A term we invented

See article on Harnessing Hidden Knowledge
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Our definition

  • This neologism acknowledges the unconscious, or implicit accord at an early stage in a project.
  • It assumes that our sense of reality is emergent and co-created.
  • Often, the purpose of shared actions is ill-defined or overshadowed by prevailing conditions.
  • However, at a later stage in proceedings, someone defines the agenda or task in a way that seems appropriate to the majority.
  • This can be agreed as the 'purpose'.
  • Pre-purpose describes the 'future purpose' or 'latent purpose' that has yet to be noticed or identified explicitly.
  • The word reminds us that the languaging process is enormously powerful.
  • It enables people to steer the course of events in ways makes them more, or less, useful.

square-50cm-spacer.jpg Superego Pre Purpose

  • Humans often negotiate processes by discussing their purpose.
  • However, this does not guarantee a close accord between purpose and outcome (c.f. Merton, 1936; Anscombe, 1957).
  • Metadesign teams may need to self-orchestrate their collective, somatic, and so-called ‘right-brain’ knowledge (c.f. McGilchrist, 2009).
  • In these self-organising teams of emergent-thinkers, participants may find it unhelpful, or even impossible, to agree on a clear pretext or 'purpose'.
  • For this reason, we coined the term ‘pre-purpose’.
  • It reminds us that spontaneous impulses may conceal latent opportunities that have yet to be reduced to a 'purpose'.


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