The Paradigm Strategy

Dino Karabeg and Fredrik Refsli

In our last year’s RSD5 symposium contribution we introduced polyscopy as a prototype of “a different approach to information” that can radically augment our “power to transcend paradigms” – and hence our “ability to intervene into systems” in general, and into the global system in particular. We now apply polyscopy to support the core intention of RSD6 and help resolve its main challenge, namely to treat the environment, the economy and the democracy as a single indivisible whole.

What should information be like, how exactly should we create it and use it, so that it may best help us overcome the difficulties that our present way of evolving as society has led us to, and begin to evolve in a radically better way? Polyscopy points to the pivotal role of a community-wide gestalt (high-level view of a situation or issue, which points to a way in which it may need to be handled). The motivation is to allow for the kind of difference that is suggested by the comparison of everyone carrying buckets of water from their own basements, with everyone teaming up and building a dam to regulate the flow of the river that is causing the flooding. We offer to the SDR community what we are calling The Paradigm Strategy as a way to make a similar difference in impact, with respect to the common efforts focusing on specific problems or issues. The Paradigm Strategy is to focus our efforts on instigating a sweeping and fundamental cultural and social paradigm change – instead of trying to solve problems, or discuss, understand and resolve issues.

In what way can we facilitate the emergence of a new cultural and social paradigm? We submit an answer by extending our portfolio of “trimtabs for systemic change” that we presented several years ago at the Bay Area Future Salon. Examples include the design epistemology – an intervention into the very foundation based on which truth and meaning are created in our society; and knowledge federation as a way to use the new information technology to empower social-systemic re-evolution.

We work under design epistemology when we no longer consider ourselves as “objective observers of reality”, but as active participants. Knowledge work becomes a system within a system – or within a hierarchy of systems; and we adapt this system, and how we act within it, as it may best serve the wholeness of those larger systems.

We propose, accordingly, to jointly intervene into the SDR system. Instead of giving a conventional presentation of this work, we propose to co-create with you, the organizers, a plenary event, and to:

– Share The Paradigm Strategy as a videotaped message with pointers to details (multimedia introduction) beforehand
– Summarise our proposal in a ten-minute presentation at the beginning of the event
– Have a public dialog (whose interaction we will design together) where the SDR community will digest and assimilate this proposal, and perhaps already begin to seek ways to implement it in practice

Already this very small act, where we recreate our own i.e. the SDR’s system to increase its impact and achieve its projected goal, will be a step into the new paradigm; and arguably the key step toward shifting the paradigm. And we have proposals in store that can take this initiative significantly further, even within the short span of an hour.

A note about our title: “Putting the two buzzwords together is so awkward that it’s almost cool.” We undertake to extend the conventional academic language and action toward forms of expression that lead to impact. The two authors of this proposal represent the two main sides of polyscopic information (Karabeg as a scientist and Refsli as an academic researcher in communication design and a communication designer), depicted ideographically as the circle on top of a square that together compose the polyscopic information “i”. The rigorous and analytical utterances of the academia must be coupled with state-of-the-art communication design, if they are to have impact. We submit our title to our shared consideration as a new buzzword – or a new “battle cry” – which the SDR6 may offer as a new guiding light to other communities where serious efforts to improve our civilisation’s future prospects are being made.

Posted: Oct-2017

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