CICOLAB Provisional Whitepaper 2021-01-24
- What is CICOLAB?
The Collective Intelligence Collaboratory — CICOLAB — is a peer-to-peer mutual support community for “exopreneurs”: misfit entrepreneurs who are solving adaptive challenges (which go far beyond “complex problems” that can be solved by technical fixes, to wicked messes that are coupled with a high degree of social complexity) that do not lend themselves to easy solutions. This paper goes into detail about the unique nature of exopreneurs and explains why a network of us working together to bootstrap our efforts could be profoundly transformative, both for ourselves and for the world at large.
- What is an exopreneur, and why do we need different structures of support?
The following is a chart to show the difference between an entrepreneur and exopreneur.
|Quintessential example: Elon Musk.||Quintessential example: Buckminster Fuller.|
|Intellectual thinkers:||Intellectual thinkers: Elinor Ostrom, Nora Bateson|
|Creates things to ultimately benefit themselves. If they build things that benefit others, it is an externality of their main goal.||Work to benefit something outside themselves, like society, and sometimes at a psychological or financial cost to themselves.|
|Solve “problems,” which are challenges–even if highly complex ones–that can be thought to have tractable, finite solutions.||Confront messes, wicked problems, and adaptive challenges, which involve different people having various perceptions and values about what they are, what has caused them, their boundaries, and their solutions.|
|Work from inside the system||Work from outside the system|
|Tackle problems that they can solve themselves (if they raise money)||Need different mechanisms or partners in order to solve the problems that they have identified|
|Technical problems that require expertise to implement known solutions||Adaptive challenges that require us to develop new patterns and habits of thinking. (Reference: pdf by Heifsetz and Laurie)|
|Problem resides in one person’s or one department’s jurisdiction||The problem/challenge does not have an owner. It resides in the interstices between silos, so that no entity is motivated to solve it; or worse, the problem is not even recognized at all.|
|The problem is recognized as something that people want to solve||People or organizations might be blocking the resolution of this problem because the solutions do not benefit them directly, although its resolution might benefit society as a whole.|
|Hustle and focus will solve this problem, which has a cause-and-effect dynamic.||Not dealing with “problems” to be “solved,” but rather wicked messes and adaptive challenges that call for collective intelligence processes. A diverse array of affected parties must be included in the sensemaking, criteria-making, and decisionmaking processes and the process must rely on heavy prototyping and testing–the “solution,” therefore, cannot be seen ahead of time. Hustle and focus are not what is needed. Hustle and focus will not solve this problem.|
|Have expertise in the areas that they are trying to solve, or can tap the required expertise||Are either experts with decades of experience or are coming from outside the subject area, giving them a very different perspectives|
|Are focused, single minded and competitive||Are cross-disciplinary, open-minded, and often want to collaborate|
|Resilient and stubborn||Resilient and stubborn|
|Solve problems in one area||Solve issues that reside in different areas at once, making them hard for other people to see|
|Working on problems that can be solved by a profit-motivated business||Working on problems that regular business cannot solve; new business models needed|
|Have an ecosystem of support, such as organizations, mentors, books, incubators, accelerators etc.||Support system is fragmented, incomplete, insufficient, or non-existent.|
Exopreneurs are solution-oriented like entrepreneurs, but far more comprehensive