No need to refine it here, it is already well described elsewhere. See for example Wikipedia/Pattern language
Why is this interesting for OVN?
Patterns and pattern language are used in design. Therefore they are also useful in organisational design. Anyone involved in building an OVN could use this approach. From communication between Tibi and Amanda: I would open a new doc about that, with a methodology in it for zooming into a desirable organisational model. I would use pattern language in the design process. Pattern language allows you to go to the bare bones of the organisational needs, and put in place structure (governance, IT infrastructure, methodologies) based on these needs. After the design on paper, the structure still needs to be validated by experience. In other words, if you take a few human beings and try to organize them using these structures how will they behave? Will this group in formation encounter organisational problems? In that case, the model might need adjustments.
From another communication by Tibi: Pattern and Pattern language is, in my opinion, important for looking at issues related to the open and p2p world, because it provides a new way of presenting. Patterns transcend paradigms, so they allow us to jump from the traditional to the participatory, open, p2p. Moreover, Patterns and Pattern language becomes a good tool to communicate design-specific information to people from different domains and with different backgrounds.
From a Sensorica page: Within Sensorica, we can use patterns and pattern languages in design activities, as part of design methodologies (see Recipes). Pattern language can also be used to communicate design ideas between projects, which might be of different types. Moreover, Pattern language can be used to communicate the organisational structure of Sensorica and other collaborative/p2p, networked-type organizations. Ultimately, Pattern language can be used to communicate about p2p economic practices to the general population.
Other relevant uses
See a good example of a pattern-based approach to redesigning democracy: https://www.wd-pl.com/