Archetype Extraction

Archetype Extraction is a specific application of the Social Construction of Emergent Properties. Archetype Extraction is a method of extracting and articulating common cultural understandings about how a community views things. It is an activity commonly run in parallel, or as part of a larger project – the results are meant as a complement to larger and more meaningful projects. Specifically, Archetype Extraction helps to identify these shared views and re-create them in the form of characters (Archetypes) which are uniformly agreed to be accepted cultural representations of that community. The extraction is done through a two-stage process and the final outputs take visual form with the aid of an on-site cartoonist. The activity results in a set of Archetypes unique to the context of the participants, which have been drawn by a cartoonist into visual representations. These Archetypes can then be used in various initiatives such as branding, communications or strategy. Archetypes that are extracted from the anecdotes told naturally in a community resonate: they have bite. Archetypes have a long and honourable tradition in story telling. The Greek and Norse Gods are all archetypes: they represent extreme aspects of human behaviour and stories about them collectively allow humans to reflect on their own condition.

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