Mapping Our Way to the Next Civilization

This blog started as a reply to a post by a friend of mine on Facebook. Bret Warshawsky wrote:

“How about some love and co-creation? We’re beginning to map ‘Golden Innovations’ and need your help!
When you see a post or thread on FB, and share it, about ‘Projects already changing the system toward compassion, cooperation,sustainability and creativity.’ Please tag us with #noomaptheinnovations . 
We would really appreciate the support. The graphic in this screen grab is just a work in progress so more design to come.

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Here’s my reply:

Bret, the interface is elegant and beautiful as always what you guys do. But that’s the easier part. The trickier is to design the pattern language for organizing the collected data and a smart information architecture that doesn’t only prevent the users from getting overloaded by the sheer volume and complexity of everything recorded, but also help them creating new hyper-trails of meaning. It’s something like that what I’m aiming for in a collaboration initiated by Christina Bowen, focused on “creating a map of org-structure, practices, and theory to show/ learn impacts on individual behavior and expression of collective intelligence,” which you can find in the #org-ecology channel of ResponsiveOrg on Slack .

Ours is only one of the MANY similar mapping efforts. The very fact that there’s a growing number of such efforts is a sign of our times, of discovering the urgency of what Barbara Marx Hubbard wrote:

 “The awakening of our species and our search for solutions is occurring, but it’s scattered, and it’s certainly not in dominion anywhere. The larger social structures are proving to be inadequate to solve the problems they’re creating. New social innovations are emerging everywhere, but they are not sufficiently connected or empowered. So right now, any effort that we can make to connect and create greater synergy and participation in this awakening process is probably the most important thing we can do.”
I don’t remember when she wrote that but I quoted it first 10 years ago here, and at numerous occasion since then, because it talks about a vital condition for  our planetary evolution needs to carry itself forward.
In the ecosystem of global mapping efforts of transformational initiatives there are different species with different gifts to the whole. The one where I’m focusing my attention is not trying to catch everything that moves towards more compassion, cooperation, sustainability and creativity. There are zillions of such projects and previous mapping efforts that tried to portray them imploded under the very weight of the overwhelming richness and diversity of the landscape.
So my intention is to map a much smaller swath of the whole, only the initiatives aiming at reinventing organizations for supporting the well-being and evolution of all of their members and other stakeholders. Such initiatives are numbered “only” by the thousands which I find a more manageable number. :-)
The infographic below is a first sketch for the landing face of such a map:
An ecosystem of movements for next-stage organization12-point ecosystem of the movements
map concept by George Pór – rendering by Sebastian Martin
Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 11.53.59This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
I wrote a bit more about the map above in the editorial of the September issue of Enlivening Edge.
Another mapping initiative worth paying attention to is the one of the Global Solutions Network:
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The 4 characteristics of a GSN are: addresses a global problem; engages diverse stakeholders; exploits the digital revolution; and self-organizes and self-governs. GSN’s core ideas is that “enabled by the digital revolution, multi-stakeholder, self-governing networks are transforming how we solve global problems.The 10 types of networks pictured above are linked with issue-based hubs that span climate and planet stewardship, health and human security, employment and prosperity, and cities. On each hub expert curators invite nominations of successful GSNs to help grow a comprehensive network of GSN networks.
GSN claims to be the definitive resource of expert insights, cases and field tools for global problem solvers. Its funders are large institutions and to get listed you have to be proven successful at a global scale. Very different logic from how the bottom-up, grassroots networks organize themselves. It’s not better or worse than the latter ones, just addressing different audiences. If you’re a forward-thinking policy maker, go to and engage with GSN.
If you’re a movement catalyst, organizational change maker, or connector of people networks, and  want to increase your effectiveness by connecting  with the tip of the evolutionary wave,  then go to and immerse yourself with the Reinventing Organizations wiki and the community surrounding it.  In that case, you may also want to pay attention to such new type self-managing and self-governing organizations as Enspiral, Metamaps, Sensorica, EdgeRyders and their brethren.
Technical folks from those groups are gathering, as we speak,  and “scheming about what the fundamental technical aspects would be needed to enable a vastly more interoperable capability to our various web platforms.” Whether they will succeed or not is almost less important than the fact they have engaged in co-creative relationships for growing something that can “act more so as an ecosystem of tools, than siloed off platforms” (Connor Turland).
One of the questions that hold my attention, as I’m looking at their work, is  what can the various projects of mapping “next-stage” organizational innovation learn from them? Can it be that facing challenges more complex than any group can successfully deal with inspires the recognition that when we meet things that are too complex to deal with, we need to ask for help from a larger collective intelligence? At some point in the development of our separate  mapping projects we may recognize that there is no one method of mapping can do justice to the vastness of the tectonic shift between the dying old civilization and the emerging new.

At that point we’ll start turning towards each other, seeking interoperability. The sooner we reach that point the easier will be to have the maps talk with each other. Only then will their users, the  people, communities, and organizations who need them, will have a more triple-E (more effective, efficient, and enjoyable) experience of navigating with them our turbulent, Emerging Planetary Reality. 

Another important mapping effort was led by Rhonda Fabian and commissioned by Kosmos Journal:

Connecting for Change: Insights from an Emerging Global Transformation Movement
Based on research by the author, in collaboration with Jennifer Horner, PhD

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“You might say it is the dark night of the planetary soul. Here we are in the midst of an ecological nightmare some are calling irreversible. The weight of war and human suffering seem overwhelming. We are bombarded with distress signals, but lulled by a media and political system that pushes distraction and more spending. Is it any wonder we try to evade our despair, that we close our eyes?

Yet at the same time, many people are waking up. They share a persistent inner sense that even the darkest night must be followed by a new day. Nearly every spiritual tradition says it is so and prophesizes a great planetary era still ahead and, though particulars differ, each asks for our faith that a better world is possible, predicated on peace and sharing. Science advances a similar, more immediate message: it’s now or never and cooperation is the key.

The Shift, Great Turning, and New Story are words used to describe what many are experiencing as a growing movement or awareness worldwide of the need to examine and restructure political, economic, and social systems to align more closely with the needs of humanity and the Earth.”

Kosmos Journal’s  “Connecting for Change” study was one of the most substantive contributions to the field that I call “evolutionary cartography” that is focused on mapping the tip of the evolutionary wave of today’s epic transformations. Hopefully, the next phase of the study will receive the funding necessary to do justice to the complex tasks of mapping the fast-moving tip of the evolutionary transformations sweeping the world.

To be even more useful than Phase I was, Phase II of the study would need to organize and store its information, using a collaboratively developed “transformational movements” pattern language, maybe in a relational database at the back-end, and an engaging “advanced visual language”-based user interface as a publicly accessible front-end.
Coupled with social technologies (such as the U process, World Cafe, Appreciative Inquiry, etc.) baked in the software, Connecting for Change could become a fully self-organizing knowledge base and more — an engine of transformation, by connecting our conversations in the ecosystem, which i wrote about in Kosmos:
If what we aim at is to discover the generative patterns that connect the various movements and initiatives for change, then we need to create interactive, self-organizing maps with functions that I sketched out in a 2010 blog on A tool for mapping the future as it’s emerging in the present and What functions will élan map perform.  5 years ago, those thoughts were a decade ahead of their time. Let’s shorten the remaining 5 years. :-)
But it’s not only about software and information architecture, and maybe not even about them at the first place. Rhonda wrote earlier this year, “We are coming closer as a species to a new form of mental connection. It is possible to mentor, support, hold one another very deeply.” I replied:  And it’s not only mental. For our species to awaken to its collective sentience, the global brain needs to be coupled with a global heart. That’s the focus of the paper that I am working on presently, “From Shared Mindfulness to Collective Intelligence to Collective Sentience.”
Since then, that paper was published and you can read it here. It’s not hardcore futurism because the unscaled version of “collective sentience” is already present. Is is in caring for each other and this planet. Whatever mapping of the forces that work for a better world we develop, it should not be just an intellectual exercise. It needs to be guided by a desire to support all those to find a path to the future, who know that there must be an alternative to the status quo, and need to discover that not only they are not alone, but there’s a plethora of paths…
Posted in Collaborative Sense-Making, Connecting Our Conversations, Movement Cartography, Technologies That Support CI, Visualizing Our Ecosystem | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

The Power of Collective Wisdom

In a world facing increasing complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty, it is both good and necessary to be reminded of deeper truths and practical principles for creating lasting change. This book is for leaders, groups, communities, and networks desiring to increase our human capacity for creativity, well-being, and social change. This is a foundational book for anyone exploring the higher potential of groups or wanting to find personal ways of being a better leader, organizer, or collaborator. Readers will be impressed by the depth of insight and accessible style that offers both inspiration and practical real-world knowledge. “When you connect your dots, good things happen. When many find their dots interconnected, great things can happen. Collective wisdom doesn’t imply convergent thinking. An intra-connected group gains traction by respecting its members’ diverse perspectives. Intra-connected groups function with a picture window view, so decisions are based on what’s best for all.” Supported by the visionaries of the Fetzer Institute, this book is required reading for anyone interesting in collaborative social change. Based on nine years of research, The Power of Collective Wisdom shows how we can reliably tap into the extraordinary co-creative potential that exists whenever human beings gather together. The most significant challenges of our time- social, economic, and environmental- are calling for leaders to understand, trust, and draw upon relational and co-creative capacities. This inspiring and practical book points the way. Not only have authors written about collective wisdom, they have created it.

Source: The Power of Collective Wisdom | Learning Change

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The Collective Intelligence of Online Communities 

Recent research with face-to-face groups found that a measure of general group effectiveness (called “collective intelligence”) predicted a group’s performance on a wide range of different tasks. The same research also found that collective intelligence was correlated with the individual group members’ ability to reason about the mental states of others (an ability called “Theory of Mind” or “ToM”). Since ToM was measured in this work by a test that requires participants to “read” the mental states of others from looking at their eyes (the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” test), it is uncertain whether the same results would emerge in online groups where these visual cues are not available. Here we find that: (1) a collective intelligence factor characterizes group performance approximately as well for online groups as for face-to-face groups; and (2) surprisingly, the ToM measure is equally predictive of collective intelligence in both face-to-face and online groups, even though the online groups communicate only via text and never see each other at all. This provides strong evidence that ToM abilities are just as important to group performance in online environments with limited nonverbal cues as they are face-to-face. It also suggests that the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test measures a deeper, domain-independent aspect of social reasoning, not merely the ability to recognize facial expressions of mental states.

Source: The Collective Intelligence of Online Communities | Learning Change

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WiserWorldWeb – Collaborative Inquiry on Collective Intelligence

WiserWorldWeb – Collaborative Inquiry on Collective Intelligence is an effort to bring together people who are advancing the collective understanding of collective intelligence. It is a space where a wide variety of thinkers can share their thought on collective wisdom, collective learning, organizational learning, swarm intelligence, complex adaptive systems, crowd resources, social change, cultural change, economic development, and related subjects. At the kernel of most of our problems is the problem of how to improve our collective intelligence. As it is, there is much opportunity in the rapidly emerging communications and computing technologies. These forms of collective intelligence all are greatly increasing our capacities to work together to address problems. Fortunately, the emerging tools are being used to understand Collective Intelligence in new ways. Researchers from cognitive science, computer science, sociology, organizational theory, biology, anthropology, political science and other fields are discovering many aspects of the dynamics of collective intelligence. But more can be done to cohere and quicken the diverse discoveries. The more intelligent the community of CI scholars becomes, the more quickly can their insights be applied in address societal problems. So it will be interesting to find out what is the collective wisdom of this diverse group about how to nurture CI as a field of inquiry, as an emerging discipline. WiserWorldWeb will offer a space where researchers can easily continue to share ideas.  And as the site grows, it will become a forum for deliberation for an expanding community of thinkers. is a new site, and much remains to be done to realize the possibilities. But it hopes to be one part of the effort to increase humanity’s collective intelligence.

Source: WiserWorldWeb – Collaborative Inquiry on Collective Intelligence | Learning Change

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A Conversation on Collective Intelligence

A Conversation with Thomas W. Malone, Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. As all the people and computers on our planet get more and more closely connected, it’s becoming increasingly useful to think of all the people and computers on the planet as a kind of global brain. What does collective intelligence mean? It’s important to realize that intelligence is not just something that happens inside individual brains. It also arises with groups of individuals. In fact, I’d define collective intelligence as groups of individuals acting collectively in ways that seem intelligent. By that definition, of course, collective intelligence has been around for a very long time. Families, companies, countries, and armies: those are all examples of groups of people working together in ways that at least sometimes seem intelligent.

Source: A Conversation on Collective Intelligence | Learning Change

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Growth of Collective Intelligence by Linking Knowledge Workers through Social Media

Collective intelligence can be defined, very broadly, as groups of individuals that do things collectively, and that seem to be intelligent. Collective intelligence has existed for ages. Families, tribes, companies, countries, etc., are all groups of individuals doing things collectively, and that seem to be intelligent. However, over the past two decades, the rise of the Internet has given upturn to new types of collective intelligence. Companies can take advantage from the so-called Web enabled collective intelligence. Web-enabled collective intelligence is based on linking knowledge workers through social media. That means that companies can hire geographically dispersed knowledge workers and create so-called virtual teams of these knowledge workers (members of the virtual teams are connected only via the Internet and do not meet face to face). By providing an online social network, the companies can achieve significant growth of collective intelligence. But to create and use an online social network within a company in a really efficient way, the managers need to have a deep understanding of how such a system works.Thusthe purpose of this paper is to share the knowledge about effective use of social networks in organizations. The main objectives of this paper are as follows: to introduce some good practices of the use of social media in organizations, to analyze these practices and to generalize recommendations for a successful introduction and use of social media to increase collective intelligence of a company.

Source: Growth of Collective Intelligence by Linking Knowledge Workers through Social Media | Learning Change

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The Collective Intelligence Handbook – An Open Experiment

Collective intelligence has existed at least as long as humans have, because families, armies, countries, and companies have all–at least sometimes–acted collectively in ways that seem intelligent. But in the last decade or so a new kind of collective intelligence has emerged: groups of people and computers, connected by the Internet, collectively doing intelligent things. In order to understand the possibilities and constraints of these new kinds of intelligence, a new interdisciplinary field is emerging. This book will introduce readers to many disciplinary perspectives on behavior that is both collective and intelligent. By collective, we mean groups of individual actors, including, for example, people, computational agents, and organizations. By intelligent, we mean that the collective behavior of the group exhibits characteristics such as, for example, perception, learning, judgment, or problem solving. The book is under contract with MIT Press, and we are making early draft chapters available here, in part, to solicit comments from a wide range of people via the Web.

Source: The Collective Intelligence Handbook – An Open Experiment | Learning Change

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