28 April 2022

Inside the Collective Intelligence chrysalis

Whilst on a Zoom call with Cheryl Reynolds recently, she pointed out to me where Collective Intelligence is on our journey of transformation. I said to her, “it feels like we are in some sort of start-up mode again”. Cheryl smiled and said, “Nope, you are in the chrysalis stage Harv.” Bang-on! She had just given me a mental image that made waaay more sense.


Well, as I understand it, this is what happens inside a chrysalis. Much of a caterpillar’s body breaks itself down into a ‘goop’ that contains imaginal cells (undifferentiated cells that can go on to become any type of cell). These imaginal cells put the caterpillar back together into a new shape. A few parts of the body, such as the legs, go through the process more or less unchanged.

Imaginal cells – I like the sound of those big time! At Collective Intelligence we have been imagining ourselves new for the past 12 months and are now very close to being able to emerge from our chrysalis.

What’s cool about undergoing such a transformation in Aotearoa-NZ, is that we are in good company, for there are about 2,000 different types of native butterflies and moths. More than 90% of these are found nowhere else in the world. Didn’t know that did you!

Given this, it makes sense that moths feature prominently in Te Ao Māori (the Māori worldview) with this whakataukī being very apt for the topic of this blog:

He iti mokoroa e hinga pūriri
(the little mokoroa grub (pūriri moth larvae) fells a pūriri tree)

It’s a reminder that even small things can have a big impact.

So, back to our Collective Intelligence chrysalis… a chrysalis is one of the least inspiring-looking formations on earth when viewed from the outside. But on the inside…magic is happening!

The Collective Intelligence chysalis at work

For us, this magic includes:

  • Strengthening our foundations: ensuring that we’re able to endure and support our community of members whatever our unpredictable world throws at us in the future,
  • Enhancing our member experience: providing places and spaces for you to connect more widely than just with your team or at an individual level, thereby deepening and expanding the connections and value we offer you
  • Refining our collective story of community and impact: this is building on our initial work around sharpening up our brand and what we stand for, and how we communicate clearly what we do and who we are.

That’s the rub for Collective Intelligence right now. From the outside it looks like we’re all just business as usual. But on the inside – ‘foof’ it’s all alchemy at work!

Starting in May you’ll start to see the first practical elements of our transformation from the chrysalis, and we will be seeking out people’s input and feedback on our new initiatives as each one begins to unfold its wings.

Rest assured that for all the work the imaginal cells have done on creating cool, new structures, just like in the caterpillar all the good bits, the foundational cells upon which our face-to-face, peer-based team-learning environments are built, will still be there.

Ian Harvey (Harv)


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