The Collective Intelligence Network Support Unit (CINSU) provides facilitation support for teams and groups working to address complex issues across a variety of organizational and societal contexts. CINSU includes facilitators from multiple disciplines and backgrounds who strive to deliver high quality collective intelligence facilitation. CINSU members use John Warfield’s methodology, Interactive Management (IM), combined with other collective intelligence methods (e.g., scenario-based design) to maximize team intelligence and collective action.

Central to Warfield’s methodology are a number of basic steps

  1. First, a group of key stakeholders with an interest in resolving a problematic situation come together in a specially configured room and are asked to generate a set of ‘raw’ ideas (commonly 50 – 200) about what might potentially have a bearing on the problem. Group discussion and voting helps the group to clarify the sub-set of ideas that bear upon the most critical problem issues (see step 1 & 2 in Figure 1 below).
  2. Next, using collective intelligence (CI) software, each of the critical issues are compared systematically in pairs and the same question is asked of each in turn (e.g., “Does A influence B?”). Unless there is majority consensus that one issue impacts upon another, the relation does not appear in the final analysis.
  3. After all the critical issues have been compared in this way, CI software generates a graphical problem structure (or problematique) showing how the issues are interrelated. The problematique can be viewed and printed for discussion.
  4. The problematique becomes the launch pad for planning solutions to problems within the problem field. The logical structure of problems is visible in the problematique and when generating solutions, action plans are aimed at resolving problems in a logical and orderly manner.
  5. When the group is satisfied that they have modeled both the problem field and the best possible set of solutions, the CI session closes and each member leaves with a detailed action plan, a specific set of goals to work on, and the roadmap and logic describing how all the various plans and goals of each member will work together to resolve the original problem.


Figure 1: A simple visual description of some of the key steps in the CI methodology

CI has been applied in many different situations to accomplish many different goals, including mediating peacebuilding in protracted conflicts (Broome, 2006; 2017), assisting city councils in making budget cuts (Coke & Moore, 1981), developing instructional units (Sato, 1979), designing a national agenda for pediatric nursing (Feeg, 1988), creating computer-based information systems for organizations (Keever, 1989), improving the U.S. Department of Defense’s acquisition process (Alberts, 1992), improving Tribal governance process in Native American communities (Broome, 1995a, 1995b; Broome & Christakis, 1988; Broome & Cromer, 1991), developing a national wellbeing measurement framework (Hogan et al., 2015), understanding the key dispositions of good critical thinkers (Dwyer et al., 2014), understanding barriers to Marine Sustainability (Domegan et al., 2016), understanding the nature and causes of sabotage in the University Sector (Wallace et al., 2017), and training facilitators (Broome & Fulbright, 1995).

The CI method has also been combined with other methods, including argument mapping (e.g., in an educational training context; Hogan et al., 2014), scenario based design (i.e., in a variety of EU projects focused on technology innovation (Long et al., 2016; Hogan et al., 2016), and psychometrics (i.e., in scale development projects that ground factor analysis work in CI model conceptualization; Groarke and Hogan, 2017).

Within the local University context where CINSU was established in 2018, project work is focused on:

–   Supporting University Governors with ongoing Risk Management Project Work

–   Supporting Well-Being project work for NUI, Galway, Hardiman Library Staff

–   Supporting Well-Being project Work for the NUI, Galway, LGBT+ Staff and Student Network

Project leaders can contact for more information on CINSU facilitation and workshop opportunities.

CINSU Members

Owen Harney, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway

Jenny Groarke, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway

Chris Noone, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway

Cormac Ryan, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway

Eric Van Lente, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway

Tony Hall, School of Education, NUI, Galway

Monika Pilch, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway

Brian Slattery, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway

Siobhan O’Higgins, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway

John O’Reilly, School of Education, University of Limerick

Mike Moroney, J.E. Cairnes School of Business & Economics, NUI, Galway

Jane Walsh, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway

Edith Walsh, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway

Su-Ming Khoo, School of Sociology, NUI, Galway

Cushla Dromgool-Regan, Whitaker Institute for Innovation and Societal Change

Benjamin Broome, Arizona State University

Michelle Hanlon, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway

Michael Hogan, School of Psychology, NUI, Galway