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Collective Intelligence
Zaid Hassan, 30 Nov 03

"I can't shake the feeling that I'm witnessing a metaphorical dawn, that the darkness is giving way, that in the next few years I will see the edge of the sun and know that we, as a planet, have made it."

Run by Tom Atlee, the Co-Intelligence Institute exists "to catalyze the sustainability and conscious evolution of human culture." In pratical terms one of the things that means is coming up with new models and ideas for democracy. The book bases its solutions on notions of inter-connectedness and collective intelligence.

Tom's book The Tao of Democracy is now available. The book offers "hundreds of ideas and tools to heal and transform the world."

This book will probably be most useful for those who are new to group dialogue processes. Read on for some examples.

"These councils [citizen deliberative councils] are diverse groups, somewhat like a jury, who are called together as a microcosm of "We the People" in order to learn, dream, and explore problems and possibilities together while the rest of society observes their deliberations. This approach can dramatically change the political environment, as subsequent government decisions are made in a context of greater public wisdom, sophistication and consensus."

"There are many other inspiring examples of the effort to develop community intelligence. Many of these have been carried out using the approach of Asset Based Community Development (ABCD). This community organizing approach does not directly address a community's problems or treat citizens as clients in need of services from government and nonprofit agencies. Rather, it sees citizens as assets and as co-creators of their community. ABCD organizers help citizens discover, map and mobilize the assets that are hidden away in all the people who live in their community, as well as in the community's informal associations and formal institutions. Those resources, brought out of their isolation and into creative synergy with each other, are then used to realize the community's visions. See John P. Kretzmann and John L. McKnight's Building Communities from the Inside Out or nwu.edu/IPR/abcd.html."

"At all levels, from groups to whole societies, the degree to which various perspectives are included increases the collective intelligence of the whole. Collective intelligence increases as it creatively and constructively includes diverse relevant viewpoints, people, information, etc., into collective deliberations."

- Tom Atlee, The Tao of Democracy

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