Transitioning the world through collective intelligence
I am an expat living near the rural town of Forcalquier, in Provençal France, where I am active in a local non-profit association for social solidarity and community development.
I am very interested in the process of collective intelligence as a means of generating practical solutions to create resilience (psycho-social, economic and ecological) within a community and its territory, so that a new way of living emerges for all communities, at every scale, that is centred in humane values, and which fully harnesses our true human potential (including our increasing technological capabilities).
I prefer to find ways of acting on the ground that have a global consequence ("act local, think global" and "small is beautiful"). I believe that we already have sufficient motivations and requisite solutions, but our inherited and habitual-indoctrinated ways of organising ourselves in terms of action and cooperation are totally self-sabotaging (both individually and collectively), and thereby prevent us from realising our deepest aspirations as human beings.
As Jean-Francois says "The main stakes for humanity are not hunger, poverty, sustainability, peace, healthcare, education,economy, natural resources or a host of other issues but our capability to build new social organizations that are able to provide solutions. Our main stake is Collective Intelligence." Source : page 2 of Collective Intelligence, The Invisible Revolution
However, in trying "to build new social organisations" capable of providing solutions to the urgent and systemic challenges facing humanity, I think we are too quickly relying, and almost exclusively, on ICT (Information and Communication Technologies). This trend tends towards the establishment of "global communities of practice" that live in cyber-space, and which are not sufficiently grounded in the physical space where most people actually live, makes it difficult to achieve real changes that can subsequently become globally viral (through ICT).
I think ICT needs to be embedded within "physical transitional spaces" at the local community scale, so that there is interaction and nurturing between the local, regional and global scales through ICT - but ICT cannot to be the main vehicle of facilitating collective intelligence that leads to practical action on the ground at the local scale, at least not in Forcalquier, and perhaps the same is true of most rural areas, were the majority of activist people are not habituated nor willing to engage through cyber-space - they prefer face-to-face encounters, (this may change with the next ICT-savy generation).
So we have a project in Forcalquier to create a Transitional Space "Espace-T" ("espace transitionnel" in French). We define a "Transitional Space" as "a zone of transition, situated between the "actual state of the world" and "what the world can become", if ordinary people become catalysts for the transformation towards a better world for everyone.
The Espace-T is envisaged to be a physical space for activities by local non-profit organisations (civil sector), in partnership with the public and private sectors, that correspond to 4 main axes:
We are in early discussions with the local government to explore the possibility of realising this in the building of the local fire-station, which will become empty when the firemen move to a new building outside of the town. The location and layout of this building means that it is difficult for the local government to see how it can be re-used for other purposes or sold on for real-estate development, but for the kind of activities we envisage, it is ideal.
The space for collective intelligence is inspired from the latest developments in physical spaces for creative project development, such as the Hubs, and Ideation Rooms provided by international business hotels. The collective intelligence space can also double as a community cinema, where we can show films and documentaries that inspire and inform the activities of the Espace-T.
Below are some diagrams (in French) that give an idea of what we envisage. Any feedback is most welcome.