About Us2018-11-24T14:14:04+00:00

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Tom Atlee

Tom Atlee is vice president and research director of the Co-Intelligence Institute, a nonprofit organization he founded in 1996. His early co-intelligence research in the late 1980s focused on the relationship between group dynamics and collective intelligence. Beginning in the mid-1990s through the mid-2000s, his focus shifted to developing society’s capacity to function as a wise democracy. From 2005-2010 he explored possibilities for the conscious evolution of social systems, grounded in a sacred science-based understanding of evolutionary dynamics. During 2011-2015 he focused on public wisdomco-intelligent economics and participatory sustainability. Seeking more practice-based ways to engage people around the idea of wise democracy, he is now doing courses and developing a community of practice around the wise democracy pattern language. He hopes these intertwined, expanding explorations can help channel the energies surrounding our 21st century social and environmental crises into positive possibiities and system-transforming initiatives.

Tom’s social change vision is grounded most deeply in new understandings of evolving wholenesswhich recognize the value of diversity, unity, relationship, context, uniqueness and the spirit inside each of us and the world. Co-intelligence is intelligence that arises from that kind of wholeness. It has collaborative and collective dimensions, and intrinsic interconnectedness which we see clearly in wholesome forms of politics, governance and economics. Co-intelligence theory also highlights the many facets of intelligence (like head and heart), wisdom, and thehigher forms of intelligence (natural and sacred) that move through and beyond us. Although Tom and the Institute focus on very practical issues of group, social, political, and economic dynamics, co-intelligence has many esoteric dimensions as well. If you are interested in further exploring this, see the co-intelligence FAQ at http://co-intelligence.org/FAQ.html.

An early theoretician and advocate of collective intelligence, Tom’s inclusive mapping of the field has been featured in two major books on the subject – Mark Tovey’s Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace (2008) and Nasreen Taher’s Collective Intelligence: An Introduction (2006).

His work on “wise democracy” features his coined category of existing forms of “citizen deliberative councils” which he promotes in his books The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World that Works for All (2003) and Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics (2012).  He has been a significant theoretician in the field of dialogue and deliberation, being lead integrator of the Core Principles of Public Engagement (2009) and a major contributor to the GroupWorks pattern language of group process (2008-2012), as well as a steering committee member of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (2002-2005).

Much of his work features new visions of social change agentry – from the co-intelligent activism articulated in his books Participatory Sustainability, The Tao of Democracy and Reflections on Evolutionary Activism: Essays, Poems and Prayers from an Emerging Field of Sacred Social Change (2009), to his co-organizing of the Evolutionary Salon on Philanthropy (2006) and the Storyfield Conference(2007) to his many blog posts on social issues and action.

In addition to his books, blogs and websites, Tom has published extensively in alternative journals and publishes a newsletter featuring significant articles and websites by other commentators, as well as his own writings. He has also worked with a number of other leading authors on their books.

To contact Tom Atlee: cii@igc.org

Martin Rausch

Martin sparked this project by suggesting to Tom to create a pattern language. This led to a 9 month common journey on which Martin took up the roles of facilitating the process and designing the site.

Martin’s passion is research, promotion and co-designing structures and processes which enable groups or society to deal more adequately with current and future major challenges. Martin works mainly in Europe leading workshops, facilitating, coaching and creating videos on participatory processes.  Besides working with Tom on this Pattern Language he has initiated and is working on the following two projects.

  • Reality Show – Smarter Together:  In Collaboration with Jim Rough (originator of the Wisdom Council process, also known as Civic Councils), producer Mark Marinaccio and Beetz Filmproduction in Berlin, Martin has initiated the design of a TV event. In this show a group of randomly selected individuals and the TV viewers  interactively address and co-create solutions for controversial issues like institutional racism or rising inequality. Experts and decisions-makers are included in this process.
  • A documentary on national and international innovative democratic processes in collaboration with DokLab in Switzerland.

To contact Martin Rausch: martin.rausch@hrcomm.ch


Image Credit:  Anemone123 / Pixabay

Co-Intelligence Institute board members
Margaret Anderson (WD-PL working group), Tom Atlee, Nancy Glock-Grueneich, Adin Rogovin, John Spady

Co-Intelligence Institute Senior Advisors
Manju Lyn Bazzell, Rosa Zubizarreta

WD-PL volunteers (in addition to the above)
Andy Paice – Community of Practice development, social media, videos, facilitation
Susan Michael – Community of Practice development

Major WD-PL website reviewers
Mike Abate, Lawrence Chickering, Mike Davis, Amrit Khalsa, Jane Mansbridge, Matt McRae, Claudia Miller, Kevin Reidy, Tyrone Reitman, Barbara Simonetti, Rivera Sun, Rosa Zubizarreta

WD-PL fundraiser donors
Kevin Reidy; Richard Atlee, Peggy Holman, Richard Moore, Rosa Zubizarreta; Claudia Miller; Helen Titchen Beeth, Michael Dowd, Diana Morley; Margaret Anderson, Tom Atlee, Highland Lake Cove, Daniel Doherty, Anthony Hicks, Les S. Ihara, Jr., John Spady; Jason Diceman, Michael Wells; Richard Breedsteen, Cynthia Kurtz; Daniel Gooden; Karina Thomas; Fred Cook

Wise Democracy class pioneers
Jim Anest, Leah Boyd, Paul Cienfuegos, Linda Elinor, Bronagh Gallagher, John Gardner, Ray Glock-Grueneich, Lloyd B. Hansen, Patrik Johansson, Amrit Khalsa, Tracy Kunkler, Susan Michael, Andy Paice, Mark Picket, Robin Leah Quirke, Tyrone Reitman, Mark Spain, Ahmed R. Teleb, Bill Veltrop, Varun Vidyarthi


Image Credit: Hermann / Pixabay


John S. Atlee – “Democracy: A Social Power Analysis
Tom AtleeThe Tao of Democracy, Empowering Public Wisdom, Participatory Sustainability, Reflections on Evolutionary Activism, “Diversity is as big as the universe”, “Some ways we can be wise”, “Crucial adventures in systems thinking”, “Using Citizen Deliberative Councils to Make Democracy More Potent and Awake
Alan Briskin, et al – The Power of Collective Wisdom
Juanita Brown, David Isaacs, et al – The World Cafe
Ernest Callenbach and Michael PhillipsA Citizen Legislature
Fritjof CapraThe Web of Life
Ned CrosbyHealthy Democracy
Michael DowdThank God for Evolution
Oliver DowlenThe Political Potential of Sortition
Charles EisensteinSacred Economics
Paul Ehrlich and Robert OrnsteinNew World New Mind
Roger Fisher and William UryGetting to Yes
James FishkinWhen the People Speak
John GastilBy Popular Demand
Howard GardnerMultiple Intelligences
Jonathan HaidtThe Happiness Hypothesis
Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and Hunter LovinsNatural Capitalism
Hazel Henderson – Building a Win-Win World
Peggy HolmanThe Change Handbook, Engaging Emergence
Barry JohnsonPolarity Management
Bill Joy – “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us
Sam Kaner, et al – The Facilitators Guide to Participatory Decision-Making
Hélène LandemoreDemocratic Reason, Collective Wisdom´
Frederick LalouxReinventing Organizations
Ethan J. LeibDeliberative Democracy in America
Frances Moore LappéThe Quickening of America, Ecomind
Jane Mansbridge – Beyond Adversary Democracy
Donella MeadowsThinking in Systems
Arnold MindellThe Leader as Martial Artist
Bill MollisonPermaculture: A designer’s manual
Harrison OwenOpen Space Technology
Karl-Henrik RobèrtThe Natural Step Story
Jim RoughSociety’s Breakthrough
Marshall RosenbergNonviolent Communication
Richard ScloveDemocracy and Technology
Peter SengeThe Fifth Discipline
Mark Tovey, et al – Collective Intelligence
Lao TzuTao Te Ching
M. WaldropComplexity
Martin Weisbord and Sandra JanoffDiscovering Common Ground, Future Search
Margaret WheatleyLeadership and the New Science
Ken WilberA Brief History of Everything
Robert WrightNonzero
Rosa ZubizarretaFrom Conflict to Creative Collaboration


  1. Bruce Schuman March 21, 2017 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Such a lovely project, done so very well — in ways that are genuinely illuminating and helpful and original. You have absolutely revitalized my interest in “pattern language”. How do we “connect the dots” in a world of exploding complexity — when things are so interdisciplinary, so inclusive. In this project you have beautifully captured (at least) two critical elements of any emerging solution: you have “listed many critical dots”, and you have beautifully described ways they can be brought together — both technical and spiritual. I would say this site is a truly illuminating beacon for those leading-edge people of heart and vision who know we must follow our “co-hearted” guidance into a world of resonance and wisdom. Thank you! – Bruce Schuman, http://origin.org/one/book.cfm

  2. Adam Jacoby March 21, 2017 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    Interesting work. perhaps we should chat. Please check out our very fast growing global innovation to democratic process: http://www.mivote.org.au – some of the podcasts in the news section will provide a contextual overview. Best Adam.

  3. Christopher Allen March 22, 2017 at 2:07 pm - Reply

    It isn’t clear to me what copyright license these patterns are licensed under. I was part of the GroupWorks stewardship team early on, and persuaded the team to use CC-BY-SA — I’d love to see this work under a same license.

  4. Sunil Mistry March 29, 2017 at 12:19 am - Reply

    Here is an approach that probably meets all your criteria. It is a fresh new approach that allows us to systematically move from our current systems to a new balanced way of practicing democracy. Morals, ethics and values are built in. It simply uses a new line of logic and reasoning, so be prepared to be challenged.

    I’d love to have comments and thoughts on this approach. I believe it is a complete package.

    YouTube playlist – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuZbEFQw9jFCZL03T_a32wIW0_P85DO45

  5. Micaël Masse December 29, 2017 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    That’s a great initiative, I took the time to make a summary of what I understood of the Wise Democracy Project main directives with some mind maps.

    It’s in french though, but if it can ever help anyone I will be happy.


    • Martin Rausch January 3, 2018 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Micael, thank you for letting us know! I just looked at your mindmap and like the idea of creating one for power, participation and wisdom the way you did! Thank you for putting the link to our site. We can always use some help. I also like your blog image from Switzerland – look like Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau – Mountains I look at almost everyday! All the best, Martin

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