As I said, in a recent entry in the blog on communities of practice , I've been away for a while but not idle. In the last couple of months I made friends with an amazing array of very remarkable people. One of them is Peter Merry who has just finished writing his forthcoming book on Evolutionary Leadership. This entry is originated as one of my contributions to it.
The meaning and accelerating the emergence of CI
Having learned ways to quiet their mind and strengthen their health and vitality, aspiring evolutionary leaders are ready to dance with the energies of the â€œWe,â€ their teams, communities, the network of all of their relationships. They are ready to ask and see into powerful questions.
It is springtime in Europe and the air is gently sprayed with a scent of nature and human spirit coming alive again, after a long winter. It is a good time to look at generative questions, the seeds of transformation. Here's one that I believe worth of our attention:
How can a group of individual intelligences become truly collective intelligence? How can they escape into a more complex and capable collective intelligence, without sacrificing their autonomy?
The act of â€œseeing intoâ€ a powerful question is like holding a baby in your arm, in a mix of awe, wonder, and curiosity. Can you hold the following question, in that way?
"How to accelerate the emergence of a higher collective intelligence in communities?"
I offer the this meaning of CI, as a starting point: â€œCollective intelligence is a distributed capacity of communities to evolve towards higher order integration and performance through collaboration and innovation."
This is an updated version of the definition introduced in the chapter on "Liberating the Innovation Value of Communities of Practice" of the forthcoming textbook on Knowledge Economics: Emerging Principles, Practices and Policies.
CI sits in the lower left of Wilberâ€™s quadrants, the space of â€œwe,â€ culture, and inter-subjectivity. Wilber has been giving many good maps of it, even an excellent, 1-sentence summary: â€œThese shared values, perceptions, meanings, semantic habits, cultural practices, ethics, and so on, I simply refer to as culture, or the intersubjective patterns in consciousness.â€ A student of Wilber, Steve McIntosh, further specified the content of those inter-subjective cultural structures that we share with others in groups:
â€œWhile the content of subjective consciousness consists of feelings, thoughts, and decisions, the content of inter-subjective cultural structures consists of the substance of what is shared by subjective consciousnessâ€”the substance of information, meaning, and value.â€
Source: Intersubjective holons: dynamic systems of communication. An examination of the nature and behavior of the structures of consciousness and culture, by Steve McIntosh (.pdf)
In communities and organizations, besides those shared qualities, we also share a capacity to evolve and co-evolve with one another and with the surrounding social, technical, and market ecosystems.
CI is continually emerging from the connected conversations among members across ecosystems.
It's occurring all the time, in many invisible ways. Let's make one visible, by a simple, small-scale experiment, an open source, collaborative learning process that could give its participants a taste of that emergence. I imagine four steps:
â€¢ Discovering the seed conditions for the emergence of CI
â€¢ Sensing what hinders the evolution of CI
â€¢ Comparing notes
â€¢ Seeking patterns that connect actionable meaning
Continue reading "The emergence of CI, an online experiment" »