Facilitator Journal | Issue #0526, February 14, 2012
I'm always interested in group strategies, models, and perspectives
that might influence not only the work we do facilitating small groups,
but also the larger social and cultural issues of our time. This week's
article, Using Co-Intelligence to Align the Energy of Groups, was inspired by
information I gleaned from the Co-Intelligence
Institute. This article explores a larger view of our individual
and collective capacities and their importance to our survival. Read about the five dimensions of Co-Intelligence: multi-modal,
collaborative, wisdom, collective, and universal intelligence,
and how we might use them to optimize our individual and group energies. Oh and by the way, Happy Valentine's Day!
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Co-intelligence to Align the Energy of Groups
Awaken your groups
to a larger view of their individual and collective capacities.
I often marvel at the vast intelligence, energy, and resources we collectively
squander by undermining each other's efforts. We see this happening everywhere--in
business, politics, government, education, etc. One group springs up simply
to oppose the goals and ideas of another. I often wonder what would happen
if we could better align our efforts, focusing them coherently on the
problems we all say we want to solve...much like a laser renders disparate
light frequencies coherent enabling them to burn through steel. What would
this take and how would be do it?
Tension is a force of nature that often inspires evolution and the creation
of more complex systems. So perhaps sometimes some groups are better off
being at odds with one another. When I consider my own life, I realize
there are times when my thoughts, feelings, and actions aren't congruent.
I know this is true for most of us at least some of the time. So no wonder
groups have a hard time aligning their efforts. After all, aren't they
simply a macro reflection of their individual members?
I recently came upon the Co-Intelligence
Institute. They present a five-level model of intelligence that may contribute to
the alignment of groups and the individuals that comprise them. Before
we present this model, here are some relevant definitions that accompany
Intelligence - Intelligence is more than IQ. It is the whole palette of capacities
through which we continually create a fit between our minds and lives
and the world around us.
Co-intelligence - Co-intelligence is intelligence that is guided by and nurtures wholeness.
Co-intelligence manifests in diverse ways that reflect wholeness, such
as the integration of our heads and our hearts, the wisdom of spirit and
nature, the collective intelligence of groups, communities, whole societies,
and much more.
Wholeness - As noted above, co-intelligence is intelligence that is guided by and
nurtures wholeness. Wholeness refers to the evolving inclusive coherence
of life and its various parts, and the relationship dynamics between those
parts. This coherence underlies familiar concepts like health, integrity,
wholesomeness, holiness, and other holistic concepts. Comprehending the
many dimensions and dynamics of wholeness can help us understand and enhance
Wisdom - Co-intelligent theory views wisdom as the capacity to appreciate the
wholeness of life with an expanded, deepened perspective -- and to act
on that appreciation to produce long-term common good, or useful lessons
in that direction. Most phenomena normally associated with wisdom (compassion,
humility, insight, etc.) are embraced by this view. Most importantly,
wisdom in co-intelligence theory includes the expansion of perspective
and co-creativity that's possible through dialogue among diverse people
or viewpoints. This is a major foundation for a wise democracy.
The five dimensions
of co-intelligence so far identified are multi-modal intelligence,
collaborative intelligence, wisdom, collective intelligence and universal
If we are to know
life at a deeper, more engaged level, we'll need to develop a deeper,
more engaged intelligence that includes all these dimensions. The Co-Intelligence
Institute offers a vision of such intelligence -- a co-intelligent world view based
on five revolutionary premises:
is more to intelligence than brains and logic. Many varieties
of intelligence are available to us.
Multi-modal intelligence means there are many ways to learn,
know and engage with the world. Our bodies, minds, hearts and spirits
contain a full palette of intelligences -- emotional, analytic, intuitive,
kinesthetic, narrative, moral... We can use more of these and integrate
them better -- especially in synergy with other people, since we're all
capable in such different ways.
is of the utmost importance that we recognize and nurture all of the varied
human intelligences....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."
-- Harvard professor Howard Gardner, "Multiple Intelligences: The
Theory in Practice" --
There is more to intelligence than successfully predicting and controlling
things. We can creatively respond to life. We can collaborate with the world around
intelligence means finding and working with all the available
allies and cooperative forces around us - and there are many. There are
always energies we can fruitfully align with, both existing and potential
- even within the heart of adversaries and problems. Working with each
other, with nature, and with the natural tendencies in us and the world,
we can accomplish more with less, and enjoy it more.
than asking, 'What can I get from this land, or person?' we can ask, 'What
does this person, or land, have to give if I cooperate with them?'....
Everything is a positive resource; it is up to us to work out how we may
use it as such."
-- Bill Mollison, "Permaculture: A Practical Guide for a Sustainable
There's more to intelligence than solving the problems in front of our
faces. There's wisdom
--the big picture, the long term.
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.
creative edge of truth begins to shift from knowledge to wisdom...[thus
moving] on to the challenges of balance, perspective, sustainability and
-- Charles M.
Johnston, "Necessary Wisdom" --
There is more to intelligence than individual intelligence. There
is collective intelligence, the intelligence we generate together.
intelligence means that families, groups, organizations, communities
and entire societies can act intelligently as whole, living systems. What
we believe, what we do, and how we organize our collective affairs can
make or break our collective intelligence. We could improve our collective
intelligence to a point where humanity not only survives and flourishes
into the foreseeable future, but consciously evolves.
need a collective intelligence of a kind that may not have characterized
species in the past."
Hawken, James Ogilvy, Peter Schwartz, "Seven Tomorrows," a report
on the work of the futures research group at Stanford Research Institute
is more to intelligence than human intelligence. Intelligence
is a property of the universe and of all that's in it.
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'll
have to work with.
mind, I believe, exists in some very real sense in the universe.... Mind
was a primary part of nature from the beginning and we are simply manifestations
of it.... mind is inherent in the way the universe is built."
-- Astrophysicist Freeman Dyson, "US News and World Report"
Add Your Comments
How can you use the concept of co-intelligence in your groups? Just click on Add Your Comments to share your questions, feedback, or comments.
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