New FAQ 3: Co-intelligence: An experience? A method? Just for groups?

In this post you will find our new co-intelligence FAQ’s answers to the following three questions:
Is co-intelligence an experience?
Can individuals be co-intelligent, or just groups?
Is co-intelligence a method?

Remember: 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 thinking about co-intelligence, I hope that the topic becomes even more vividly real and exciting to you.

I would love to see a big boost in donations to the Co-Intelligence Institute. Please consider supporting our work with a contribution. We appreciate every donation of any amount, realizing it comes with real care for what we are trying to do here.

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 questions were answered in
New FAQ 1: Co-intelligence simplified and
New FAQ 2: How co-intelligence and co-stupidity happen.
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?


A short answer would be “No,” in the sense that co-intelligence is not in itself an experience nor fundamentally about experience. It is about how well and wisely we engage with each other and the changing world around us.

That being said, we may or may not have any particular experiences or feelings when this is happening – especially when it is happening with a whole community or society. Sometimes we may experience stress and struggle as we work our way co-intelligently through our collective differences and challenges en route to a useful, shared sense of what’s going on and what should happen. Such struggles can become meaningful, positive experiences as part of a larger process of healing, discovery, or transformation.

On the other hand, the empathic quality of our experience is a recognized facet of co-intelligence we call “resonant intelligence”. And certain instances of co-intelligence have profound experiential dimensions. We can be elated by a really good co-creative conversation. We can also develop a special kind of presence as a facilitator or a deep resonance with living things and places as a practitioner of permaculture (an ecological design science) or religious communion with the Goddess in Nature or the God in all people and things.


The word “co-intelligence” tends to be used to describe the capacity of a group, community, or other collective. However, sometimes the co-intelligence of the collective comes about largely from the cooperative personalities, attitudes, or consciousness of its members as individuals. In this case, the individuals can be said to “be co-intelligent”. Furthermore, people may be considered individually co-intelligent based on the extent to which they integrate the diversity that exists within themselves – especially their cognitive diversity – their reason, emotion, intuition, etc…. or a remarkable ability to elicit mutually beneficial collaborative engagements from the people and life around them… or simply the level of true wisdom they manifest in service to broader perspectives and beneficial impacts.

But co-intelligence can also – or even alternatively – be generated by the culture, activity, or system in which people are functioning. Things can be set up in a way that improves people’s ability to work together and to take into account important factors that, in other circumstances, they might ignore. In such a group, they may even be able to view everyone and everything as potential partners in coming up with solutions that benefit all the lives connected to a situation. Such a system, activity, or culture can itself be considered co-intelligent.

A system, culture, or activity can be considered especially co-intelligent when it is set up in such a way that individuals grounded in their own self interest and narrow perspectives nevertheless make decisions and take actions that benefit the world around them. A good example of such a design is the proposal to add into the market price of goods and services the costs of dealing with environmental and social damages associated with those goods and services so that the most beneficial goods and services are cheaper than the more destructive ones.

On the other hand, a system whose design encourages co-stupidity can impede, distort or subsume the efforts of people in it who are trying to act co-intelligently, keeping them trapped in participating in co-stupidity.


No, but many existing methods and resources can enhance co-intelligence and many more can and should be developed. Existing practices and resources range from approaches to dialogue and online collaboration to science and meditation. Most of the people reading this FAQ already know of or use methods and resources that facilitate or manifest co-intelligence. Wikis and other open source efforts are good examples. But these methods are not themselves co-intelligence any more than a paint brush is art. Their intelligent use, however, can help produce co-intelligence. For a taste of such methods, see “Co-Intelligent Practices, Approaches, Processes and Organizations”.

If you support efforts to promote this expanded form of intelligence and its associated methods to create a wiser civilization, please send a contribution to the Co-Intelligence Institute.

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