Co-Creative Event Pattern Language

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= a tool for group conscious self-organization



Lilian Ricaud:

"As a group of people, it’s easier to join and work together AGAINST something than FOR something.Command and control or consensus work model have limitations for group organization (Marsh, H. 2012).It has to do partly with the difficulty of on agreeing on a common goal and sharing a common intent, particularly in large groups. Interest brings groups together, but intent is what brings teams together to actually get things done (Paquet, S. 2011)As the collaborative economy grows, people invent new ways to live and work together.In the recent years many new events format have been built by various groups and communities to organize themselves around common goals: communicate, think, learn, work, share, have fun, social bonding, direct action, art making, food cooking…Some if this events and meeting formats have been very successful and have since been organized in hundred of places worldwide (barcamps, open space, hackathon, …)Creative event pattern language might be a tool for networked individuals to form ad-hoc groups around common purposes and consciously self organize to achieve those purposes."


... of new co-creative events

Lilian Ricaud:

From barcamp to permablitz, from hackathon to Disco soups, the range and the diversity of new events and meeting formats is wide. However, there seem to be some common characteristics that distinguish this events from traditional meeting formats.

Co creative events are:

  • more dynamic and participative than traditional professional meetings
  • based on values of openness and sharing
  • there is a shift from organizing for to co-organizing with
  • based on people’s interest, passion and willingness to participate
  • don’t try to eliminate the difference between people but instead feed/strive on individual creativity and diversity
  • not very formal – fun is built into the event DNA.
  • duplicate themselves spontaneously worldwide by bottom/up action and give birth to global communities"


Lilian Ricaud:

Visible and invisible architectures

Visible and invisible architectures structure the spaces in which we evolve individually and collectively and therefore

The same architecture is likely to trigger the same collective outcomes no matter what topics, challenges, market places and players are in its center. A different architecture may empower or diminish the capability of a community to deal with these given topics, challenges, market places, players. Architectures not only influence our capabilities, but they create new reality (Noubel, J.F. 2007)

Events format and expectations shape social interactions

When we go to nightclub or the office there are different expectations about what we are going to do and the way we interact with other.When you go to a nightclub you expect socializing, flirting, but although you can brainstorm it’s probably not the best place to do it.Similarly when you go to a meeting, you probably expect to brainstorm, exchange ideas, make decisions but although you can also flirt there it’s probably not the best place to do it.A night club will have specific architecture visible or invisible to favor the expected outcome: dark rooms, (loud) music, alcohol…a meeting will have white board, seats, table, and so on…In addition, when you go to either of them you have different expectations and you prepare accordingly (you won’t dress or behave in the same way for one or the other).

Designing co-creative architectures

By thinking about the outcome a group want to reach, it is possible to design the architecture (visible and invisible) of the event to favor this outcome.Although it is possible the outcome won’t work out or something else might come out of it, setting a specific format will enhance the probability of reaching this goal.

Mapping events architecture patterns

Patterns are generic solutions to problems frequently occurring (Alexander, C. 1977) . A design pattern in architecture and computer science is a formal way of documenting a solution to a design problem in a particular field of expertise.The idea was introduced by the architect Christopher Alexander in the field of architecture and has been adapted for various other disciplines, including computer science.By mapping creative event patterns, it is possible to identify the best event format to reach a desired outcome.Identifying and formalizing creative event patterns and having standard names and formats for patterns would help groups form around a common goal and work in a stigmergic way.

Using patterns for stigmergic organization

In large groups, consensus decision making can be quite tedious, cooperation wastes a great deal of time and resources in both discussing and discussing the discussions (Marsh, H. 2012). These traditional form of organization are too structured and often forces individuals to lose their individual differences in order to fit in the structure.

Stigmergy is is a mechanism of self-organization that functions through indirect coordination between agents or actions.

Using a set of well described patterns, an individual could choose a pattern for a particular need (think together, act together) and send a call to a large group.

Participants who understand the purpose can then agree to join or not. This self selection allow the group to organize in a stigmergic way.

this can help people to express their individual creativity and differences while working around a common purpose.

Events pattern language as a tool to hack culture

If you want to influence the structure of your town, you must help to change the underlying languages. It is useless to be innovative in an individual building, or an individual plan, if this innovation does not become part of a living pattern language which everyone can use. And we may conclude, even more strongly, that the central task of “architecture” is the creation of a single, shared, evolving, pattern language, which everyone contributes to, and everyone can use. Christopher Alexander, the Timeless Way of Building A culture is the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that both describes and shapes a group. Culture hacking modifies culture, instead of modifying software.

An organized collection of design patterns that relate to a particular field is called a pattern language. A creative event patterns language can become a toolbox for group to consciously self-organize to reach common goals." (