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Groupware and other "Electronic Co-Intelligence"


I am no techie, and I am not very experienced with this subject, but there is more and more material on it, and it is relevant, so I'm doing what I can. If you have good stories of people generating real group intelligence or community wisdom with electronic media, let me know at In the meantime, I am offering links to various resources that look good, or whose creators I know and respect. My personal intuition is that the greatest gift electronic media have to bring to collective intelligence is the ability of certain email forums and online links and dialogues to connect up people who are already engaging in various face-to-face meetings. Beyond that, I say "Proceed at your own risk, into this brave new world..." --- Tom Atlee


Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz, founders of AWAKENING TECHNOLOGY and the folks who introduced me to the watershed phrase "Using Our Differences Creatively," coined the term "groupware". They meant it to be a combination of hardware, software, process and people which would produce greater group intelligence. Of course, it got shortened by our culture to mean just software for groups. If you'd like more of their wisdom, visit their site For me, the most exciting part of their site is the "inquiry map" associated with their current inquiry: "How do we practice our wisdom together in cyberspace"?

COWORKING, an excellent email newsletter of developments in the groupware field can be acquired from They are archived at

COUNCIL is an advanced groupware tool and process for meetings, both face-to-face and virtual, available from

eVote is a working (though not active), listserve-based voting system with many good features, which is free for download from

QUESTMAP helps teams record, structure and visualize their problem-solving and decision-making conversations, breaking them down into questions, ideas, pros and cons, notes and arguments and mapping these into a concise visual history of a free-flowing exploration. [Note: the QuestMap sorting categories bear an interesting resemblance to Jim Rough's chart pads in Dynamic Facilitation -- which is why I listed this resource.] Available from Group Decision Support Systems at


Teledemocracy sites

Ways telecommunications technology can enhance (or undermine) democracy

Ted Becker's site at

Steven Clift's site at - He has a great free "Democracies Online Newswire" you can subscribe to by emailing: with the message body: SUB DO-WIRE .

And then the more generic, cautious site on the relationships between technology and democracy:

The Loka Institute at


For concerns about technology's impact on democracy, see The Challenge of Technology in a Democracy