This essay brings into dialogue the concept of systems intelligence and the scientific empirics of volunteering. The empirical section presents a phenomenological study that focused on individual-level volunteer motivation and the experience of volunteering. This study produced an octagon model of volunteer motivation − one that can be captured into the expression “individually together”. In the light of these findings, the article proceeds to ponder the power and potential of the system called volunteer work from three perspectives: 1) what does the system generate, 2) how does the system mold human beings, and 3) what kind of “in-between” does the system endors. It is further suggested that the social system of volunteer work produces novel systemic intelligence by both promoting social interaction of individuals and by widening the other-centred as well as positive horizons of individuals. Concluding discussion focuses on further applications of the approach.
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