The sea quirt provides a cautionary tale – when it is born, it floats through the open oceans seeking a place to make its home. Once the sea quirt finds a solid piece of ocean floor to attach itself to, it does a peculiar thing. The sea squirt eats its brain. Having achieved its objective, a firm anchor within the ocean; it no longer needs its brain. You may know people like this. They have a firm anchor in life or at work and, apparently, have long since consumed their brains. Zoologists say that the sea squirt shares 80% of our DNA. Some people probably share more than that. The sea squirt is assuming that nothing is going to change in its environment and that it will no longer need to make significant adjustments. This may work for the sea squirt, but human beings can’t afford to follow suit.

The Collaborative Intelligence Paradigm

Our society is changing rapidly. Intellectual intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ) are necessary but not sufficient in order to thrive in this world. Increasingly, we are expected to be able to harness the power of the group or network to achieve things. Collaborative intelligence or C.Q. has become increasingly important. The term ‘collaborative intelligence’ was coined by William Isaacs in his book ‘Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together’, C.Q. is defined here as the ability to build, contribute to and manage the power found in networks of people.

The development of our collaborative intelligence (CQ) requires us to embrace a new paradigm. This new paradigm involves viewing all living things as deeply connected – an idea called “entanglement” in quantum mechanics. It follows then that there exists a collective intelligence to which we all contribute and potentially all have access. Here is an example of what I mean: a room with 30 people in it, whose average age is 35, represents a total of over 1,000 years of life experience. Processes that are designed to tap into the ‘collective life experience’ of this group can develop the team’s collaborative intelligence.