On ‘Big Mind’ Thinking: A Collective Intelligence ‘Paradigm’ For Our Time? – Part 2 of 3

Addressing ‘multiple complexities’: ‘Proof-of-concept’ to ‘productization’

Naturally, in today’s overall era of ‘multiple complexities’, also known as ‘multiplexity’ and involving ‘globalized strategic risk’, several suggestions arise as to the central question posed at the end of Part 1 of this blog post: ‘how do we go about realizing our goals and accomplishing our intended effects and outcomes?’

An improved understanding of Collective Intelligence, and what it can offer for interrogating and addressing our contemporary conditions and situations of ‘multiplexity’, helps provide us with a viable – or at least a preliminary – answer going forward. This work encompasses the sheer wealth to an almost unlimited extent, of the variety of approaches and methodologies Collective Intelligence can call upon. We can utilize this observation, helping move us beyond merely ‘proof-of-concept’ stages to more ‘productized’ positions of strength.

In the language of marketing, the ‘added value’ and ‘unique selling points’ (USPs) that Collective Intelligence can bring to a multitude of enterprises is enhanced; and emerges as being of great benefit to mainstream business and more specialist defense and security endeavors. These endeavors, which relate closely to the conduct of operations and to the ‘accomplishment of missions’ in strategic terms, are opened up to various potential opportunities and possibilities; including, for example, those encountered in various operational-to-battle-spaces (whatever their precise detail, and spanning from ‘retail’ to ‘war’). These opportunities and possibilities can be realized both now and in the future, thereby helping to contribute towards the reduction of risk.

Adopting ‘open-mindedness’ and ‘vision’

Further research and investigation is helpful. As already articulated by Geoff Mulgan (see Part 1 of this post), one prominent type of Collective Intelligence associated approach has been described as adopting and advancing a ‘Big Mind’ – or what we can term as ‘Big Mind’ thinking.[1]

Other representations or calibrations of similarly configured ‘open-mindedness’ and ‘vision’ can be and have been invoked over time; such as the ambition from 2008 of ‘creating a prosperous world at peace’, including Collective Intelligence for the United Nations (UN), not least for peace-making and peace-keeping purposes.[2]

Of key importance, is the willingness to collectively harness, in a timely manner, a wide variety of different approaches, methodologies, and techniques extending to technologies in a cross-disciplinary manner, with multiple, intertwined relationships being present during the implementation of the processes. Making connections between different entities is vital, with the precise definition, design, and scale of the approaches being uniquely fine-tuned to each particular context.[3]

Each of the Collective Intelligence approaches are qualitatively different; ranging from drawing upon the ‘soft’ and ‘social’ sciences, on the one hand, to the ‘hard’ and ‘physical’ sciences, on the other. With their continuous ability to be compared and contrasted, together with being adopted in a plurality of ‘non-linear’ and ‘parallel’ manners, the mixtures or fusions that result bring empowering qualities to the table, both conceptually and practically. Enhanced structuring likewise comes to the fore, as analysis (for instance, ‘breaking problems down’) moves on to more synthesized (‘putting together’ or ‘building’ and ‘solution-fashioning’) domains of activity.[4]

In the final part of this blog post, Part 3, we turn more to practice areas and to realizing ‘Big Mind’ thinking for Collective Intelligence in action.

Dr. Adam D.M. Svendsen, PhD. is an international intelligence and defense strategist, researcher, educator, analyst and consultant.

[1] G. Mulgan, Big Mind: How Collective Intelligence can Change Our World (Oxford: Princetown University Press, 2018).

[2] One ‘early’ example of this type of approach is represented by the collection of essays in M. Tovey (ed.), Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace (Oakton, VA: Earth Intelligence Network, 2008); see also B. Ekpe, The United Nations and the Rationale for Collective Intelligence (Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2009); for further insight, see ‘Thinking big and being visionary’ in A.D.M. Svendsen, Intelligence Engineering: Operating Beyond the Conventional (New York: Rowman & Littlefield / Security and Professional Intelligence Education Series – SPIES, 2017), p.74.

[3] A.D.M. Svendsen, ‘Collective Intelligence (COLINT)’ in G. Moore (ed.), Encyclopedia of U.S. Intelligence (EUSI) (New York: Taylor & Francis/CRC Press, 2014) – via: <https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781420089585/chapters/10.1081%2FE-EUSI-120049757> (accessed: September 2018).

[4] See also M. von Rosing, H. von Scheel, A.-W. Scheer (eds.), The Complete Business Process Handbook: Body of Knowledge from Process Modeling to BPM, Volume 1 (Burlington, MA: Morgan Kaufmann/Elsevier, 2014).



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