Co-Intelligence Institute work in the first half of 2011
A report from Tom Atlee, June 17, 2011
This last six months most of the Co-Intelligence Institute's best
work has been in behind-the-scenes exploratory conversations, research
and development. We expect the results of all that to become increasingly
Here's a sky-view of what we've been up to. I invite you to consider
what impact this kind of work has and could have, and to support
SOWING CO-INTELLIGENCE IDEAS
* In the last six months we sent out mailings, blog
posts and tweets
on the food crisis, diversity, social systems, powerful conversations,
Japan's nuclear crisis, Wikileaks, democracy -- including the hot
question of who REALLY represents We the People, as well as offerings
for Egypt's democratic revolution -- and much more. Perhaps most
notably, we compiled, organized and shared a LOT of information
about the budget crisis, income disparity, participatory budgeting,
and ways of engaging the citizenry in tight times. That attracted
inquiries from some major players in California's hot budget debate.
* I became an official
blogger of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation.
In my first posts I proposed innovations to make deliberation more
creative, and urged professionals in the field to reach beyond their
own projects to collaborate in building society's "conversational
journal published my article "Positive Possibilities for
a World in Crisis", a shorter version of "Crisis
Fatigue and the Co-Creation of Positive Possibilities"
which we sent you last November.
* I've been working with professor Kenn Burrows on an in-progress
Censored report about why positive news about citizen empowerment
and collaboration gets so little mainstream coverage -- and what
to do about it.
* Filip Mrác¼ek translated and published a Czech version
of my early good articles on co-intelligence.
Two of the projects in which the Co-Intelligence Institute played
significant roles had big successes this year.
* Legislation created by
Healthy Democacy Oregon establishing Oregon's Citizen Initiative
Review process -- in which panels of randomly selected citizens
evaluate ballot measures -- passed both houses of the Oregon state
legislature and was just signed into law by the governor. This is
the FIRST TIME
citizen deliberative councils have been made official in the
United States. Wow!
* Peggy Holman's breakthrough book ENGAGING
EMERGENCE: TURNING UPHEAVAL INTO OPPORTUNITY won a gold medal in
the Nautilus Book Awards. It was also passed on to some notable
leaders, including President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.
Wow #2 -- and may this profoundly important book shape their thinking
* We've had meaty conversations with
the Coffee Party and Transpartisan
leader Joseph McCormick about inclusive grassroots conversations,
and the impact they could have on the larger democratic process.
* Board member Heather Tischbein worked with the Living Room Conversations
project to bring together Left and Right activists. We've also supported
a pioneering effort in southern Oregon catalyzing a coalition of
green-left and libertarian-right locals to develop greater community
resilience. Some of them got to know each other in a "car cafe"--
a carpool cafe-caravan -- we organized to drive from Ashland, OR,
to Seattle, WA for a conference two years ago!
* Two CII board members, Lyn Bazzell and Adin Rogovin, provided
extensive organizational support for the launch of Convergence,
an ambitious stakeholder dialogue initiative based in Washington,
D.C., led by experienced
facilitators and conveners.
* We're doing research preparing a Co-Intelligence Institute initiative
to weave together diverse democracy and public participation resource
websites, while creating our own resource site focusing on wise
democracy and democratic innovation. I'll say more about this initiative
during the coming summer fundraiser. It emerged from
our recent work to update CII's Innovations in Democracy website.
GROUP PROCESS BREAKTHROUGH
John Abbe and I worked full time for many days with the team developing
the pattern language for group process. This project will greatly
clarify what to attend to when you want enjoyable, productive conversations.
It will enable practitioners of very different conversational methods
to explain their approaches to each other and to evaluate conversational
events together. It will also help novices do a good job convening
and facilitating high quality conversations on their own -- and
to get more quickly and thoroughly trained when they're ready. My
main contribution this year was articulating connections between
more than 80 "patterns" -- a real brain stretcher! The
core team has done amazing work presenting all this on
their pattern language wiki. They plan to have a set of beautifully
illustrated pattern language cards available to all of us this fall
-- free for download and affordable for a printed set. Stay tuned.
I honestly believe this will be a game changer in the field.
THREE MAJOR NEW INITIATIVES
I believe our most important recent work has been in three areas,
all currently in-process and in need of your support. The Co-Intelligence
Institute is committed to sparking breakthrough insights, inspiring
visions, and productive action in all three areas.
1. EMPOWERED PUBLIC WISDOM
We -- humanity -- have a lot of knowledge about how to generate
public wisdom from various conversational processes and collective
knowledge systems. We also know a lot about how to empower people
in the political process. But those who have been empowered are
usually either individual citizens or organized partisans. In contrast,
those involved in generating inclusive public wisdom -- as in citizen
deliberative councils -- seldom have much power to influence policy,
budgets, and public behaviors. What would happen if we could set
things up so that We-the-People public wisdom on public issues could
be generated and then supported to have real impact on what happens
in communities and countries? The Co-Intelligence Institute has
been pursuing this inquiry intensively in our board meetings and
conversations. This includes, of course, the question of what makes
a decision wise. I'll be sending you an article about that shortly.
Early in this project we envision developing videos and courses
on "wise democracy" topics, which we'll make available
2. LIFE-ENHANCING ECONOMICS
I've been studying the elements of new economic systems that would
help heal the Earth and nurture humanity's evolution into a wise,
sustainable civilization. How would that actually work? For years
many colleagues have been developing these ideas and possibilities,
from complementary currencies and gift economies to sharing circles
and new do-it-yourself technologies. I've not previously gone deeply
into these, focusing instead on deliberative wise democracy. But
as the wise democracy work has matured (as in 1, above), I have
noticed a whole ecology of economic and technological innovations
beginning to converge into some possibilities that blow my mind.
I'm seeing how they all fit together into more co-intelligent systems
to organize and empower human activities in ways that serve both
human and nature's needs. I will be sharing some of these during
this summer fundraiser. I have tremendous hope for the emerging
synergies between the new economics and our vision of empowered
3. THE POWER OF EVOLVING WHOLENESS
I've been working on a book on wholeness.
I consider the concept of wholeness to underlie all my work on co-intelligence,
dialogue and deliberation, wise democracy, conscious evolution,
evolutionary activism, and all the rest. I am pulling together over
a hundred manifestations of wholeness, offering a number of models
to illustrate more of its dynamics, and describing ways it offers
us "freebies" for increasing our effectiveness and well-being
with little or no added energy and resources -- from synergy and
whole-systems design to tapping into our whole selves and everyone's
intrinsic passions. I hope to offer a framework within which all
the diverse work to create a just, wise, joyful, sustainable and
meaningful world will make profound sense as a coherent whole and
gain greater power for change. (This is my main "legacy"
project stimulated by the death of my partner Karen last year, which
brought my own aging and mortality vividly to my attention.)
I hope you find all this inspiring and worthy of your support.
There is a lot of work to do. The unfolding events of the world
-- earth changes of biblical proportions (many caused by human actions),
startling social revolutions and devolutions, rampant technological
developments -- all these and more are shaking our collective foundations.
They seem to call to us to do our work soon and as well as we can,
so that they -- these amazing disturbances -- can break us through
to a successful evolutionary transition for all of humanity.
Thank you for YOUR work. And blessings on the Journey we share.
TO SUPPORT THE CO-INTELLIGENCE
INSTITUTE & TOM ATLEE'S WORK...
Please send your fully tax-deductible donation of
any amount -- $10, $25, $50, $100, $500 or more -- to
The Co-Intelligence Institute
PO Box 493
Eugene, OR 97440
or use your Visa or MasterCard to make tax-deductible
... and tell your friends about our work and
invite them to support it.
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