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 wisdom, co-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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom Atlee’s Books
- Participatory Sustainability: Notes for an Emerging Field of Civilizational Engagement (Createspace, 2017)
- Empowering Public Wisdom: A Practical Vision of Citizen-Led Politics (North Atlantic Books, Aug 2012)
- Reflections on Evolutionary Activism: Essays, Poems and Prayers from an Emerging Field of Sacred Social Change (Createspace, 2009)
- The Tao of Democracy: Using Co-Intelligence to Create a World that Works for All with Rosa Zubizarreta (The Writers’ Collective, 2003)
Martin sparked this project by suggesting to Tom to create a pattern language. This led to a common journey on which Martin took up the roles of facilitating the process and of maintaining and designing the site.
Martin’s passion is research, promotion and co-designing structures and processes which support us 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 following project:
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 this 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.
To contact Martin Rausch: email@example.com
John S. Atlee – “Democracy: A Social Power Analysis”
Tom Atlee – The 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 Phillips – A Citizen Legislature
Fritjof Capra – The Web of Life
Ned Crosby – Healthy Democracy
Michael Dowd – Thank God for Evolution
Oliver Dowlen – The Political Potential of Sortition
Charles Eisenstein – Sacred Economics
Paul Ehrlich and Robert Ornstein – New World New Mind
Roger Fisher and William Ury – Getting to Yes
James Fishkin – When the People Speak
John Gastil – By Popular Demand
Howard Gardner – Multiple Intelligences
Jonathan Haidt – The Happiness Hypothesis
Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins – Natural Capitalism
Hazel Henderson – Building a Win-Win World
Peggy Holman – The Change Handbook, Engaging Emergence
Barry Johnson – Polarity Management
Bill Joy – “Why the Future Doesn’t Need Us”
Sam Kaner, et al – The Facilitators Guide to Participatory Decision-Making
Hélène Landemore – Democratic Reason, Collective Wisdom´
Frederick Laloux – Reinventing Organizations
Ethan J. Leib – Deliberative Democracy in America
Frances Moore Lappé – The Quickening of America, Ecomind
Jane Mansbridge – Beyond Adversary Democracy
Donella Meadows – Thinking in Systems
Arnold Mindell – The Leader as Martial Artist
Bill Mollison – Permaculture: A designer’s manual
Harrison Owen – Open Space Technology
Karl-Henrik Robèrt – The Natural Step Story
Jim Rough – Society’s Breakthrough
Marshall Rosenberg – Nonviolent Communication
Richard Sclove – Democracy and Technology
Peter Senge – The Fifth Discipline
Mark Tovey, et al – Collective Intelligence
Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching
M. Waldrop – Complexity
Martin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff – Discovering Common Ground, Future Search
Margaret Wheatley – Leadership and the New Science
Ken Wilber – A Brief History of Everything
Robert Wright – Nonzero
Rosa Zubizarreta – From Conflict to Creative Collaboration