Participatory Inquiry, episode 136: Innovation

John Kellden
5 min readOct 10, 2017

“In a network, in digital, generative conversations: formats that help turn post + comment thread into actionable insight.”

This is what everyone wants and what we all need. We do understand generativity and we are beginning to warm up to digital conversations. A bit surprisingly, what we are not doing yet, is innovating formats. Post and comment has remained an unchanged, fixed staple for years.

Why Post + Comment Thread?
Moving from post and comment, to post + comment thread, is one fundamental innovation that will unleash enormous amounts of value.

stop looking at things as if through a thin straw

Start by reading the whole thing. Thank you. In addition, the related step, supporting formats that when combined, will turn our comment threads into actionable insight, also remains to be done.

The wicked problem that will remain impossible to solve if viewed and approached in ordinary, linear ways, is the glitch, the discontinuity between post and comment.

weave between post and comment

There is obviosly also a related problem, the glitch between comments and between comments, complex responsive processes and conversations, but once we begin to weave between post and comment, there’s at least a good chance we might be able to find similar and/or adjacent, related patterns that will work.

letting the days go by

One of the thorniest parts of this problem, is the lack of awareness of there even being a problem to begin with.

- What do you mean? We post stuff and other people comment, nothing could be simpler?
- That’s it with precision. It’s simple, which means we have no way of figuring out what to do, if our post and comment thing doesn’t deliver the goods.

How do I work this?
In order to work this thing, we need to understand it. In order to work this thing together with others, which is a prerequisite for both innovation and marketing (and tons of other things as well) we need shared *and* shareable understanding. This points to formats as being one field worth studying.

So, what do we need to go ahead? In order for there to even be a post and a comment thread to begin with, there needs to be truckloads of data already, both in terms of data turned code and design, the platform if you will, as well as analog data, the stuff, including what helped shape the post in the first place.

In a network, data is the intersect of will and intelligence, will turned flow and performance. Warm data is data cultivated in a context of dialogue, learning, generativity, mutuality, play, nature and connectivity.

agents, stakeholders, participants, fellow enactors

The key for agents, stakeholders, participants, fellow enactors to co-evolve with the cultivation, is mutuality. The strategic outcome of participants co-evolving with the cultivation of warm data is contextual intelligence. Intelligence is quickness to apprehend. All of us have got years of training in this already.

Yay! Post and Comment!
Now we need

Information is the intersect of situational awareness and will turned flow.
Ie, without data supporting, wireframing our information, there’s a risk with information too selectively sifted and sorted, reinforcing our own separate, separative, polarizing will. In a digital conversation, uninformed opinion as one of the common patterns.

catgifs, selfies, uninformed opinion and content marketing

Read this and weep when you compare engaging in informed discourse co-evolving with open, participatory inquiry, with what usually passes for posts and comments. Once you’re done being sad [insert your fave emotion here], you can proceed to the next stage.

digital, generative conversations

Knowledge is the intersect of imagination and situational awareness, with our own and others’ existing behavior the core constraint and, should we so choose, providing us with ample opportunity to learn, unlearn and relearn, turning constraints, including a clashing of and confronting of opinion, into catalysts for creativity, play(work) and co-creation.
Digital, generative conversations require we use our imagination extending select, choice parts of our embodied selves into a digital realm, and evolve our situational awareness, turning select choice parts of it, into generativity.
Are we there yet? Not quite. Perseverance furthers…

turning constraints into catalysts

Wisdom is the intersect of intelligence and imagination. If our behavior is too much of a constraint, to the detriment of our imagination, the intersect of intelligence and imagination becomes polarized, conflicted, resisted and in extreme cases, non-existent. The generative review of wisdom is ability.
Thankfully, there’s a definition:

“Intelligence is quickness to apprehend as distinct from ability,
which is capacity to act wisely on the thing apprehended.”

— Alfred North Whitehead

The DIKW in this post, is a tweak, geared towards enabling us to bridge and weave between post and comment thread. The thing apprehended, outlined in this here article, is the idea of

post + comment thread.

- But what about actionable insight?
- What about it?
- Seems to me you stopped short from offering any steps?
- Yes, yes I did. Actionable insight, is when people, posts and comment threads align.

Align Around What We Can Bring, What It Is And What We Need
There’s no steps, at least not any linear steps that can be applied. However, there’s generative sequences to the rescue. The only trouble with applying generative sequences, is, which one? This is why it is very often a sign of there being practical wisdom being applied, when instead of trying to forcefit everything into a reduction scheme, regardless how good it might be, that the people turned participants, align around post + comment thread, until closure. Closure is just a fancier way of saying — just be like, stop.

Don’t Cry — Research
For those of you who scanned, skimmed and scrolled all the way down here, looking for a simple format you could snag, sorry. Don’t remain frustrated though, this here post, is part, parcel and parsing of both a pattern language called Participatory Inquiry, *and* pointing to the possibility of generative sequences that can be used. The snag here is, you need to read through a sufficient amount of the posts, to get to *your* actionable insight. Don’t cry — research. Engage. Weave. Innovate.

Igor Ovsyannykov



John Kellden

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