This approach finds its practical application in generative methodology. The CfGC uses this approach in its various projects, employing instruments and products targeted for the development of internal and external communication strategies.
Generative communication can assume a range of forms: from communication in enterprises to that within institutions, from organizational communication to communication during crises, from intercultural communication to mediation and negotiation, from public to social communication and for marketing.
As an idea and area of research, generative communication was born in the first half of the 1960s. Luca Toschi, at that time a young researcher working between Italy and the United States (UCLA, Harvard University, University of Connecticut) in the field of philology, came up with the concept. His research consisted in trying to understand, from a firmly interdisciplinary perspective, how it could be possible–using the new computer technologies emerging at the time which were increasingly “personal”–to penetrate into the creative processes of great Italian writers such as Petrarch, Machiavelli, Tasso, Goldoni, Manzoni, Verga, and Pirandello. In other words, to understand how their works were composed, then read and rewritten, and “re-mediated” into other languages, for example as illustrated books, films, operas, comics, decorative objects, in photography, theater, television, advertising, and fashion.
Those were the years when it was necessary to enter into physically computers if one wanted to work with them, in rooms full of men wearing white shirts with ties.
Today it’s the computer that enters into our daily lives and human bodies. But despite the advances, the ratio between investment in new technologies and return rarely seems convenient. Increasingly difficult and mechanized living and working conditions have been created and continue to be created, on physical and symbolic, material, mental and psychological levels. Socio-economic transformations are set in motion that promise great improvements and which can be profound. But in reality, these transformations seem to postpone the moment of verifying whether they’ve effectively favored true progress or not. Continuous improvements in technology are proposed, inviting us to wait before finally passing judgment, while the level of discomfort and stress constantly increase.
The impression we get is that, apart from exceptional cases, these new technologies–in the way they’re proposed by the market and used by consumers–risk becoming more of a costly trap, in existential and economic terms, than effectively an improvement for the quality of our working and nonworking life.
The idea that integration and use of new technologies is, in itself, innovation and an on-going project continues to dominate. Therefore we shouldn’t be surprised when the providentialist vision of these tools and related organization end up slowing down cultural, social, economic, and political progress rather than promoting them. This situation is bringing about a degeneration of the idea of “resources”, which are considered more and more often as mechanical and thus financial and monetary, and less and less human.
The history of Homo sapiens has been marked by powerful forces of change that have modified the world in ways the protagonists of those changes were unable to predict or even imagine; or perhaps they didn’t want to. Having such powerful and invasive tools of transformation, today we need–as never before in our history–the right balance between experimentation and planning. We need to develop and set in motion the creation of a culture of innovation that keeps pace with the times, because innovation today is first of all a culture of generative processes and systems.
Our practical reality and most-everyday activities are only apparently insignificant. From the moment they are organized and managed by powerful and invisible-to-our-eyes automation systems, when taken singularly they seem to have quite limited consequences but on a systemic level they have effects that accumulate, positively or negatively, on the short or very short, or very long term.
Man has never had so much unknown power and been so at risk of losing control, or in the best of cases controlled by restricted and nearly invisible groups of power. History is full of poorly made calculations, but today an incorrect calculation can have irreversible and unalterable effects: complexity theory has explained this very well. And this holds true for society as well as for enterprises (whether they’re large or small) and for every type of organization, and even more so for the cultural dimension of our lives.
Generative communication is a model and working methodology that deviates from that mechanical-transmissive model which dominates today and aims to inhibit existing resources and penalize creativity and entrepreneurial culture (both individual and collective). Thanks to the culture of complexity, generative communication identifies and adds value to the immense resources available today by developing innovation and a sense of community.
In particular, generative communication has been theoretically and technically examined in depth in order to deal with the most evident paradox of our times: we live in a so-called “communication society” and yet despite this indisputable fact, business, enterprises, institutions, organizations, single individuals all complain about not being able to communicate. How is this possible? Where’s the problem?
Communication–for its function as social writing and reading and for its role as a constructive energy that helps build our individual and collective community–must take note that the society of knowledge does not need a preaching sort of communication, but one that practices and attempts to put into action never before heard of or seen types of communication and communities through experimentation. It also needs to make mistakes within the context of a method that renders those errors not a fault, but an essential contribution to the path toward a future world which encourages Man’s departure from prehistory and launches a writing of history that is totally different from what we have until now been able to imagine.