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The Collective Intelligence Convergence

"Convening the field of collective intelligence"


The origins of this initiative go back to 1993 in a conversation between George Pór , Tom Atlee, and Bill Veltrop. The seed was planted then but it was not ready to sprout.

A decade later, between 2003 and 2006, George and Tom explored the possibility of convening practitioners and theoreticians from across the multifaceted field of collective intelligence. After extensive email correspondence and dozens of hours of conference calls and meetings among many players in the field, a break came when Robert Steele invited George and Tom to speak at a conference in January 2007. George and Tom added Norman Johnson, a researcher on diversity and collective intelligence (then with Los Alamos Labs) to the invited speakers. When Tom suggested that Robert expand his conference to include a supplementary day devoted to collective intelligence, Robert readily agreed -- at which point George and Tom began organizing in earnest. George further envisioned the possibility of creating a book with the participants. We established the purpose as:

to introduce the different parts of the collective intelligence movement or field to each other, and plant seeds for them to all come together in various ways for the benefit of humanity.

We invited several other convenors to join us -- Sheri Herndon, Olen Gunnlaugson, Nancy Glock-Grueneich, and Susan Cannon -- and began intensive conference call planning sessions. Over the summer of 2006 we developed an invitation and invitee list (doc) and a major foundational document "A call to convene the field of collective intelligence as a coherent, multi-disciplinary study and practice" (doc) which describes the field, its diversity, and our vision of the need for it to become more conscious and collaborative. We used these materials to begin inviting potential attendees, and received an enthusiastic response.

In October we began designing an accompanying website for the participants.

In early December 2006, the conference that we were to be part of was cancelled. We regrouped and decided to organize an online conference at the same time as the face-to-face conference was going to be, and informed our invitees with a new invitation. Development of the website went into high gear, as it was going to be our primary forum for interaction. We created many orientation, definition, FAQ and help pages, as well as spaces for personal profiles and networking, personal blogs, a collectively generated bibliography, discussions, collaborative writing projects, news, groups, and interviews (text and audio). We began a series of "generative interviews", sent out a series of Updates to participants, and held a juicy conference call with 20 participants on Jan 15, 2007.

After further development of the site, it was opened for business on Feb 12, 2007 -- but to our surprise, very few people joined us. So once again -- with Tom having to move on to the Kellogg-funded grant for evolutionary research and a story field conference -- we set our vision aside.

The vision came alive once again when, in late October 2007, Tom Atlee and Robert Steele hashed out an initial invitation for a book on collective intelligence -- as originally envisioned by George Por -- and sent it to all those on the Collective Intelligence Convergence list that Tom and George had compiled more than a year earlier. Over the next several months Robert coaxed the book into existence with the help of volunteer editor Mark Tovey -- recruiting even more contributors in the process -- and got it printed, listed on Amazon (where he is a top reviewer), and made available online in a variety of electronic forms:

Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace edited by Mark Tovey -- also available as (a) individual chapter docs (b) free Downloadable pdf -- complete searchable book or chapter by chapter and (c) a readable online version.

The book came out at 648 pages with more than 50 contributors. Tom Atlee wrote a preface -- Co-intelligence, collective intelligence, and conscious evolution -- and an Epilogue.

The dream continues to unfold....

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