Although there is a high degree of individual freedom in the way information is processed
by humans, true understanding or effective participation can only be accomplished if people are aware of, and respect
the expectations of others. Consequently, these expectations for interaction or non-interaction are strongly coded
in every society or business culture.
The Information Philosophy approach
Information Philosophy offers, via a mapping system, a visualization of human communication
and its implementation of related expectations in a cultural context. As a result of the mapping, the effectiveness
of communication can be improved and miscommunication can be avoided or better understood.
The mapping system, which analyzes human information processing from a cultural and
philosophical perspective, has been specifically developed for this purpose. It clearly defines the information processes
and the resulting general drives and expectations of people.
The outcome of the mapping system is a description of all options for individual information
processing and the actual balance or relationship between the options as they are used in a specific cultural
or business environment. By identifying both the current balance and the communication potential, goals can be set and targets accomplished.
The model analyzes rational, emotional and spiritual information processing. It means that
from an information processing perspective, the (inter)relation between rational, emotional and spiritual cultural dimensions
This approach is universal, meaning that it can be equally used for a single-culture description,
for cross-cultural comparison and for intercultural communication analysis.
In a single-cultural environment the balance and unbalance between the cultural dimensions
is shown; visualizing potential internal communication deficits. Cross-cultural mapping can be done by comparing the single-cultural
visualizations. Finally the model clearly defines communication compatibility and incompatibility for intercultural communication
Trans-cultural experience, Methodology
Although the foundation of the work is based on employment with The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific
Research (TNO) in information science between 1979 and 1987, the Information Philosophy approach is unconventional.
A career as pioneer in areas like interactive television and cross-media communication rather required experience
based exploration skills than academic ones.
This extensive practical experience combined with a trans-cultural working environment, have been the
basis for developing the Information Philosophy mapping system.
The methodology used for generating maps is personal
observation and analysis. The advantage of such an approach is that rapidly a dynamic picture of the momentary situation is
obtained. For quality control purposes this information is constantly exchanged with people having a sound scientific background
in the subject areas covered.
Philosophy mapping is a result of more than twenty years of contemplation. A process that started with a two-year world trip
and 1989, visiting (among other countries) Japan, the Soviet Union and the United States.
After returning to a professional career in pioneering new media, the question remained what had
been experienced, what had been learned or understood from the two years of intensive participation in different cultural
Over time a blurred picture of similarities and differences
between the countries that had been visited appeared; a picture that was written down as a number of sketches. From these
sketches a first map of society expectations was derived.
second sabbatical period in 1998 and 1999 was used to evaluate this map and to collect more material by revisiting
some of the previously experienced countries.
over the past nine years, has finally led to completion of the mapping system in 2008 and to defining a full set of
potential information processes, which in principle cover the entire spectrum of individual and cultural interaction.
Information Philosophy offers mapping and visualization of human information
processing and the related implementation of cultural expectations in daily practice.
The Information Philosophy mapping approach
is universal, meaning that it can be equally used for a single-culture description, for cross-cultural comparison and
for intercultural communication analysis.
both the current cultural balance and the communication potential, goals can be set and targets accomplished.