Co-Intelligence Institute work in 2016
year we instituted a new board with two former board members and
three new ones (see Supplemental Materials) who, along with three
senior advisors, held two 3-day in-person retreats which identified
priorities on which we made very good progress during 2016 (see
below) and have very exciting plans for further progress in 2017.
The Wise Democracy Course
of our top priorities was to design and teach a pilot introductory
course on wise democracy.
We recruited 20 students from around the world, each of
whom is involved in significant social change or democracy-related
work. See Supplemental Materials for examples. Tom Atlee taught
the course and it was hosted by CII senior advisors Rosa Zubizarreta (main facilitator) and Manju Bazzell and CII board members Margaret Anderson and Nancy
to time zone and scheduling issues, we held two 2-3
hour videoconference classes (7 people and 13 people) on
each of eight Wednesdays in September, October, and November.
The underlying theory, especially developed for the class,
involved a Venn diagram
consisting of 3 overlapping circles representing power, participation,
and wisdom. The second class introduced the model,
followed by three classes delving into each of the parts and then
a class exploring how all three parts relate to each other and
- in a wise democracy - ultimately become congruent.
There was also an introductory class where participants
shared their work and reasons for participating, and follow-up
classes where participants explored the pattern language (see
below) and how they planned to use their course experience in
their lives and work. The model proved extremely
memorable and useful for the participants. The classes were highly
participatory, with much engagement and even push-back from the
students. Notably, the class on power resulted in a major
evolution of our model of power. After the course participants
gave us useful feedback for the design of future courses.
provided two online forums (one for each of the two class tracks)
for participants to post homework assignments, discuss ideas introduced
in the class, and otherwise share their perspectives, questions,
and experiences and engage with Tom Atlee and the course hosts.
At the end of the class, the two forums contained 355 posts.
the videoconference classes were recorded and stored, and are
now being reviewed, edited, and curated for educational and promotional
use in 2017 and beyond.
The Wise Democracy Pattern Language
June 2016 our colleague Martin Rausch contacted Tom Atlee about
helping to create a pattern language for wise democracy. A pattern language is an integrated set
of design elements or principles - things to keep in mind when
evaluating or designing life-serving realities in a particular
field (such as vibrant communities, successful curricula, enjoyable,
productive conversations, etc.).
A wise democracy pattern language will help people discern
the level of wisdom-generating capacity in any political or economic
practice, system, institution or activity and also see ways it could be made more wisely democratic.
the approval of the board, Tom and Martin took this on as a top
priority. We realized that this was an ideal form of legacy through
which Tom can share his full 30 years of investigating and thinking
about wise democracy. Tom listed 59 patterns within 24 hours and
these have been revised, expanded, and articulated to constitute
the 70 patterns
we now expect to include in a version 1.0 release (with another
half-dozen under development).
pattern now has a name, an illustration, a 50-word description
of its essence, a video interview of Tom describing it in more
detail, an edited transcript of that video, a list of seven other
patterns that contribute to or depend on it (the relationships
that weave the whole pattern language into a coherent whole),
and some examples and resources to help guide people seeking to
understand that pattern and/or apply it to a design challenge. The pattern language was inspired by and
is being aligned with the Groupworksdeck.org
pattern language for group process, which Tom participated in
developing and which is now being used by thousands of people
around the world.
intention and vision for early 2017 is to present this intellectual
and visionary opus in the form of an interactive website (where
visitors can comment on and discuss the patterns and even propose
revisions or new patterns), a deck of cards (to enable modular
thinking and interactive group work with the patterns), and a
self-published print-on-demand book. All this is well underway. We expect to use the pattern language as
the inspiration and framework for
wise democracy courses (the fact that Tom's worldview is embedded
in the pattern language will allow less expert course facilitators
to use it to engage course participants in teaching each other
based on their own experience of the patterns, thus enhancing
the spread of the ideas beyond Tom's limited availability and
agents in diverse activist, academic, and professional circles
concerned with upgrading democracy, who will find their work
reflected in and enhanced by the bigger picture painted by the
pattern language, as well as drawing in disaffected concerned
citizens to a newly hopeful vision; and
developing a wise
democracy community of practice around the use of the pattern
language as well as maintaining its integrity and evolving its
content (again beyond Tom's limitations) and expanding its reach
into participants' professional and activist networks.
Community of Practice
wise democracy pattern language community of practice will build
on other efforts we undertook or developed during the grant period. Late in 2015 we had created a CII Fellows
program involving 16 people associated with the CII who were engaged
in on-the-ground programs of their own.
They participated in 19 two-hour videoconference
calls over 9 months (more than half of which were held in 2016)
learning about each other's programs and offering ideas, questions,
critiques, etc., to support those programs.
Each call concluded with commentary by Tom Atlee exploring
how co-intelligence ideas related to the call discussion.
The program was developed and facilitated by CII senior
advisor Rosa Zubizarreta.
the wise democracy course created a network of relationships and
sense of community. We plan to weave the participants into the
ongoing community of practice early in 2017.
Other activities (see Supplemental Material for details)
and Tom Atlee presented a participatory workshop on "Leveraging
and Scaling-Up Group Dialogue and Deliberation to Bridge Larger
Tom promoted using dialogue not just to get opposed partisans talking
respectfully to each other but to engage the public beyond partisan
Tom published 20 blog
posts on diverse co-intelligence and wise democracy topics.
Tom completed a 5000 word chapter on "Public wisdom: The key to sustainability"
for a peer-reviewed academic book on Methods for Sustainability to be published in 2017.
Martin Rausch and
Tom organized and carried out with colleagues an evaluation
of Vorarlberg, Austria's successful and influential July 2015
Civic Council on Refugees.
Tom Atlee did three
major recorded interviews on wise democracy.
The Co-Intelligence Institute's
- President and Treasurer
Tom Atlee - Vice
Nancy Glock-Grueneich - Member
Sample of Wise Democracy
Course participants (8 of 20)
Details about additional activities listed
in the Narrative Report above, with links
• At the National Coalition for Dialogue
and Deliberation (NCDD) conference in
October 2016, Rosa Zubizarreta and Tom
Atlee gave a participatory workshop on "Leveraging
and Scaling-Up Group Dialogue and Deliberation to Bridge Larger
Social Divides" which (a) shared three major
exemplar initiatives and (b) generated a
first draft of principles for scaling up D&D
initiatives to whole-society levels .
• On an NCDD conference call on post-election uses of D&D, Tom spoke about using D&D
not just to get opposed partisans talking respectfully to each
other (the dominant approach), but (a) to upscale such conversations
to model the possibility for broad audiences and to contradict
assumptions about how 'we can't talk with Them!"
and (b) to move beyond partisan framings altogether to get ordinary citizens working
together to solve societal and community problems.
• Tom wrote 20 blog posts (listed below) on democratic
innovations and vision, the refugee crisis, wise democracy theory,
the election (Trump, emotions, lessons, healing, transformational
opportunity), complexity (change efforts containing both light
and shadow; polarity management), and other topics.
• Tom completed
a 5000 word chapter on "Public wisdom: The key to sustainability" for a peer reviewed
academic book - Methods
for Sustainability - edited by his Australian public participation
colleague Janette Hartz-Karp, to be
published in 2017 by Edward Elgar
• In February
2016 Martin Rausch and Tom Atlee organized and carried out a collaborative
evaluation of Vorarlberg, Austria's successful and influential
July 2015 Civic
Council on Asylum and Refugee Policy.
• Tom did three major
recorded interviews on wise democracy
with Dain TePoel on June 28, July 7 and July 18;
with Lyn Carson (author
of Random Selection in
Politics) and David Schecter on
September 23; and
with Markus Goetsch on September
Atlee's blog posts
01/23/2016 A wise - or
wiser? - democracy?
02/10/2016 A really good
new book about dealing with differences
03/24/2016 Messy motions
towards a better world
engagement with the Trump phenomenon
05/28/2016 Plucking possibilities
and energy from the collision of hope and despair
06/04/2016 Using a few
million dollars to transform American political culture
06/21/2016 A wise - or
wiser? - democracy? - Part 2
07/06/2016 Moving together
in the rapids of change
07/13/2016 My vision
of a 3D wise democracy - in 3 diagrams
07/24/2016 Engaging human
life energy elegantly for change
How to actually design a wiser democracyÉ
to "Ways to Wiser Democracy" -a breakthrough CII pilot
08/17/2016 Hey! Let's
bring some sanity to choosing our public servants!
08/26/2016 A critical
shift in our view of democracy
09/09/2016 Managing polarities
like divergence / convergence in a wise democracy
10/11/2016 Shared shadow,
11/06/2016 Crazy politics?
How much longer will we wait?
healing and transformation in the U.S.
12/17/2016 Shifting strategically
to catalytic action
12/20/2016 Are you part of the .000001%?
12/29/2016 Reality, truth
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