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Tom Callanan

5075 S. Long Lake Drive
Portage, Michigan, USA 49002
(269) 760-0362



What is an underlying question that gives form to your work or interest in this field?

How can groups best access collective wisdom?

What is your personal experience of collective wisdom in groups?

From 1994, as a program officer at Fetzer Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan, I helped to convene leaders from various fields (peacebuilding, youth leadership, philanthropy etc.) in “think tank” like gatherings aimed at identifying promising strategies for moving the fields forward. Occasionally there would be magic moments where the groups would sink to a deeper level of connection and begin to think very creatively.

In partnership with a number of gifted facilitators, we began to experiment with methodologies such as Bohmian dialogue, council circle, Open Space, World Café etc. so as to more consistently access what we began to call “collective wisdom.” In 1999, Fetzer commissioned a study published in 2001 called “Centered on the Edge: Mapping a Field of Collective Intelligence and Spiritual Wisdom.”

The study revealed a very vibrant and promising field of study with hundreds of dedicated practitioners from around the world. In 2002, Fetzer founded the Collective Wisdom Initiative (CWI) and this web site to further study this phenomenon.

The CWI’s studies revealed that Collective Wisdom can be accessed by all groups on a reliable and consistent basis by following a simple set of principles and practices. These findings were published in “The Power of Collective Wisdom and the Trap of Collective Folly” by Briskin, Erickson, Ott, Callanan in 2009.

How would you like to be available to others in this field? What would be a meaningful connection? Are you available to talk with others? What contribution might you be able to make?

I am now a Senior Advisor to the Fetzer Institute and a consultant, writer, facilitator and coach. I work with corporations, non-profits, foundations and individuals to help them better access collective wisdom. As a veteran practitioner and founding member of this field, I believe strongly in what it has to offer for the transformation of ourselves and the world. I’m happy to support anyone in the field who feels that I might be of assistance.

Links to this site or others:

The Power of Collective Wisdom

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