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Metadesign Glossary

Some neologisms and definitions relevant to metadesign


WORD square-50cm-spacer.jpg DEFINITION
Abductive thinkingA creatively interpretive mode of reasoning
AffordancesA useful word in describing how some designs work.
AgentWe use it philosophically
AlienationBased on Karl Marx's theory of estrangement from the self (1844)
Allopoiesisthe process by which organizations produce something other than themselves
Answer-seeking questionA type of question (of secondary importance to designers?)
ApoptosisThe natural ability of cells to commit suicide when not needed
AttributionWe use this word in several important ways
AuspiciousUseful for describing creative, positive thinking
Auspicious reasoningA less truth-based (more outcomes-oriented) way of thinking (download this article)
AutopoiesisLiterally means 'self-creation' (see also sympoiesis and apoptosis)
BisociationA term coined by Arthur Koestler
Bottom-upShows how grass-roots initiatives catalyse change
Business buzzwordsA list of useful descriptors used in industry
ComprehensivenessAn important feature of metadesign
ConsciousnessThe sense in which we apply it.
Contagious optimismUseful within a team context
CreativityHave we misunderstood it since the Enlightenment?
Creative DemocracyOriginally defined by John Dewey
DebatePolitical method of polarising, then choosing options.
DesignDefined here for our purposes
Designing miraclesPart of a longer process of creative thinking
Eco-mimeticsThe art of being inspired by Nature as a system
EntrainmentThe natural processes by which things find accord
EntredonneurA neologism that may usefully balance the word 'entrepreneur'
EnvisioningOur name for a (cognitive) working style
FeedbackAn important factor in making designing work better.
Finding your elementA term used by Sir Ken Robinson
FractalUseful for making large systems more coherent
HolarchyA way to understand complex systems
IntrinsicWorks in contradistinction with an attribute (Noun)
Intrinsic abundanceAnother name for Fuller's 'constant relative abundance'
JeongThis Asian (e.g. Korean) word is difficult to translate
Keystone synergiesA term inspired by keystone species
Lýsingarháttur nútíðar.Icelandic word loosely meaning 'grammar of now action'
The LeverSome notes on this ancient idea
Levers for ChangeA term coined by Donella Meadows
LanguagingOur name for a (cognitive) working style
LemkinismOur name for seeding change by inventing new words for certain important things
Manifold abundancerefers to our more complex model of innovation
Metabolismlinks living systems with business and society
MetadesignAlways needs updating.
Negative FeedbackSee feedback
Network Consciousness 1 & 2A useful concept inspired by Marvin Minsky
New KnowingOur name for a (cognitive) working style
OptimismSee radical optimism and contagious optimism
Organisational ConsciousnessOur own term
Outcome-seeking questionA type of question that invites more than theory.
ParadigmExplains how the word evolved since Plato.
Paradigm changeA brief summary of our agenda
Positive FeedbackSee feedback
PragmaticsDeals with situated actions.
Pre-purposeLatent opportunities may lurk in purposelessness
Pushing and DoingOur name for a (cognitive) working style
Question-framingTowards a new design grammar
Radical optimismSeeks to create more opportunities
Relational mathematicsDesigning by focusing on relations, not things
Relevate (verb)A term revived by quantum physicist David Bohm
Risk - currently under development
Self-interestDifferentiating between common alternative meanings
SemioticsIs important methodology for metadesigners
SerendipityIs a concept that licenses optimistic action
Shubh-Labh(Literally, 'auspicious profit') Indian term that moderates trading
Simple synergiesA loosely named (but handy) category of synergies.
Structural couplingA term used by Maturana & Varela
SuboptimizationSee richly inclusive mapping
SustainabilityA dubious term that has lost almost all credibility
SympoiesisUses co-creativity as a team bonding process
Synergyin progress
Synergy-of-synergiesin progress
Systems Thinkingin progress
Team consciousnessin progress
Theory-practice 'opposition'This misunderstanding urgently needs a radical remapping
TetrahedronA 3D form with special properties
Top-downDiscusses the declarative nature of hierarchal control
Trim-tabA term used by Richard Buckminster Fuller
UbuntuAn African word describing allegiances and relations.
Wu weiThe taoist notion of knowing how/when to act

Other sources

WritingPAD GLOSSARY square-50cm-spacer.jpg A useful resource for designers
WikipediaA share-alike dictionary
WordSpyA dictionary of new words
Roget's online thesaurusHelps you find words
Bucky Fuller's KeywordsPart of Paul Taylor's MAP website
PseudodictionaryA (less serious) dictionary for new words

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