Name it and create it

Nov 3, 2021 | Insights

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Last week, you probably heard that Facebook is changing its name to Meta, which led me to reflect on the concept of naming something to bring it to life.

Recently, I have been working on a project to build a pub in our Yorkshire village, which I referred to as ‘the new village pub’ or ‘a pub for the village’.

A magnificent copper beech tree stood on the site I was considering, and one day I was inspired to call the project ‘The Copper Beech’. It all suddenly came alive and real. To name something gives it life. 

Many businesses such as Facebook emphasise names for their business, products and services. Often, it is packaging, and it brings a product or service to life. It happened again when I came up with ‘Crazy for Change’ for my programme name.

There is also something mystical about giving life to something by naming it. Bruce Chatwin, the author of Songlines, describes how for early nomadic tribes, the naming of the landmarks and features by which they navigated along their routes was a form of creation. They named and sang their routes in poetry and song. Poiesis, from which the word poetry derives, means to bring something into existence, to create.

Naming a complex or problematic situation is also an essential route to resolving ‘soft’ or human problems in cybernetics. A cybernetic ‘name’ describes the transformation carried out for customers by actors controlled by the owners of the situation. Achieving clarity over these four elements of a cybernetic name can help to resolve interpersonal conflicts.

So, if you have a project or a problem on the go, think about giving it a name. Then, get creative and bring it to life.

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