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I had known about this for a while and forgot to mention it  – it is an event I would have given my right arm to attend – Boosting Our Collective Intelligence: Getting Smarter Together – if you have visited this link you will see that exciting things are already happening in the area of Collective Intelligence in Europe.

‘With the recent advent of the global Internet, it is only now that we humans are approaching the information exchange capacity that cyanobacteria communities have possessed for over 2 billion years on earth.’ (Margulis and Sagen, 1997, Fortey, 1997)

…and with the proliferation of social networking systems we are about to tap into that huge resource…I can’t wait to see what we will create.


A great new video has just appeared that explains the power of ‘Social Bookmarking’. About 2/3 of the way through this really well presented video you will see the potential behind social bookmarking for growing our collective intelligence. This is only just beginning – only the early adopters have embraced social bookmarking – think what the web will be like when the mainstream arrives!

To-day I discovered a wonderful resource for anyone intersted in collective intelligence. The site is and contains a treasure trove of resources. Michel Bauwens co-ordinates this site. Although ‘Peer-to-Peer’ sounds kind of obscure, it is in fact guided by two fascinating maxims:

  1. ending the destruction of the biosphere by abandoning the dangerous conceptions of pseudo-abundance in the natural world (i.e. based on the assumption that natural resources are infinite);
  2. promoting free cultural exchange by abandoning the innovation-inhibiting conceptions of pseudo-scarcity in the cultural world (i.e. based on the assumption that the free flow of culture needs to be restricted through excessive copyrights etc…).

I touch on these topic in ‘Teaching an Anthill to Fetch’ and I wished I had known this site existed before completing the writing process. I would have certainly included many references to this valuable material.

The term ‘inspiring leadership‘ is almost certainly a pun knowing Don Hill . He is a media thought leader based out of Edmonton, Alberta (Canada). This is the title of his show on CKUA radio. Two things – it may imply leadership that is inspiring and suggest that you are going to be exposed to some through his various interviews and spoken pieces. The more interesting interpretation of the term ‘inspiring leadership’ is reading it as a question. In other words how do we inspire leadership? What will it take to cause people to rethink leadership? Should leadership be evolving to meet the needs of the age we live in? What will it be like? I believe these are some of the questions Don is attempting to explore in his series on CKUA.

My own take is that leadership per se is becoming less important unless it is connected to the concept of ‘followship’. If we are to move from highly stratified structures within organizations and society, toward a flatter network, leadership becomes something that flows through a group of people. Rather than hanging around the usual suspects, networks allow leadership to travel to where it is needed depending on the circumstances. Followship in this case is the ability is giving up the leader role for the good of the group as a whole. I don’t know about you, but I was not brought up to think like this.

I think Don is asking some of the cleverest questions about leadership that I have heard for a long time. I of course begin wondering what sort of leadership is required to allow our collaborative intelligence to expand. Watching ant and termite colonies it is hard to identify any leaders, at least in the human sense of the word. Ants and termites have been organizing themselves in colonies for well over 40 million years. Maybe there is something to learn here? I wonder what out society will look like when we have been at for 40 million years – better still – could we learn to collaborate more effectively without it taking that amount of time?

Within the Zen tradition there is a story about two fish. One fish starts telling the other of a strange experience it had.

“I was swimming along and noticed a tasty morsel. I grabbed it, but a sharp, shiny, hard thing got stuck in my mouth. Suddenly, I was pulled from the water and the next thing I knew, I was in a whole new world. A great big thing grabbed me and pulled the sharp, shiny, hard thing from my mouth and threw me back into the water.”

The other fish looks shocked and asks, “Water? What water?”

The last animal to discover water would be a fish, and we would be the last ones to discover our assumptions about reality because we are so immersed in them.
The same is true of other assumptions we might have about ‘reality’ (a much over rated concept) especially about the importance of competition. Many people consider life to be a struggle in which the things we want or need in life must be fought for. Upon closer examination nature is based on cooperation, a part of which is competition. The deeper structures of nature however consist of finely balanced synergies not turf wars for resources. Something to consider as we look around at how nation states are conducting themselves. This is part of the reason I am slightly obsessed with ‘Collaborative Intelligence’ as a principle that will serve all of humanity at this point in time.

Welcome to ‘Getting Clever Together’ a blog dedicated to an exploration of ‘Collaborative Intelligence’ , CQ as I call it.