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The 'New Knowing' Group

Some notes and pictures taken at the meeting held on 18th November 2005 at the ICA, London

Group interplay: – trying to see the un(fore)seen

meta-design - going beyond imposing already-taken decisions

Group A): ‘New Knowing’

Synergy is probably unknowable by individuals. Even if a group could know synergy collectively it might have difficulties in summarizing its collective knowledge in any enduring way. Likewise, although we have somatic knowing we cannot access it in a fully rational way. Nevertheless our intuitive insights can become integrated and shared in a variety of practical ways. In other words we have distributed modes of knowledge but they will be co-creative and unsayable. How can we make the unspoken intent outspoken? We may be able to access some of that which is out-of-reach of our conscious mind, individually or collectively. Innovation emerges from beyond what is already realized. Dialogue elicits what is within. By addressing the unknown, or by seeking that which is yet to be known we release ourselves from preconceived ideas.

Garth suggested three modes:

  • Judicial
  • Deliberative
  • Epideictic

We looked for a fourth
demonstrative – re-evaluative

Valerie has worked with training using 3 stages of learning:

  • Openness
  • Inclusion
  • Openness

we looked to reconcile the above ideas in a 4 part toolset:

  • Openness (to sharing of common concepts/language)
  • Connection (to sharing
  • Relinquishing self-control (embracing uncertainty (Taiwo & Wood, 1998) /self exploration and self-discovery.
  • Inclusion (adapting to the now larger context – possibly beyond the common/consensus/continuity/consciousness)


1) Although a comprehensive idea of metadesign must, of necessity, transcend the limitations of spoken/written language, our communication about the unknown (e.g. summative whole), the hidden (e.g. tacit, implicit, contingent, emergent) must nevertheless be constructed in terms of the ‘known’.
2) need for parts of the metadesign team to notice and adapt to its own changes, and to its contextual surroundings
3) This would provide a (tool) consisting of circular/helical pathway from - baby - child - adolescent – adult
4) newness calls for an openness at all points within the system
5) the need, therefore, to manage the rhetorical component within its own discourse (i.e. learning to 'listen' as well as to speak)
6) one way might be to 'co-create' rather than to expect compromise
7) status quo can create confusion around specificity, therefore we considered an aspiration to a more autarchical, less hierarchical structure
8) explore our levels of reaction at the 'reflex' level; develop responsive practices that are deemed effective within the metadesign team
9) Find ways to replace top down control by bottom up regulation (if 'knowing' was a primary imperative, babies might already possess knowledge - instead, they are born with the ability to know)
10) explore the relationship between intent, communication, interaction, realization


1) (how) can knowing and not-knowing become inter-nested/simultaneous? this is a valuable aim for groups (i.e. how can the group learn to invert itself?)…this would enable it to see the outside and (its) inside in any context..
2) Is the accommodation of one’s/it’s 'not-knowing' always a helpful starting point for change?
3) Does the search for newness requires a further ‘languaging’ of the language used?
4) Does this entail a developing a metalanguage that might emerge from the received (i.e. ‘known’) language – i.e. an attempt to ‘know that you know’?


By inviting people to share their histories we may begin to locate, acknowledge, and to reconcile identities. If looking for aybe we could model a new social forum on the Maori Hooey as used in New Zealand. In a 'hooey' a particular clan will engage in a discussion that might take days to resolve. Everyone – even children - would be expected to make a contribution.

We mooted a new (global?) version in which several clans might be encouraged to share histories together; but there would be a difference. They would be invited to discuss any issue in any way they chose. Importantly, everyone would be bound to do so in the detailed context of the shared, natural environment.

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