New FAQ 2: How co-intelligence and co-stupidity happen

In this post you will find our new co-intelligence FAQ’s answers to the following five questions:

  • What helps people make co-intelligence happen?
  • Isn’t co-intelligence just collaboration?
  • What’s the difference between co-intelligence and collective intelligence?
  • What is co-stupidity?
  • What causes people and groups to be co-stupid?

If you find anything hard to understand or if you would like to see new questions added to the FAQ, write to me at or in a comment on this blog post.

As you explore this simpler, fuller, more revitalized way of talking about co-intelligence, I hope the topic becomes ever more vividly real and exciting to you.

Consider supporting the Co-Intelligence Institute so we can more effectively get these ideas and skills out into the world. CII is committed to teaching co-intelligence to many people and groups, thus expanding our capacity as a society to make choices that create long-lasting and broad benefit — making us wiser together. Now is the time. If this idea excites you, you can join in by sending a gift of any amount to CII .

Thank you so much for your past support, which has made it possible for us to be here making this available right now.

Blessings on the Journey we’re all on together.


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The new co-intelligence FAQ answers twenty questions about co-intelligence. The questions in bold below are answered here. The previous four questions were answered at New FAQ 1: Co-intelligence simplified. The others will be answered in forthcoming blog posts.

What is intelligence?
What is co-intelligence?
How is co-intelligence a bigger form of intelligence?
What is a bigger picture perspective and what are bigger picture outcomes?

What helps people make co-intelligence happen?
Isn’t co-intelligence just collaboration?
What’s the difference between co-intelligence and collective intelligence?
What is co-stupidity?
What causes people and groups to be co-stupid?

Is co-intelligence an experience?
Can individuals be co-intelligent, or just groups?
Is co-intelligence a method?

Isn’t co-intelligence already happening in lots of places?
What is the co-intelligence worldview?
What does co-intelligence have to do with democracy?
What value do the co-intelligence worldview and co-intelligence capacities add to human life?

Is co-intelligence the intelligence of God or Spirit?
What is holistic intelligence?
How does all this fit together?
What is the Co-Intelligence Institute?


Here are some of the most important factors:

  • People seek to the greatest extent possible to include everyone and everything that is relevant to the situation.
  • They seek mutual benefit and/or the common good.
  • They try to really hear each other, really pay attention together, and interact creatively.
  • They use diversity, disturbance, and concerns as resources for greater understanding, wisdom, and connection.
  • Their attitude is appreciative, collaborative, and possibility-oriented.
  • They value, create and use contexts, processes, and systems that increase their ability to live those qualities and do those things.

This means that there is a whole field of study, knowledge, and practice of co-intelligence through which we can understand and increase the co-intelligence capacities of people and groups.


Collaboration is an important aspect of co-intelligence, but there’s more to co-intelligence than collaboration. After all, people can and do collaborate in creating harmful effects on themselves, each other, and the world around them. They can also collaborate while being ignorant of important things that then make them fail. With co-intelligence they are collaborating on knowing and using what they need to know and use to create long-term broad benefits.


Collective intelligence concerns the intelligence of groups, organizations, communities, societies, and other collective entities. Co-intelligence involves “diverse people working really well together in ways that make things better from a bigger picture perspective”. Thus collective intelligence is only one of the following six major manifestations of co-intelligence so far identified:

  • collective intelligence (more than only individual)
  • multi-modal intelligence (more than only reason)
  • collaborative intelligence (more than only competitive and controlling)
  • resonant intelligence (more than alienated smarts)
  • universal intelligence (more than only human)
  • wisdom (more than obvious, immediate, narrow views)

Each of these can be thought of as co-intelligent in itself, but true co-intelligence includes many if not all of them integrated together. For example, a group working well together in hyper-rational ways towards extremely self-interested ends exhibits collective intelligence but – since it probably lacks much wisdom and heart intelligence – it doesn’t really fit the definition of co-intelligence (i.e., “making things better from a bigger picture perspective”).

Of course, collective intelligence that involves diverse people using their full cognitive capacities to collaborate with each other and with the energies and entities involved in the problem they’re working on, empathically taking into account the full spectrum of information and perspectives while attuned to the guidance of nature and spirit – that’s very co-intelligent collective intelligence!


Co-stupidity is people working together (generally without realizing it) in ways that generate failure and/or that make things worse in the bigger picture. Some varieties of co-stupidity have been studied for years under the name “groupthink”.


Co-stupidity shows up because of many factors, but especially when:

  • The situation supports everyone’s personal stupidities rather than their intelligence and wisdom.
  • People conform, pander, or acquiesce to pressures around them that suppress and waste their unique gifts.
  • People use their brilliance to isolate, dominate or get in each other’s way, rather than working together.
  • Things are set up so that the people involved tend to fight or to collectively ignore other people and things they actually need to pay attention to.

Co-stupidity is curable.

If you support efforts to promote this expanded form of intelligence and reduce the amount of co-stupidity around us, please send a contribution to the Co-Intelligence Institute.

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Summer 2015 Co-Intelligence Institute Fundraising Campaign note: So far 5 people have supported us with $600. Join them in supporting our work. Our target is $20,000. As you can see, we can use your support. Please donate now. It will make a big difference and your donation is fully tax-deductible in the U.S.

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