"If we are to cope with increasing complexity in our modern world... [we] can no longer be mere specialists with fixed duties, competent in only a very limited way. We must attain to a kind of global awareness, [and] the traditional boundaries must be transcended."
Dennis R. Smith, Institute of General Semantics
These challenges, are global in their scope and highly interconnected. As such they are multidisciplinary, falling outside the remit of particular fields. It is time for our thinking and approaches to be optimized for this new, unpredictable environment. With it our understanding of human intelligence will change too.
With the world aghast at the present global situation and where it will end, we have been looking instead towards a more positive future. Yes, there are a new range of challenges facing humanity, but we are incredibly adaptable beings and our mind are highly agile when the need requires.
An thought leading DHREADY x UCL research project has been exploring what form this new future mindset will be, what it has already started to become. We believe with this new era comes a new type of intelligence, one both engendered by and reactive to our modern world: We call it Random Intelligence [RQ]. It is an understanding of intelligence as creative, open, random, and interdisciplinary thinking. This thinking cannot be automated. And we believe, as the evidence suggests that it is the thinking necessary for the progression of human civilization.
With parallels to Divergent Thinking and acknowledging the need for Integrated Interdisciplinary Thinking: Openness, Connective Creativity, Random Thought, and interdisciplinary thought will shape the way in which RQ can be defined and measured. Emphasis is placed on RQ as a form of (pro)active thinking. As such, it stands to be an imperative mode of thought to tackle real world problems. It looks set to be the sought after thinking that can change the world for good.
The early evidence suggests that RQ, like all physiological and neurological traits, is a potential of a mode of thinking that can be improved and nurtured, in line with ideas about neural plasticity. Even more exciting is that that RQ may not just exists at an individual level but also that collective RQ exists.
"When minds meet, they don't just exchange facts: they transform them, reshape them, draw different implications from them, engage in new trains of thought." Zeldin 1998
Incorporating creativity within it, it goes beyond the past limitations of EQ and IQ. RQ refers to raw intelligence and propensity for knowledge as well as referring more broadly to a way of approaching knowledge, thought and ideas. RQ recognizes personality and emotional know-how but transcends this, and transcends IQ.
Daring to say that everyone starts life with what could arguably be described as a 'full' RQ potential) depending on what you do throughout life, individuals may 'tune in' to a different (and often narrower) way of thinking. If true, RQ increases/decreases according to this process and we all have the potential to expand it.
This is just the beginning. Understanding RQ will inform attempts to understand processes of teaching, learning, knowing and be at the basis of all interdisciplinary collaboration. Within every industry it will lead to value creation through its embracing of creativity, empathy and innovation. And at the level of both the individual and collective society it provides us with a toolkit to meet each new world challenge. It is our future and it is a positive and exciting one.
This post was based on the findings from research coordinated by Duane Holland and Katherine Templar Lewis at DHREADY and the UCL BaSc Programme Director, Carl Gombrich and a report coauthored with the following students: Robert Harrison, Natasha Erira-Guyer, Isabel Bennett, Rosita Bannert, Patrick De Mars, Ribka Metaferia, Fareeha Siddique, Arantza Dobbels, Theo Rigden.