The story of Community Intelligence
— told from a memory of the future
As I’m writing and you’re reading these words, something else is happening, too… Stop reading now, find your pulse and hold a finger on it for 10 seconds. Feel how life is pulsing in your veins… It is that “something”, which is happening all the time, whether we are present to it or not.
That constant flow and pulsation is also all around us, all the time. Our heart and the Earth are pulsing in the torus-shape electromagnetic field created by and surrounding them. So is the life of organisations. Holding a finger on its pulse, when we are silent enough, we can even hear it. The more deeply we tune in with its continuous tiny movements and changes, the less effort it takes to follow or inspire and work with them. That fine-tuning opens our ears to evolutionary epiphanies and helps us remember tunes that we’ve never heard before. Below is one.
The first decades of the 21st century presented humankind with sharp, unprecedented pitfalls and equally unprecedented opportunities. The dangers of the climate crisis, terrorism, authoritarian nationalism, and environmental degradation piled on top of each other. So did the breakthroughs in technological, organisational, and social innovation, which enabled the conditions of prosperity for all and for a peaceful planet.
Artificial intelligence, robotics and the myriads of rapidly evolving digital technologies made everything more volatile, move faster and with greater complexity. On the bumpy ride, everybody had to fasten the seat belt. It was the worst of the times for those, who desperately tried to stick to the old world. It was the best of the times for those, who tried to usher in a better one. Meanwhile, the planetary reality was oscillating between epic breakdown and breakthrough.
The decisive pivot from breakdown to breakthrough scenarios required the development of personal, organisational, and societal competences in transformative learning and boosting collective intelligence.
Starting with the 70’s of the 20th century, there has been a rapidly growing number of personal growth and development centres, workshops, self-help books, etc. Starting with the 80’s, the consultancies, books, and conferences related to organisational development and transformation were also mushrooming. But none of them were addressing the competence in transformative learning and collective intelligence at a scale that was mission-critical for humanity’s survival.
That started changing when Community Intelligence and a few other transformation agencies put the development of such competences in the front and centre of their business.
Back in 2018, Aftab Omer and George Pór wrote, “Transformative learning is on humanity’s agenda in times of epochal changes, when the old worldviews, modes of thinking and organising prove insufficient to deal with the acute complexity challenges.”
Of course, they knew that no single organisation could facilitate the righting of all wrongs, the healing of all social ill. Transformative learning is needed at the individual, institutional and global scale.
When he went to a conference on “designing collective intelligence” in September 2018, in London, George realised, in hindsight, why he has been so doggedly pursuing the theory and practices of collective intelligence augmentation since the mid-80s of the 20th century.
This realisation also gave more meaning to his pursuing the purpose of Enlivening Edge, an online magazine and movement hub, which he initiated in 2015. It stood for “Boosting the emergent collective intelligence, consciousness, and impact of the ecosystem of next-stage organizations and initiatives until they become the new mainstream of organizing work.”
Inspired by the enthusiasm of the hundreds of participants at the conference and many successful CI projects they reported on, he started building the team for what he called an “Action Research for AI-augmented Collective Intelligence for Next-Stage Organisations.” Highly talented professionals from various disciplines joined him. None of them knew, at that point, just what possibilities has that project opened up…