We study the problem of information transmission in complex cooperative systems to prove that adaptivity rather than diffusion is the main source of information transport at criticality. We adopt two different cooperative models, the two-dimensional Decision Making Model (DMM), and the one-dimensional Flock Model (FM) inspired by the cooperation between birds. The criticality-induced consensus is intermittently broken by the occurrence of moments of high susceptibility, which we call free-will states. We construct a network A based on the DMM and FM that is perturbed by a similar network B. Some units of A, called lookout birds, follow the directions of the mean field generated by B, while the rest are blind to B. When both networks are at criticality a small percentage of lookout birds establish the synchronization between B and A as a result of the nonergodic nature of the free-will state dynamics.