Systems Thinking Vocabulary

Collective wisdom

Shared consolidated knowledge

While the world’s cultures offer a rich storehouse of stories of extraordinary individuals who exercised wisdom, pon closer inspection what makes the stories compelling is what emerged collectively. Why does all this matter, especially today? Because the problems we face today do not have “right answers.” Our most pressing problems are characterized by unprecedented levels of complexity and interdependence, and the consequent breakdown of the conventional problem-solving paradigm. (Peter M. Senge)
Categories: Systems Thinking

Collective wisdom, also called group wisdom and co-intelligence, is shared knowledge arrived at by individuals and groups. Collective intelligence, which is sometimes used synonymously with collective wisdom, is more of a shared decision process than collective wisdom. Unlike collective wisdom, collective intelligence is not uniquely human and has been associated with animal and plant life. Collective intelligence is basically consensus-driven decision-making, whereas collective wisdom is not necessarily focused on the decision process. Collective wisdom is a more amorphous phenomenon that can be characterized by collective learning over time. (Wikipedia)




Concept Coordinates

The Collective Wisdom Initiative was formed in 2000 with the support of the Fetzer Institute for the purpose of gathering material on the research, theory, and practice of collective wisdom. It was a collaboration of practitioners and academics in areas such as business, health care, mental health, education, criminal justice, and conflict resolution. Several of the founding members subsequently co-authored The Power of Collective Wisdom. In this, six stances or principles, that support the power of collective wisdom are presented: deep listening, suspension of certainty, seeing whole systems/seeking diverse perspectives, respect for others/group discernment, welcoming all that is arising, and trust in the transcendent. (Leo Mallette)

Virtual knowledge sharing can help close the knowledge gap with colleagues in rural and remote settings, potentially enhancing the quality and efficiency of care. Doctors in resource-poor settings can upload images, post medical lab image results, and hear from pathologists and other specialists. Crowdsourcing can help narrow the divide between ‘our world and theirs’ as it creates a true global medical community – a global medical village if you like. (Dr. Sonny Kohli)

Systems Thinking Vocabulary

  • All
  • Ecology
  • Ecosystems
  • FILL
  • Iceberg Model
  • Innovation
  • Living Labs
  • Methodology
  • Models
  • Policy Labs
  • Rural Systems
  • Stakeholders
  • Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking Concepts