What most sets us apart from other species, is the powerful mental resources we have developed, enabling us to overcome the diverse mental challenges presented by our dynamic environments – where information overload, unpredictable change, unclarity and ambiguity are expected to be the norm.
We increasingly find that in the course of our daily lives we are confronted with messy situations full of competing demands, unclear, overwhelming information and sudden, unpredictable change. We find ourselves facing decisions, tasks and problems that are highly complex, unpredictable and frequently stress-producing. In short, we are learning that we must be ready to conduct our daily lives in Complex Dynamic Environments.
Because we are a highly adaptable species, we have developed many resources to meet the mental challenges encountered in dynamic environments. We can generate a variety of potential future scenarios and mentally play out different options. We can find areas of commonality and draw inferences from prior experiences, even when those experiences differ in many respects from the situations we are anticipating. We can plan for the unknown with amazing resourcefulness, fully expecting that we will repeatedly revise our carefully laid out plans, as we actively engage with our environment and continue to update our understanding. These are just a few examples of what we refer to as Dynamic Intelligence.
Examples of Mentally Challenging Situations Requiring Dynamic Intelligence
- Facing multiple competing goals with insufficient resources to attain them all
- Trying to complete tasks whose informational complexity is approaching overload
- Trying to solve problems where important information is limited, or only available in a fuzzy, partial manner
- Trying to manage problems that leave us feeling stuck and unable to make progress after employing our entire repertoire of strategies and despite our best efforts
- Having to make important decisions containing many variables, resulting in difficult-to-predict future consequences
- Trying to make ongoing progress toward goals when the environment is highly volatile – subject to sudden, emergent change