Measuring Intelligence

I wrote this spoken piece a week ago which was step one to express my interests in the nature of the reality, global culture and what we aspire to.

I believe the definition of intelligence both dictionary and street understanding is fundamentally wrong which leads to all sorts of issues in the ‘funnels’ of school, universities and societal aspirations for success.

What I am about to write will inevitably change over the course of the next year but hopefully it will paint a picture which can be vastly improved before the proverbial architects drawings and building begins :)

I describe the current every day understanding of intelligence as IQ+

There is a level of appreciation that there is more to being smart and successful than raw processing power but ‘the rest’ is viewed as little more than the incidental greens on the meat of our plate of intelligent nutrients in a world that believes meat is the important protein to sustain our growth.

I think however this interpretation is desperately far from the reality and leads to many many wasted opportunities for human flourishing by having such a reductionist view.

I believe, whilst still rudimentary, it is a better framing to think of IQ as 1/5 of our intelligence flow system. I describe it, as in the poem as follows,

1. Extra Sensory

2. Sensory input

3. Emotional response

4. Cognitive processing

5. Physical Expression output


(These are my notepad scribbles – I want to show you my workings) 

I believe these 5 cogs make up the basics of the intelligence flow system which is more analogous of true intelligence than our current ideas.

The objective of the system is sneakily hidden in the middle of the name – FLOW,

Therefore results to be measured, managed and optimised for are related to FLOW!

Bruce Lee says it better than I can here :

NOT looking in a reductionist way at one of the cogs  most commonly No4. Cognitive IQ)

It is not always possible for flow to be achieved through self development, for example if someone has sensory depravation, like deafness then it is likely help is needed to bring that cog up to speed.

Once a gap or blockage in the flow system has been identified I see 3 options for ‘healing’

1. Personal Growth

2. Team

3. Technology Augmentation

I see them in this preferred order as if flow can be achieved through personal growth then that is ideal for the individual and community.

I think pain and frustration occurs in the human condition when there is a break in flow, especially an undiagnosed one, therefore the role of doctors, technologists, councillors and everybody else doing good work is to create conditions for flow, the environment for human flourishing to occur.


I was struck when trying to edit and upload my recent ‘Presence’ Video in the quiet lake of Kelseyville that my computer, the laptop was at capacity and beginning to melt and couldn’t connect to the internet, so I ended up using it merely as the ‘processing brain’ of the operation.

My iPhone was providing the sensory in, image and audio capture, as well as the expression, communicating to the world through teathering the 3G internet.

My External hard drive was acting somewhat like Google, the collective memory that allowed the storage of the previous captured experiences to draw upon to make something.

And my brain and body obviously provided the overall creative input and architecture for the whole operation but would never have been able to share with a single person if not for the help of technology.

Through using a community of devices I was able to express the creativity that I had imagined on the lake, It would have cost a lot of time resource to ‘upgrade’ the individual laptop, but through using all 3 devices the creation was able to be shared with the 7,000 people that have now watched the video.

If we do all this and find a way to quantify the the true nature of intelligence, and appreciate that it changes as we go through life then we could begin to add a quarterly test throughout our lives helping us to regularly diagnose where our lack is and how our growth is coming along. This could replace testing in schools, recruitment processes for jobs and our fascination with IQ.


I have been inspired also by the Enneagram matrix as it has the understanding intrinsic within it that we CANNOT be like others, but we CAN be the best version of ourselves, it also helps us to appreciate that our condition is always changing and helps increase our awareness of how we interact with others.

The step I seek to take from spending lots of time enjoying the field of behavioural economics is to rather observe ones behaviour to assess their flow and growth rather than ask them to cram for a written performance or indeed ask them what narrative they subscribe to.

I currently think the ‘Check in’ experience will create 2 outputs.

1. flow score 1-100 

This speaks to the level of consistency and flow between the cogs

2. cog score 1-100 

The secondary score shows the ‘size’ of each of the independent cogs

Much of this work has been inspired by my reading of Thomas Butler, Charles Darwin’s adversary in George Dyson’s – Darwin Among the Machines 


Initial diagram trying to visualise the IFS. Each 1 on flow axis could represent 20 / 100

I am simply moving this idea along as best I can, I make no promises that it is well founded, will work or can be helpful to anyone but it is something I need to express.

I think my next steps will be to formalise these scribbles into something ‘professional looking’ then circulate amongst academics for advice, further reading and buy in.

Then hopefully begin to think about how a test could be constructed to observe all 5 cogs in action and produce the most helpful results.

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