Conversational Competencies | The Work of the Present

by Augusto Cuginotti

Truth is not born nor is it to be found inside the head of an individual person, it is born between people collectively searching for truth, in the process of their dialogic interaction. – Bakhtin

Our capacity to produce alone or even to accumulate knowledge fail to grant us more power and influence in today’s systems.

To act better we need to increase our conversational competence, our capacity to coordinate our perception with others, in a process of continuous shared construction.

Why a conversational focus?

Conversation is the primary form of intervention of the century: it is how we act, we work and we produce today. We are in a world where conversational work takes the central place in our daily actions, leaving manual work behind for good.

If Taylor was the reference in productivity for organising peoples actions over time, today the greater part of production lies on people coordinating actions among themselves.

What changed?

Doing-together is mandatory because complexity in our current issues do not allow the presence of an omniscient entity with the ability to distribute concatenated actions from beginning to end. Instead, we have the need to pay attention in a wider range of issues at the same time so we can produce something of relevance.

This reality asks for many people paying attention to interconnected parts of the whole at the same time they are creating a process of continuous coordination among them.

How do we coordinate? We coordinate via conversations, manipulating language, closing agreements, making and fulfilling promises so the collaboration among many becomes effective.

There are things that can be produced individually, but the complexity of our time, of our systems and issues at hand indicate it is time for collective production more than ever before.

What are the competencies to produce together that we should learn to value?