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The Home of Evolutioneers

Principles of Effective Co-intelligent Collaboration

Among other tools such as spiral dynamics, integral, online community building and systems theories, Universe Spirit uses many of the principles of co-intelligence and co-intelligent collaboration to manage the collaboration processes and projects of our website and our organization. Please note that while we hold with almost all of this co-intelligence theory, we do not hold that you need unanimous consent all of the time to use this theory and methodology effectively.

The following principles and methodologies of co-intelligence are found on the web site http://www.co-intelligence.org/ and are derived from the work of Tom Atlee. They are recommended for applicable and appropriate use by everyone using our website or working in our organization. For more than this brief overview on the theory and processes of co-intelligent wisdom collaboration read The Tao of Democracy, Using CO-Intelligence to create a world that works for all, by Tom Atlee.

This page contains:

  1. Principles
  2. Methodology


Co-intelligence is about creating our shared lives together.
We learn and work better with each other and with the world around us.
We use our diversity and our uniqueness more creatively.
We engage more effectively with our full selves -- integrating the intelligences of our head, heart, spirit, body, intuition, creativity, and more.
We can consciously evolve together in partnership with nature.
We can heal and transform our culture and our world.
If we can mobilize the spectrum of human abilities, not only will people feel better about themselves and more competent; it is even possible that they will also feel more engaged and better able to join the rest of the world community in working for the broader good.

Collaborative Intelligence: Working with one another, with nature, and with the natural tendencies in us and the world, we can accomplish more with less, and enjoy it more.

Collective Intelligence: Co-intelligence often manifests as collective intelligence, the intelligence we generate together through our interactions and our social structures and cultures.

Global Ethics: Our greatest need at the present time is perhaps for a global ethic--transcending all other systems of allegiance and belief--rooted in a consciousness of the interrelatedness and sanctity of all life. Such an ethic would temper humanity's acquired knowledge and power with wisdom of the kind found at the heart of the most ancient human traditions and cultures.

Resonant Intelligence: There is more to intelligence than a solitary capacity exercised within the life of one entity. Resonant Intelligence is intelligence that grows stronger or fuller as it resonates with other sources or forms of intelligence, or which deepens in empathic response to life.

Universal Intelligence: There is more to intelligence than human intelligence. Intelligence is a property of the universe and of all that is in it. Universal Intelligence is the intrinsic tendency for things to self-organize and co-evolve into ever more complex, intricately interwoven and mutually compatible forms. Our human intelligence is but one manifestation of that universal dynamic. The more we are conscious of universal intelligence and connect ourselves to it, the more intelligence (and wisdom) we will have to work with. One might also describe Universal Intelligence as the mind or will of Ultimate Reality.

Multi-Modal Intelligence: Intelligence must involve more than logical reason, since rationality constitutes only a tiny piece of our full capacity to learn from and relate to life. There is more to intelligence than brains and logic. There is multi-modal intelligence.

Wisdom: There is more to intelligence than solving the problems in front of our faces. Wisdom means seeing beyond immediate appearances and acting with greater understanding to affirm the life and development of all involved. It involves balance, mystery and tolerance of ambiguity and change. The expanded perspective that accompanies wisdom fosters wonder, humility, compassion and humor.

Inclusiveness: Inclusiveness (finding effective ways to include all of the parts of the larger whole) is one of two key elements for increasing collective intelligence. The other is Diversity.

Diversity: Diversity is one of two key elements for increasing collective intelligence. The other is Inclusiveness.

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a) Officially convene a group whose diversity is a fair sample of the larger population concerned. Their typical diversity provides the challenges they need to expand their individual perspectives to embrace the bigger picture held and/or needed by the whole community.

b) Ensure they have high-quality information and high quality conversation in which everyone feels heard, all contributions can find their proper place, and group creativity is engaged. This ensures their diversity does, in fact, produce more light than heat -- generating more useful wisdom than anyone could generate by themselves.

c) Hardwire their dialogue and their findings into broader public dialogue and official political/governmental processes. If the process is set up so that the broad public takes notice, they'll talk about the results. If it is plugged into official decision-making processes, all the better.

1. Community information
2. Community conversation
3. Community healing
4. Community engagement
5. Public judgment
6. Public reflection

1. The Community Information Function
Purpose: To alert and inform the community regarding public conditions and issues, and the activities being undertaken to handle them.

a. Welcome all forms, modes and shades of information and perspective.
b. Make sure relevant information is accessible and known.
c. Facilitate knowledge about information (assumptions, sources, biases, relativity, "media literacy," etc.).
d. (Enhancement) Generate high quality information (e.g., timely, accurate, balanced, relevant, clarifying, empowering, feedback, etc.).

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2. The Community Conversation Function.
Purpose: To connect people, share thoughts and feelings, learn together, coordinate lives and activities, and move information, insight and possibility through the community.

a. Ensure freedom and safety to speak and associate.
b. People listen - the more fully, the better.
c. People speak - the more authentically, the better.
d. Help others do b and c.
e. (Enhancement) Provide resources, spaces, and opportunities for people to do b and c.

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3. The Community Healing Function
Purpose: To dissolve stereotypes, heal intergroup alienation, and build relationships

a. Convene diverse citizens, partisans or stakeholders.
b. Help them hear and understand themselves and each other better.
c. (Enhancement) Help them clarify new ways to relate to each other.

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4. The Community Engagement Function
Purpose: To engage people in co-creating ways they can work together to improve conditions in their community or world

a. Gather concerned citizens.
b. Help them understand the issues and each other.
c. Help them create or connect up with activities to make a difference.

4A. The Community Engagement Function - self-organization

a. Help interested people find each other and talk.
b. Let them take any actions together they want to.
c. Repeat (a) and (b) fractally.

Example: Open Space Technology

4B. The Community Engagement Function - vision

a. Gather stakeholders and/or citizens together.
b. Help them understand issues and each other by reviewing what's been happening.
c. Develop a shared vision or purpose.
d. Help them organize for diverse actions to serve that shared vision or purpose.
e. (Enhancement) Help them periodically review their progress.

- Examples: Future Search, Community Vision programs

4C. The Community Engagement Function - collaborative management

a. Convene key stakeholders across all relevant sectors, including government agencies.
b. Help them uncover and understand each other's interests and needs, capacities and resources, and relationship to the area concerned.
c. Facilitate their identifying and implementing shared management initiatives for the area concerned.
d. Help (a)-(c) become a self-organizing, self-managing, adaptive process.

- Example: Collaborative Watershed Management Councils (EPA sponsored)

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5. The Public Judgment Function
Purpose: To bring the diversity of the community together to influence the work of governance

a. Convene a broad spectrum of people to consider an issue, option, candidate, etc.
b. Help them engage with a broad spectrum of information and perspectives about it -- including each other's.
c. Help them deliberate about it to a collective judgment.
d. Pass on their responses to the public, media and decisionmakers.
e. (Variable) Expect those findings and recommendations to shape subsequent policies and programs (or set up things so that they have impact automatically).

5A. Public Judgment Function - Stakeholder Deliberative Councils.
Purpose: To address hot issues by developing less controversial proposals that diverse partisans can all buy in to.

a. Convene a broad spectrum of partisans and/or stakeholders to consider an issue.
b. Have them share their views, concerns and expectations.
c. Help them deliberate about the issue to a collective judgment.
d. Pass on their recommendations to decisionmakers and possibly the public and media as well.
e. Expect those findings and recommendations to influence subsequent policies and programs, since they are politically safer than prevailing alternatives.

- Example: Consensus Councils

5B. Public Judgment Function - Citizen Feedback Forums
Purpose: To provide informed, thoughtful public opinion feedback on official proposals, both to guide public officials and to help the public feel it has been engaged.

a. Convene a broad spectrum of citizens to consider an issue or set of options. Preferably select a fair cross section of the community, such as random selection or stratified sampling.
b. Introduce them to the issue or options. (Enhancement: Make additional info or expertise available.)
c. Help them share their diverse reactions with each other and do some deliberation.
d. Poll them on their responses to various options or approaches to the issue.
e. Summarize their responses for the public, media and/or decisionmakers.

- Examples: AmericaSpeaks, Deliberative Polling, Focus Groups, Televote audiences

5C. Public Judgment Function - Citizen Deliberative Councils
Purpose: To provide trustworthy public judgment on public issues, thereby advising official policy-makers and often the electorate.

a. Temporarily convene a broad spectrum of citizens to consider an issue or set of options. Preferably select a fair cross section of the community, such as random selection or stratified sampling.
b. Give them balanced briefings about the issue and access to expert testimony in which citizens can cross-examine and/or dialogue with the experts.
c. Help them deliberate about the issue to a collective judgment.
d. Pass on their findings and recommendations to the public, media and/or decisionmakers.
e. Expect those findings and recommendations to shape subsequent policies and programs (or set up things so that they do).

- Examples: Citizen Juries, Consensus Conferences, Planning Cells

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6. The Public Reflection Function
Purpose: To help the community see itself clearly on an ongoing basis and to find the wisdom it needs to guide itself

a. Watch what's happening -- particularly outcomes of the activities described above.
b. Seek out and make available what is not normally welcomed -- what is hidden, nuanced, paradoxical, repressed, emotional, novel, creative, dissonant, etc.
c. Help people fathom, clarify and develop their thoughts, feelings, values, needs, experience -- individually and collectively.
d. Engage them in conversations where they can do a-c repeatedly.
e. Use a-d to develop individual and collective insight.
f. Feed the insight back into a, b, c and d and see what emerges, over and over.

6A. Individual reflection (often done with help from others)
- Examples: Clearness sessions, Strategic Questioning, some psychotherapies and dialogic spiritual practices such as Focusing

6B. Relational reflection
- Examples: Nonviolent Communication, Radical Honesty, T-Groups

6C. Group or organizational reflection
- Examples: Listening Circle (native Council), World Café, Group Silence, Dynamic Facilitation, Bohmian Dialogue

6D. Community reflection.

a. Temporarily convene a broad spectrum of citizens to consider the state and direction of the community. Preferably select a fair cross section of the community, using random selection or stratified sampling.
b. Help them articulate and explore their community concerns, and let those concerns guide the flow of conversation. Help them speak from the heart and really hear each other.
c. Help them discover what they want to share -- as their consensus statement -- with the community at large about how it's doing and the directions it is (and could be) going.
d. Pass on their statement to the public, media and decisionmakers.

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