What is Participatory Intelligence?


The fundamental philosophical dilemma of the social sciences is the question of objectivity.  Is the researcher an external observer of social reality, measuring objective facts about people and societies? Or instead is the researcher a subject whose conclusions can never be disconnected from their own social position and cultural assumptions?

There is no single answer to this dilemma of whether the researcher is an objective observer or is a subjective participant.  Instead, different methodological assumptions about this question can create different types of knowledge and can be used to solve different types of problems.

Most social science research implicitly assumes that the researcher is an external observer and that the people under investigation are objects of analysis. There is, however, within the social sciences a less well-known tradition of participatory research.  In participatory research, there is no assumed “Newtonic separation” between the researcher as subject and the researched as object.  Instead, the researcher and the researched work together all as subjects aiming to better understand some aspect of their social reality.  Participatory research methods have been central to some of the most powerful applications of social science with community organizations and in international development over the last 50 years.

Kannetic Solutions are designed from a participatory research approach. Unlike commonly used organizational performance assessments, personality diagnostics, employee surveys, customer surveys, and other market research instruments Kannetic treats people participating in Kannetic Solutions not just as objects of analysis, but as subjects engaged together in common investigation.  Kannetic’s platform is designed to make it as easy as possible to tap the participatory, collective intelligence of groups using it.    

Moreover each Kannetic Solution is itself designed as a learning model that can aggregate insights based on experience and evolve over time.  Disciplines like Product Management, DevOps, and Nonprofit Board Management change as technologies, business models, and environments change.  What worked today won't necessarily work tomorrow.  Kannetic Solutions are designed to learn and reflect ever developing insights based on the collective experience of all users.

Our vision in the long run is to help foster a new form of collective intelligence – participatory intelligence – which merges the power of machine data analytics with the wisdom of conscious human judgment.  Kannetic Solutions - as systems of participatory intelligence - provide a human-centered complement to big data people analytics (which approaches people as objects of analysis) and artificial intelligence (which operates independent of conscious human judgement.)  We aspire to foster this new form of intelligence to help people better solve collective problems everywhere - both problems of business, as well as of social and community flourishing.