In my last blog on the big shift I said that conversation is at the heart of what we do as information and communication designers. I meant this in two senses; first, conversation is the key theoretical basis of what we do; second, the type of conversations we have at various stages of the process, and the quality with which we conduct those conversations, is the key to achieving a successful outcome.

There is much to say about the theoretical basis of our work and its radical rejection of the conventional view of communication, and there are many papers about this on our website. But I suspect that many of you reading this blog are interested in the practical rather the theoretical aspects of communication.

Without wishing to dwell on the theoretical side of things, it’s important to note that if you do not understand and drive theory, theory drives you. But with the practical in mind, the starting point is to realise that across the range of contexts in which CRI works, conversations take many forms and differ widely: conversations with clients, with stakeholders, with people participating in our testing, and so on. In each context we use different modes of conversation. To do this well, we need to be highly skilled in that mode. So for CRI, a very real and practical implication of the big shift has been a need to research and gain practical skills in different conversational modes and, where necessary, invent new conversational modes.

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