There is a no “out there”

Just a little while ago, we had a LAMAYC, short for Learn As Much As You Can. A day, on which both new and experienced people within our network learn from eachother, share ideas, best practices and other stuff.

In the preparation of this event, we decided to use an old document, called “The ASE pattern language” as a point of departure. In this document a number of patterns or common problems encountered in our way of working are explained. Including ways to deal with it. The document was dated somewhere in 1999
Well, during the LAMAYC, we had a module in which we looked at these patterns from a 2011 point of view. As we are still in the business of “doing things with groups of people”, it was no surprise that the bulk of these patterns and the provided responses to them are still valid in these modern times.

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However, there was one that really struck me. It was called “there is no out there”. This pattern deals with the fact that we design our events in a way that ensures that everybody needed to get the desired outcome is a participant. This means the group holds all the needed knowledge, decision making power and execution power. For instance, there should be no escape from decision making by someone saying “yeah, but we need to validate this with¬†” or “we need to chek these figures with …”.
In 2011, this pattern can no longer be true. (And strictly spoken, it never has been true).
Nowadays, it is widely accepted that there will always be someone who knows better. Somewhere.¬†Out there…..

So we decided to change this pattern into:
“There is a whole world out there”
And this gave us a whole new understanding and it also provided us with a number of very difficult challenges and questions:
  • How do we integrate this into our process, our way of working?
  • How can we make use of technology to broaden the knowledge base we tap into?
  • When does the design stop? When there is a whole world out there, what is the status of a time- and space-boxed event like a DesignShop?
We have had some experiences over the past two years, where we unknowingly already made use of this new pattern and learned a number of lessons, some of which “the hard way”. For instance, when expanding the group of participants with a number of people attending virtually, we came to understand that if you design this poorly, these people will very soon feel like second-rate civilians, exactly the opposite of what you want to achieve….
I believe finding solid solutions to this pattern will be one of the key succes factors for us being succesfull in the coming years.


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