Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Pattern Thinking

The patterns are defined as "solutions of problems in a context" with a body of "descriptions of forces."

A pattern language is a method of describing good design practices within a field of expertise. The term was coined by architect Christopher Alexander and popularized by his book A Pattern Language. Advocates of this design approach claim that ordinary people can use it to successfully solve very large, complex design problems. (Wikipedia).

Pattern thinking enables to capture deep insight into complex problems systematically: Christopher Alexander's ideas promote thinking about the systemization of the effects of patterns when the patterns are operationalized as systems. His emphasis is on patterns that evoke and gestate higher-order patterns while clarifying fundamentals. His focus is on what patterns DO, a higher order focus than on what patterns ARE.

Tie Pattern Thinking and Systems Thinking together: Perhaps due to some form of symmetry in the wording but after some reflection, the connection became more tenuous or perhaps it was meant to be tenuous. It will take practice, practice, and practice when promoting thinking about the systemization of the effects of patterns when patterns are operationalized as systems. That creates a very close relationship between systems thinking and pattern thinking.

Both soft and hard system thinking approaches are needed: The examination of systems thinking and participatory democracy implies that both soft and hard system thinking approaches are needed but it seems sometimes that the two approaches are in rather separated camps. That means it’s not just the “looks” ( the visible elements), but also HOW they come together, that are critical. Everything with Alexander is about relationships, but as a general abstract word this is rarely used, instead he talks about connectedness, resonance, and feeling, forces, form following function, problems and solutions, and so on. All these are relationships or describe specific forms of relationships.

Pattern thinking is the type of problem-solving thinking: If you look at patterns, you will find that they are containers for describing relationships because that is what gives them their sense. They are defined as "solutions of problems in a context" with a body of "descriptions of forces". What could be in stronger relationship to us than something that solves a problem to us?

Pattern thinking is also a type of creative thinking because it requires you to keep your eyes open and keep your mind out of the box in order to shape the bigger box and actively seek out new ideas wherever you can discover them. It is a hybrid thinking to combine design thinking, system thinking, architect thinking and visual thinking for solving complex problems or capturing deep insight.


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