emergence
Host: Georgetown University
Location: Washington DC, USA
Symposium Dates: October 6–20, 2023
First published: 30 September 2023
Last update: no update
Publisher Identification: ISSN 2371-8404

Proceedings of Relating Systems Thinking and Design, RSD12

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