Encouraging Collective Intelligence for the Common Good:
How Do We Integrate the Disparate Pieces?

Workshop Overview and Objectives

Largely due to the Internet and the tremendous increase in digital network communications world wide, researchers, community members, activists, and many others are exploring new ways of empowering citizens with a wide variety of innovative systems that promote Collective Intelligence for the Common Good (CI4CG). The proposers of this workshop have also co-founded a community / network devoted to this theme. These approaches may turn out to be particularly fortuitous since, in addition to the timeless problems such as inequality and oppression, many of the new problems that the citizens of the world now face (climate change, for example) offer unprecedented challenges, and the creativity, dedication, values, and other resources that communities could potentially contribute are likely to be needed.

According to the principles we developed for our Collective Intelligence for the Common Good Community / Network, "we use the expression "common good" to mean something that approximates a universal benefit, something that everybody - in theory - would want. Admittedly imprecise - like many of the words we commonly use, such as democracy or community - the pursuit of the common good will generally mean finding peaceful ways to resolve conflict, building a more equitable society, securing a healthy and diverse environment for ourselves and future generations, and respecting cultural diversity."

In relation to the wider Collective Intelligence research spectrum, we define Collective Intelligence for the Common Good as a distinctive type of collective intelligence, which emerges in civic contexts, and it is aimed at generating societal good; improving civic engagement; enabling democratic decision making and deliberation; and producing, collectively built and owned, transformative solutions to complex societal challenges.

While the idea of Collective Intelligence for the Common Good may seem a common theme of venues such as the Communities and Technologies conferences, it is often implicit. We suspect that by intentionally surfacing this idea and facing it directly we may be able to understand it better and make more progress as a community. It is our intent - and hope - to create new frameworks and research directions that help orient future work collaborative and effectively.

The broad goal of this workshop is to explore this new concept. We will do this primarily through a focus on existing and in-work systems. We are interested in mutual learning among people who are thinking about or already developing relevant systems. More specifically we plan to uncover and develop:

  • ideas for future collaboration, and
  • integration between systems.

In many cases the current systems focus on a small number of functions. Intelligence, however, weaves together a variety of functions into one and it seems likely that our systems should do likewise. While we are unlikely to solve the question of integration in this workshop, we may be able identify mechanisms that various systems could use and thus move this aspect forward.