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 addressing a complex issue, or 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 issue. Idea clarification, categorisation, and voting helps the group to generate a field representation of the complex landscape and identify the sub-set of ideas that are most central to the issue (see step 1 & 2 in Figure 1 below).
  2. Next, using collective intelligence (CI) software, the relationship between ideas is compared systematically in pairs using a session-specific relational question (e.g., “Does problem A significantly aggravate problem B?”). Unless there is majority consensus, 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 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 further deliberation and action planning. The logical structure of issues under examination is visible in the problematique and when generating solutions or action plans.
  5. When the group is satisfied that they have modelled both the various components of the issue at hand, and devised the best possible set of solutions or actions, 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 address the complex issue.


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), improving Tribal governance process in Native American communities (Broome, 1995a, 1995b; Broome & Christakis, 1988; Broome & Cromer, 1991), developing a national well-being measurement framework (Hogan et al., 2015), mobilising communities across Europe in response to marine sustainability challenges (Domegan et al., 2016), understanding the nature and causes of sabotage in the University Sector (Wallace et al., 2017), understanding and overcoming barriers to the design of personalised nutrition products and services for older adults (Hogan, Harney, & Walsh, 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 & 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 Project Work for the Office of the Vice President for Equality and Diversity

–   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

These and other CINSU projects can be seen in figure 2 below.


Figure 2: CINSU Projects

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