Design for Conversations & Conversations for Design


The wicked problems of society demand that businesses respond with social innovation. Yet social action requires agreement, and agreement requires conversation. So, conversations were never more important than now, and we must design them responsibly, too.

Yet every day we are overwhelmed by the deluge of digital data. It's our own fault, because we deploy "collaboration software" based on information theory, sending predictable messages that maintain old thinking, telling us what we already know. As a result, new conversations to create new language and tame wicked problems become scarce and more expensive.

We can create a new class of software services modeled on "conversation theory" and a new economic unit of exchange: the insight. We gain new efficiencies while creating new business strategies, giving rise to a new marketplace. Call this new era "the conversation age", based on an economy of insight.

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Thanks to Alexander Baumgardt, coThinkTank chair; Andreas Wichmann, newthinking communications; Walter Lee; André Velloz, RedDrummer Technologia Ltda, Brazil


Paul Pangaro is a technology executive, conversation theorist, entrepreneur and teacher. CTO and co-founder of CyberneticLifestyles, he consults to startups and product groups, mobile device companies and research organizations. Recent clients include Zite, Samsung, Nokia, Alcatel-Lucent, Instituto Itaú Cultural (São Paulo), Intellectual Ventures, Citigroup, Poetry Foundation, Ogilvy & Mather, and Gideon Gartner. Projects span software roadmaps, design of mobile services, new models for user interaction, and design for innovation. His experience with organizations has led to a rigorous understanding of the barriers to change and a set of prescriptions for enterprise innovation and creative teamwork that he has presented in São Paulo, Paris, Vienna, Amsterdam and throughout the United States. At Stanford University, Paul co-taught a course in the cybernetics of design with Hugh Dubberly for 6 years and teaches now in the School for the Visual Arts MFA Interaction Design program in New York City. He was awarded a BSci from MIT in Computer Science and Humanities, and a PhD in Cybernetics from Brunel University.

© Copyright Paul Pangaro, 2013.