Within any given problem or possibility there are many points of information, innovation, influence, and resources. So address the whole by inviting all these sources to come forth with their own contributions to the enterprise, unconstrained by official roles and assumptions and then weave them into greater wisdom and effectiveness.
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Going deeper …
This is an edited version of the video on this page.
This is a “many points of light” kind of thing. Instead of seeing a problem as an abstract thing or just people fighting, we see it as a living ecosystem, or network of nodes and those nodes are alive and we can get information and energy from them. This is not just relating to problems, but also to possibilities. If a possibility were to become real or in case a negative possibility were to be prevented, these people or these potentials points of influence in the system could be accessed and brought into their more positive role in addressing the situation.
Sometimes it’s very simple, like, “OK, there’s lots of people who have information on something, and we can use them to get that information.“ This is like people described in the book “The Wisdom of Crowds” using crowdsourcing in “prediction markets” to predict what’s going to happen or what the next breakthrough is going to be. All sorts of people get in and put in their two cents about what the next big breakthrough is going to be in technology, for example. It turns out, when lots of people do that – and they’re not talking together, they are just independent agents – their predictions end up being startlingly accurate. That’s what the book “The Wisdom of Crowds“ talks about.
And then there’s crowdfunding. We say, “Okay, we want to do a project and find many people who might want to put in a few dollars to support that.” And if we do it really well, we end up with thousands or millions of dollars. So again the sense that there’s all these little pieces that can be pulled together into something much larger.
We address the whole by inviting everyone involved to come forth with their own contributions to the enterprise, unconstrained by official roles. It’s not like, “Okay, you are going to contribute this because you’re a person in such and such a role” – you’re a businessman, or you’re a policeman, or whatever. It’s like the more we can just loosen up and draw people in in whatever way makes sense to them, the better we’ll do. They may have a lot of gifts to give that derive from their role but, they’re not constrained by their role. They are full human beings.
I’ve sometimes given a talk to a crowd of a hundred people and I can sense the immense potential in that room that most of people in the room are unaware of. I say, “How many people here are well connected to at least 100 people?“ Half the room’s hands will go up. Sometimes practically everybody’s hands will go up. Then I say “Now multiply that out. Look at all those hands and realize how many people – if we chose to – we could reach just from us in this room.“ It’s amazing nowadays the kinds of connectivity that are represented even by a small number of people.
That’s an awareness that comes from the potential for crowdsourcing. And it’s not that you go to somebody because they are the official source of this kind of information. You just do it from the whole crowd with no preliminary assumptions of who might know what. You just open it up and see who comes to the party.