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Co-intelligence and Evolutionary culture

I first heard about co-intelligence in an interesting Ted talk " The promise of co-intelligence"

by Jan Bommerez. Jan Bommerez starts his talk with a striking example about the brilliance of the brainless termites and an example about the flow of thousands of birds flying simultaneously through the air. Their secret? Co-creation by co-intelligence.

What is co-intelligence?

The co-intelligence Institute defined co-intelligence as a shared, integrated form of intelligence that we find in and around us when we're most vibrantly alive. Co-intelligence is a capacity that goes far beyond individual IQ-based intelligence. Co-intelligence is intelligence that's grounded in wholeness, interconnectedness and co-creativity. It is the human manifestation of a universal evolutionary dynamic we call holistic intelligence. It is collective, collaborative, synergistic, wise, resonant, heartful, and connected to greater sources of intelligence.

In the book “COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace” by Mark Tovey, it describes a list of core principles of Evolutionary culture in a group for high-level collaborative thinking, which can be applied to culture in businesses and organisations.

  1. A Commitment to the Greater Good: All of the individuals in the group must be genuinely committed to discovering and/or achieving the best possible outcome for the whole. Individual or departmental agendas must be set aside.

  2. A Commitment to Wholehearted Engagement: Each group member must be committed to fully participate in all group meetings. This means bringing one’s full attention to the matter at hand, leaving all personal concerns at the door.

  3. A Culture of Self-Responsibility: All group members must feel personally responsible for the success of the group. Each must feel on a visceral level that the success of the group in achieving its outcomes rests on her shoulders alone.

  4. A Suspension of Assumptions: For the duration of the gathering, group members suspend everything they think they know in order to make room for new insights and understandings to emerge. Practicing what is known in Zen as a “beginner’s mind”, they cultivate an inner and outer environment of profound receptivity and openness, which turns out to be fertile soil for leaps in creativity.

  5. Culture of Deep Listening: Group members aspire to listen to one another from a place deeper than intellect. They tune their ears to listen for the deepest threads and the emerging glimmers of novelty in each other’s contributions, and, through their responses, they highlight and draw out those elements to make them transparent to the group.

  6. A Commitment to Authenticity: Everyone in the group must be committed to speaking their mind and heart. This is built on the recognition that in order to make the best decision, the group needs everyone’s data. To support this commitment, there must be an explicit agreement within the group that no point of view—no matter how challenging to either the leadership or to the group’s assumptions—will be ridiculed or dismissed without genuine, respectful consideration.

  7. A Culture of Risk-Taking: Nothing takes us to the edge of evolution faster than taking meaningful risks. This means speaking on an intuition when we’re not sure we have the words to give voice to it. Or, responding to a gut feeling that something isn’t right, but doing so vulnerably, realizing that it might be oneself that’s not right.

  8. A Culture of Empowered Vulnerability: Leading by example, the leadership demonstrates that it is okay to be vulnerable, to take the risk to expose one’s ignorance and uncertainty. The group sees that such vulnerability is actually a position of strength and power because it shows a courageous willingness to step into the most insecure places.

  9. A Culture of Constant Resolution: The group strives to maintain a clear and harmonious field of interaction between all participants. This means always striving to clear up any interpersonal tension as soon as possible, so as to build a container of deep harmony and trust among everyone.

  10. A Commitment to Grow and Evolve: In order for the group to consistently function at an optimal level, all individuals must be committed to staying on their own “evolving edge,” by seeking healthy feedback and taking on new challenges outside their comfort zone. When all of the individuals in a group are actively and enthusiastically engaged in their own evolution, their collective spirit of boundary-breaking infuses the group with vitality and organically keeps the group on its own evolving edge.

The possibility of a group thinking together beyond the grip of ego may seem like an unattainable goal to those with extensive experience of the pathologies of group life. But there is a growing body of action research demonstrating that, through the dedicated application of the principles described above, this higher collective possibility can be made a reality.

We are facing major global challenges as humanity today. Perhaps through changing culture in our society, adopting evolutionary culture in businesses and organisations, through co-creation by co-intelligence, we could solve the seemingly unsolvable challenges.


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