Participatory Inquiry, episode 120: Things People Are Doing

John Kellden
3 min readAug 10, 2017

“In a network: topics, perspectives and conversations that mind and matter.”

There’s one billion human beings on proprietary platforms. Through sharing our perspectives on various topics, through annealing insights out of our bringing different perspectives to conversations, we understand better what things people are doing, and become better able to help each other figure out things.

Organizing and Loose Connectivity
Karl E. Weick :
“Like many people writing about complexity, I start with the assumption that organizing emerges among agents who are loosely connected. A loosely connected organization looks something like the picture that Pfeffer and Salancik drew:

An alternative perspective [to that of the rational organization] on organizations holds that information is limited and serves largely to justify decisions or positions already taken; goals, preferences and effectiveness criteria are problematic and conflicting; organizations are loosely linked to their social environments; the rationality of various designs and decisions is inferred after the fact to make sense out of thingsthat have already happened; organizations are coalitions of various interests; organization designs are frequently unplanned and are basically responses to contests among interests for control over the organization; and organization designs are in part ceremonial. This alternative perspective attempts explicitly to recognize the social nature of organizations.

In order to better adapt that image to complexity thinking, we can describe organizations as social order where

Groups composed of individuals with distributed-segmented, partial-images of a complex environment can, through interaction, synthetically construct a representation of it that works; one which, in its interactive complexity, outstrips the capacity of any single individual in the network to represent and discriminate events….Out of the interconnections, there emerges a representation of the world that none of those involved individually
possessed or could possess.

The basic theme implied by this statement is that variations in inter-connection produce variations in the representations that are synthetically constructed. This suggests again that different forms of network have different cognitive consequences. Some network forms may produce ignorance, tunnel vision, and normalizing, whereas other forms may produce novel insights, original syntheses, and unexpected diagnoses.”

Curating Insights Co-evolving with Community of Inquiry
When curating content in the context of digital discourse, where a rich set of different perspectives are brought together towards creating insights and sustaining a community of inquiry — one of the challenges is — the topics and posts that could potentially provide the best, most profound and most actionable learning — generate the least amount of attention.

Here’s what we all need to do in a context of media:
… attention turned situational awareness …

There’s several reasons why we don’t, one of them being an insufficient understanding of connectivity and how connectivity is related to sense-, meaning- and decision-making and how our connectivity then informs and guide our organizing.

Participatory Inquiry, episode 120: Things People Are Doing

Peter Hershey



John Kellden

Cards catalyzing stories, Conversations that mind and matter, Digital communities and collaborative narratives