Generative Communication

What generative communication is?

Generative communication is a unique paradigm which forms the basis for an operative methodology that differs radically from the mechanistic-transmissive model of communication that is largely dominant today.

While the latter model inhibits existing resources, to the detriment of creativity and individual and collective corporate culture, and strengthens current power relations, generative communication identifies and fosters exploitation of immense resources that are already available, although often not acknowledged, through new synergies that lead to the development of innovation and community.

Indeed, a knowledge-based society does not need communication to preach but it needs communication that puts communication into practice, that strives to implement it by experimenting communications and communities. It also needs to make mistakes within the framework of a method that interprets errors not as faults but as essential contributions on the road towards building a future world that encourages Man to move away from prehistory and to start on a path that is quite different from what we have been able to imagine until now.

For this reason generative communication is also sustainable communication. It does not require management and reproduction of what already exists but legitimizes the ability to build a new relationship between the project at hand and its realization with knowledge as the main resource. And knowledge has an extremely interesting feature: the more you use it, the more it generates itself.

Where this idea came from

As an idea and research project, Generative Communication was born in the early 1970s within a context of philological sciences on the initiative of Luca Toschi, a young Italian researcher who also studied in the United States (UCLA, Harvard University, UConn). The aim of his research was to try and understand if it was possible, from a strongly interdisciplinary perspective, for new and increasingly “personal” computer technologies to decipher the creative process of great writers like Petrarca, Machiavelli, Tasso, Goldoni, Manzoni, Verga, and Pirandello. And, furthermore, to understand how their works had been composed and then read, rewritten and ”re-mediated” by other languages ​​(from illustrated books to cinema, opera, comics, decorative items, photography, theater, television, advertising, and fashion).

Innovation that goes beyond the mechanical

Back then, in order to work with computers you needed to physically enter them–rooms frequented by men in white coats.

Today, it is the computers that enter our everyday lives or are even inside people’s bodies. But despite these advances, the relationship between investment in new technologies and return is still rarely convenient. Increasingly difficult, mechanized working and living conditions have been created and continue to be created: on a physical and symbolic level, in material, mental, and psychological terms; transformations, even profound ones, that promise significant improvements are underway on a socio-economic level. But in reality, these transformations seem to keep pushing forward the moment when it’s possible to verify whether they have actually favored real progress or not.

Still today the idea persists that new technologies, both their existence and use, are indicative of innovation. It’s no wonder, therefore, that this providential vision of these powerful tools, and of the organization connected to them, often ends up slowing down cultural, social, economic and political progress rather than promoting it. The very idea of ​​”resources” is deteriorating: they are increasingly considered to be mechanical and therefore financial, monetary, and less and less human.

The history of Homo Sapiens is marked by powerful forces of change which have modified the world in ways that the protagonists of those transformations failed to foresee, imagine, or that they didn’t even want. 

Today we have tools able to transform reality that are incredibly powerful and invasive and, thus, we need more than ever the right balance between experimentation and design, between the production of knowledge (scientia) and its application (usus). It is therefore necessary to start training people in the culture of innovation in a way that is in step with the times: innovation today is, first and foremost, a culture of processes and generative systems.

An unprecedented relationship between experimentation and design

The reality we practice, for example our most everyday actions, are only apparently insignificant. Since they are organized and managed by very powerful automation systems that are invisible to us, they seem to have very limited consequences when taken individually, but at system level they have cascading cumulative effects that may be positive or negative in the short, very short, or very long term.

Man has never had so much unconscious strength and been so at risk of losing control, or at best being controlled by narrow and poorly visible power groups that have not been democratically legitimized. History is full of miscalculations, but today, in the context of a planetary society and the so-called Anthropocene era, an improper calculation can have irreversible, non-modifiable effects; complexity theory has explained this very well. This risk applies to society as a whole as it does to a single company or any type of organization which, today more than ever, should be analyzed and interpreted as living beings. Not to mention, with regard to the cultural dimension of our lives.

However, the complexity that governs our lives must not be a limit or put a brake on action and innovation. On the contrary, it is necessary to understand the complexity in order to identify the immense patrimony of resources–waiting to be discovered and utilized–within it and within the web of relationships among the elements of the system.  This is why the fulcrum of all projects conducted on the basis of generative communication is a Matrix Communication Object. This modest object, in the economy of the entire system, conveys innovative grammars capable of activating innovation processes.