Master Facilitator Journal | Issue #0171 September 21, 2004 | 7,000 Subscribers...

Dear friends,

This week's article, "Dimensions of Collective Intelligence, submitted by noted author, democracy innovator, and founder of the Co-Intelligence Institute, Tom Atlee.
It turns out that even when thousands of people don't talk to each other at all, they can still be (somewhat mysteriously) collectively brilliant in solving problems. All told, there seem to be at least eight different -- and often mutually reinforcing -- types of collective intelligence, which are briefly described in this article.

We're excited to also have Tom co-host our next Micro-Skills Tele-Seminar on
Thursday, September 30th at 1:00 PM EDT. In this one hour teleclass, Tom and I will explore the concept of "Collective Intelligence--the greater intelligence that's at work when a whole group, organization, community or society addresses its problems well--and look at facilitator interventions that can influence collective intelligence in groups and meetings. Please see details below and consider joining us on this call.

In this Issue:

Feature Article: Dimensions of Collective Intelligence

Facilitating Collective Intelligence: Our next one-hour tele-seminar with Tom Atlee happens Thursday, September 30th at 1:00 PM EDT.

Resource: The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World That Works for All

Teleclass: Random Acts of Facilitation, October 11-15th

If any of you have any interesting stories or experiences about facilitation, group process, work groups, team building, training, etc. that might interest our readers, please send them to us.

Have a great week!

Steve Davis


Teleclass Oct 11-15th

170 articles and growing
Group Management Skill

Dimensions of Collective Intelligence

Exploring the eight forms of collective intelligence.

The Point

Think about the best and worst meetings you've attended. Think about Congress. Think about how the peace movement makes decisions. Think about how the Bush administration planned for the Iraq war.

All around us we see evidence that groups of people are often less intelligent -- and occasionally more intelligent -- than their members are as individuals. Those who study this phenomenon often call it "collective intelligence" (or "collective stupidity").

Collective intelligence has little to do with how smart the "individual" members of a group are. Groups of bright people can be collectively stupid (a phenomena Irwin Janis called "groupthink") -- whereas very ordinary or dull people can, under the right circumstances, generate real wisdom.

All of us know that conversations and meetings can be productive or crazy-making. But how many of us know that thousands of us ordinary humans can make independent guesses or predictions about something -- and collectively average a more accurate estimate than over 90% of us do individually. All these realities reveal collective intelligence (or its shadow, collective stupidity) at work.

Collective intelligence is a holy grail of social change. If we could better understand how to support it, increase it and facilitate it, we would be more able to effectively co-create a better world. Doing that, of course, involves significant political, economic, social, cultural, organizational and spiritual challenges. But the rewards, when these challenges are successfully engaged, are tremendous.

I have been exploring this subject since the late 1980s, when hardly anyone was talking about it. Now "collective intelligence" is such a common a phrase that Google lists 46,700 pages using it -- as well as tens of thousands of other pages using comparable terms like "collective IQ," "collective wisdom," "community intelligence," "group intelligence," and so on.

And I am truly amazed at the number of different "kinds" of collective intelligence people are talking about, and the number of different perspectives they have on the subject. Furthermore, their explorations of this topic are becoming more sophisticated every year. I now find myself surrounded by the population of a busy city in a once-raw territory I helped pioneer, often meeting other pioneers I didn't even know were there at the beginning, so vast and undeveloped was the landscape back then.


Three of my own recent contributions to this work are on the Collective Intelligence Blog (weblog) where I discussed eight forms of collective intelligence people seem to be talking about:

Reflective collective intelligence. This includes efforts by groups, organizations and communities to consciously use their diversity as a resource to address common concerns. Here we find all those great methods for dialogue and deliberation (Click here for more on this).

Structural collective intelligence. This is generated by official standards, architectural and community designs, laws, institutions, and other social systems that help people's collective behaviors add up to something that makes sense instead of frustrating them or creating more problems. For example, statistics that reveal how healthy and happy a community is generate more collective intelligence than those (such as Gross Domestic Product) that measure only how much money gets spent.

Evolutionary collective intelligence. This is the learned wisdom and workable patterns that we find embedded in cultures (e.g., myths and proverbs) and ecosystems (e.g., the field of biomimicry), as well as in society's great collective learning enterprises like scientific, academic and thinktank research activities that cultivate ever-expanding fields of evolving knowledge.

Informational collective intelligence. This form of collective intelligence is generated by the fact that so much information is available to so many people through media, libraries, the Internet, networks of associates, and so on. Some information technology visionaries speak of this as "the global brain." (Click here for more on this)

Noetic -- or consciousness-based -- collective intelligence. Prophets, mystics, shamans, clairvoyants and everyday meditators often connect with levels of reality or sources of wisdom beyond normal awareness, usually realms of deep kinship, wholeness or Oneness. As more people develop these special modes of consciousness -- individually and together -- tapping into (or attuning to) such transpersonal realms is becoming more common. (Click here for more on this)

Flow -- or mutual-attunement-based collective intelligence. Here we may find a top improvisational jazz group or basketball team acting as one coherent smoothly-functioning entity. Here we also find intelligent flocking behaviors and hive dynamics in nature. In each case, the group just hums productively along. And in flowing human groups, individual capacities and uniqueness are often enhanced by the process. (Click here for more on this)

Statistical collective intelligence. This odd phenomenon arises from the fact that, under the right conditions, dozens or thousands of people, ants, and even virtual "agents" (entities that exist only in computers) can arrive at brilliant solutions to their problems without even communicating with each other, simply by "covering the territory" or averaging out their behaviors or guesses. (Click here for more on this)

Revelational collective intelligence. Here we find answers that seem to appear in our midst almost from nowhere, simply because they are relevant -- often by one person MISunderstanding what another person says, or by "accidentally" stumbling on the exact vital information in a newspaper. Search engines attempt to engineer this, but it often happens mysteriously in life. (Click here for more on this)

In the Co-Intelligence Institute, we do a lot of work with the first four types of collective intelligence, because we believe they are basic to creating a wise democracy. However, others are focusing on other forms of collective intelligence, with good reasons of their own.

And now that I've painted the big picture of this rapidly emerging field, I want to alert you to several remarkable people and documents I've seen recently. I can't recommend them highly enough. I've provided some summaries and commentary here so you don't have to read them. But if you are at all interested in this topic, I think every one of them will excite you. Additional links are peppered throughout to further spice up your explorations. Enjoy them all. They are true treasures!

About the Author:
Tom Atlee is founder and co-director of the non-profit Co-Intelligence Institute. Visit his site at for more on this subject.


How have you noticed and/or facilitated co-intelligence arising in your groups? Please
send us your questions and comments.

Facilitation Expert Series

Facilitation Micro-Skills Tele-Seminar: "Facilitating Collective Intelligence. Featuring Tom Atlee, author, democracy innovator, and founder of the Co-Intelligence Institute. Attend this one-hour tele-seminar on Thursday, September 30th at 1:00 PM EDT (NY Time).

"Just in Time" Learning

Join Tom Atlee
on Thursday, September 30th at 1:00 PM EDT (NY Time) for a one-hour interview where we'll explore the concept of "Collective Intelligence-- a form of intelligence grounded in the recognition of the value of diversity, unity, relationship, context, uniqueness and the spirit inside each of us and the world--and look at facilitator interventions that can influence collective intelligence in groups and meetings.

Our discussion will draw from the following points...

We've been hearing about collective intelligence, group mind, collective wisdom, collective consciousness, and so on. What is your sense of these phenomena and how do you distinguish between them?
What factors or interventions do you find influence collective intelligence in groups and meetings?
What are some of your favorite methods and processes for meetings and conferences -- and why do you prefer them?
You talk about "systemic societal intelligence" and "wise democracy." What's all that about?
You seem to focus a lot on what you call citizen deliberative councils. What are they and why are they so central to your work?
How do you see facilitators fitting into all this?
Whose work do you find particularly exciting in this field?
I know from your website that your consider collective intelligence part of a larger field you call co-intelligence. What's the difference?
What are the edges of your own thinking in this area? What inquiries are alive for you right now?
And, answers to any questions you bring to the teleclass.

Free Bonuses:

1. Where Is Your Group Intelligence? Essay by Rick Dove, Paradigm Shift International, exploring where intelligence and culture reside in your organization.

2. Collective Intelligence Mankind's Emerging World in Cyberspace. An important contribution exploring the impact of computers on society and culture.

About Tom: Tom Atlee is founder and co-director of the non-profit Co-Intelligence Institute. Recently his work has focused on developing our capacity to function as a wise democracy, so we can turn our social and environmental challenges into positive developments for our society. His social change vision is based on new understandings of wholeness which recognize the value of diversity, unity, relationship, context, uniqueness and the spirit inside each of us and the world. Co-intelligence theory also acknowledges many facets of intelligence (like head and heart), wisdom, and the higher forms of intelligence (natural and sacred) that move through and beyond us. Although Tom and the Institute focus on very practical issues of group, social and political dynamics, co-intelligence has many esoteric dimensions as well.

Click here for details about this interview, the bonuses, and registration.


The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World
That Works for All
, by Tom Atlee

What Tom Atlee is writing about is just about the most important thing that's happening at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
Paul H. Ray, Ph.D, co-author of "The Cultural Creatives."

I cannot say enough good things about this book. Tom Atlee gets credit for defining a "bottom up" approach that is sensible and implementable. This book focuses on what comes next, after everyone gets tired of just "meeting up" or "just blogging." This book is about collective intelligence for the common good, and it is a very fine book.
Robert D. Steele (Oakton, VA USA, Top 100 Reviewer)

In the Spotlight

Teleclass for facilitators and change agents.

Discrete skills and attitudes for the new and experienced facilitator who wants to get their group into serious motion.

I want to thank you for designing a course that lived up to its advertisement. I found the daily curriculum practical and thought provoking. The ideas developed each day created foundations for the lessons to follow. Many "acts of facilitation" were immediately applicable to my facilitation practice. The tone of each class was a supportive learning environment. Each class ended on a note of high-energy with encouraging words and an opportunity for feedback. --Steven Pyser, J.D., Consultant--

Random Acts of Facilitation, 5-Day Teleclass

This class will meet over a telephone bridge line for five consecutive weekdays October 11-15, 2004 at 10:00 AM PDT, 1:00 PM EDT (NY Time) to cover 25+ facilitative actions you can take to empower and move groups forward. This course, that you can take from the comfort of your own home or office, is for beginning facilitators, group leaders, or group members who simply want to know more about facilitation so that they can make their groups more effective. These "discrete" acts of facilitation also lend themselves to being taught to your group members who desire to become more self-facilitative.

How the 5-Day Format/Training works...
1. You dial into your class every day for 5 days (Mon-Fri) for a 60-minute focused training segment using a conferencing bridge.
2. You work a 25-point checklist during the 5 days (about an hour a day of study and field work) which you complete by Friday afternoon, or sooner if you wish.
3. You will have the opportunity to discuss issues on the subject matter with the instructor and your classmates via an online discussion forum during the course.
4. During the week, you may access the instructor via email for help or situational questions.

5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training Agenda...
Here's what you'll be learning and doing during the 5-Day course...

Introduction to the Facilitation and Self Facilitation Skills.

1. Set the Stage.
2. Share the Dream.
3. Get Facilitation
4. Juggling.
5. Me First.

Relating with compassion and understanding.

6. Be Ignorant.
7. Make Smiles Happen.
8. Hold 'em High.
9. Acknowledge the Elephant.
10. Turn on Your Crap-Detector.

Group Dynamics and Facilitation

11. Build the Container.
12. Build trust.
13. Mine the Unexpected.
14. Evolve Your Team.
15. Honor the Process.
16. Facilitate Full Participation

Organizing and Presenting yourself confidently, professionally, and authentically. 

17. Prepare for Success.
18. Get Real.
19. Make Experiences, Not Speeches
20. Watch the Body Talk.
21. Be your message

Intervening to shift group energy

22. Tame the Tormentors.
23. CareFront.
24. Use the Struggle.
25. Break through barriers.
26. Facilitate from Within.
27. Embrace Facilitation as a Master's Path

Benefits to you of participating from the 5-Day Random Acts of Facilitation Training...
1. Get a great introduction to the concept and practice of facilitation skills if you are contemplating becoming a facilitator, team leader, board member, manager, mediator, etc.
2. Never waste another minute in an ineffective meeting again.
3. Learn how to challenge and empower every group you come in contact with.
4. Learn skills to help groups make quantum leaps in their effectiveness.
5. Be a catalyst for positive change in your community.

Also included with your training...
In addition to the 5-Day training described above, you also receive:
1. Comprehensive 15-page Student Learning Guide.
Free access to the participant-only website (lots of resources, forms, etc.).
3. Free access to the RealAudio version of the 5-Day training.
4. Free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value).

The full cost of training/access is only $79 if you register by September 30th. ($89 for the general public) including a free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value). Everything you read about above is included. And, we offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.

October 11-15, 2004, 10:00 AM PDT, 1:00 PM EDT (NY Time), 60 minutes each day.

I would recommend to anyone who wants to experience excellent modeling of what good facilitation is, to sign up for this teleclass. --Elain Wylie, Life Coach--


Immediately upon completion of your registration, you will receive an email with instructions to access the course and free article bank. This course is limited to 20 individuals, first come, first served.

Click here to register now

Self-Guided 5-Day Real Audio Version
You'll be provided with access to three separate recorded offerings of the five-hour teleclass (15 hours total) that you can listen to online and follow along in the learning guide is used in the live class. Click here to purchase for $69. We will also include a free copy of the Portable Article Bank ($29 value) with your purchase. We offer a 100%-satisfaction-guaranteed guarantee.


Please click here to purchase.

Self-Guided 5-Day CD Version
The Compact Disk (CD) version comes with all of the self-guided features listed above, together with 5 CD's you'll receive by mail that you can listen to anywhere you have access to a CD player.


Click here to purchase the CD Version for $79
plus $4 Shipping and Handling

About the satisfaction guarantee
If, for any reason, you are not satisfied with this training, simply email us with a request to refund/credit your credit card in the full amount and we will do so immediately. It's our policy to do this and we honor this in every single case.

Real Audio Testimonials
Click here for a one-minute audio testimonial from several participants on the final day of the teleclass.

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