Image

Archive for Collective Intelligence

Introduction to Magic in the Middle – Part Three

By Finn Voldtofte, 2005

Collective Intelligence – Collective Wisdom
Intelligence here simply means the ability to think – that is to reflect, consider, examine, learn, be absorbed, distinguish … .

The shift in awareness, from the individual to the magic in the middle of a group of people, is also a shift towards paying attention to the emerging ability to think together, the collective intelligence of the group.

A collective intelligence has the possibility of thinking at a different level than we can individually. The characteristics of a collective intelligence can be described intuitively with the words “higher”, “deeper”, “broader”, “bigger” … .

What we gain by making use of this ability to think together, we could call collective wisdom. Collective wisdom is thus a form of knowledge that we, in principle, do not have access to individually, but that can only arise in our common field. As such it is not knowledge that we have in common; it is knowledge that only emerges in communities.

* * *

This is the third of six weekly posts taken from an Introduction to Magic in the Middle written by the late Finn Voldtofte in March of 2005.

Finn was one of the original co-founders of the World Café. He worked tirelessly with Juanita Brown to distill and articulate the World Café Design Principles that underlie all World Café practice. Finn was an amazing human being who inspired and touched many, many people on a profound level. His articulation of the “Magic in the Middle” is still one of the most evocative descriptions of what makes World Café “work” and we are honored to publish his words here in this crucial time, when they ring as truly & eloquently as ever

 


World Cafe is “Stepping In” on a new level – increasing our capacity to engage most effectively with the challenging issues of our times. Here’s an overview of what we’re envisioning and some of the priorities we’ve identified to start. Please join us and contribute what you can to support this important work.


This blog post is one response to an open invitation to our global community – to step up & express what the gift of the World Cafe means to YOU. We welcome your posts, as well as your comments and shares on this post.

Hosting Difference

In my career, as a Chief Executive Officer in a large nonprofit organization, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in meetings with my counterparts around the world. Forty cultures all in one place. Forty leaders common in their vision. And forty different worlds to work in realizing those visions. How do you hold a meeting that unites, energizes, and appreciates the nuances of our very real differences despite the ties that bind us in common purpose? I’ve sat through the Board room meetings frustrated by the inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the “one person talks at a time” approach, while everyone agrees the real value is during the break, and meals.

When given the opportunity to apply World Café approaches to this group, the outcomes were stunningly different. Relationships were deepened, energy was created. Agreements were forged.  Partnership emerged. Collaborations were ventured. And in the end a standing ovation in response to the peak pleasure of the experience. It’s hard to measure the impact, yet easy to contract the difference of potential from days wasted of formal agenda, preliminary rule and “one at a time” communication compared to the excitement, vitality, and energy present in a World Café.

It was breathtaking to watch people from forty cultures exploring their futures. I’ve wondered a lot over the years how the World Café might serve the United Nations. A dream.

Paul E Borawski
Chief Executive Officer, (ret)
ASQ (American Society for Quality)

 


World Cafe is “Stepping In” on a new level – increasing our capacity to engage most effectively with the challenging issues of our times. Here’s an overview of what we’re envisioning and some of the priorities we’ve identified to start. Please join us and contribute what you can to support this important work.


This blog post is one response to an open invitation to our global community – to step up & express what the gift of the World Cafe means to YOU. We welcome your posts, as well as your comments and shares.

Activating Collective Wisdom


(first published in weDialogue, May 2017)
The capacity to activate collective wisdom is at the very heart of the work I do, both in my spiritual practice and in my work with groups through participatory group processes like World Café, Open Space, Circle, etc.. As a host of participatory practice, my understanding of collective wisdom has largely been that of a field of shared awareness that can arise within the group when certain conditions are in place.

While it’s certainly true that Collective Wisdom arises from particular qualities of intention and attention, in practice its presence or absence has always been a bit of a mystery to me. In my experience, sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t – even when it appears that pretty much the same conditions are in place.

So you can imagine the enthusiasm of my “yes” when long-time friend and colleague Alan Briskin – one of the pioneers in shaping the language and ideas associated with collective wisdom and a leading practitioner in the field – asked if I wanted to collaborate with him to produce an online program on this subject.

Read More