Does Dynamic Intelligence exist as a conceptual measure of self-awareness in the moment?

Darren Stevens
14 October 2019

The theory of Constructed Development (as per Stevens’ 2019 PhD thesis) is a measure of a person’s awareness of their constructed intentions in the moment; this measure is time and context-specific and determines how much of their thinking is at choice. This choice leads to a number of possible responses in the moment. The individual’s capacity to choose their response in the moment informs personality and thus behaviour. When applying this theory to systems thinking, consider the people in the room, their capacity to construct meaning and the differences in results from different layers of the same organisation using the same systems theory. How does a mid-level manager construct their thinking and are they aware of this construction? Compare that to a CEO and the way s/he constructs themselves in a larger organisational environment, with the many facets informing their construction.

The Constructed Development Theory bridges the gap between Elliott Jaques’ work on organisational complexity and individual complexity. The more habituated aspects of personality are due to limited awareness of this construction of intention, and thus a more flexible response is indicative of a more adaptive personality. An output of the research was the creation of a scale for self-awareness, called the Thinking Quotient (TQ). To create the Thinking Quotient, Stevens used fifty Cognitive Intentions (CIs), re-purposed heuristics to deconstruct an individual’s thinking style. The relationship between these CIs is key to an individual’s self-awareness.

We will look at a number of these in the talk. This research also demonstrated that different combinations of CIs create differing Thinking Styles, and each style can be aligned with a level of adult development. Using the CIs, it is hypothesised that an individual’s Intention, Awareness, Choice and Response informs their Dynamic Intelligence which leads to predictable behaviours in context. From a systems practitioner perspective, it could be useful to be able to predict thinking and behavioural outcomes as you interact with your clients.


About Darren Stevens

Darren Stevens is a leadership and change consultant and a cognitive developmental coach, working specifically with senior executive teams in enabling more effective strategy execution, change management, leadership and talent development. Darren’s powerful approach strengthens leaders’ and organisational capabilities through transformational learning and meta-systemic thinking. He presents new ways for executives, managers, and consultants to reflect on who they are as leaders, how they relate to and impact others, and how to challenge their organisation to reach new levels of excellence.

Darren’s developmental approach takes a ‘whole-person-in-role’ approach to leadership development using the Constructed Development Framework as a guide for senior executives to become deeper thinkers and experience transformational change on a personal as well as professional level.