How to Create Collective Intelligence

Among many other thoughts on AI and its civil impacts, I believe we have to master our natural collective (civil or organizational) intelligence if we are going to manage AI and other complex issues in the mid to long term. We can see a couple of steps are involved.

The first step on this road is to become aware of our existing collective intelligence. We are in fact embedded in human collective intelligence, but it takes a bit of reflection to become fully aware of this and to understand how it works. Most of the time we take it for granted. When it fails we usually just start arguing and pointing fingers of blame. There is more to it.

The second step will be to practice the improvement of collective intelligence in group activities such as facilitated workshops like systems and design thinking or strategic foresight. Then it will demand some effort to master its optimization in groups, organizations and communities.

Below is a link to an article from Evonomics concerning collective intelligence and how to support it.  I don’t agree with everything put forth but there is much value in the discussion regardless. This is an important newly emerging discipline that draws on evolutionary biology, psychology, behavioural economics, anthropology and more.

” As soon as we associate “mind” with “unit of selection”, then the possibility of human group minds leaps into view. It is becoming widely accepted that our distant ancestors found ways to suppress disruptive self-serving behaviors within their groups, so that cooperating as a group became the primary evolutionary force.“…

The question that animated me was a version of this: why do some nations, cities, organisations manage to thrive and adapt while others don’t, even though they appear to be endowed with superior intellectual resources or technologies?  Why did some of the organizations that had invested the most in intelligence of all kinds – from firms like Lehmann Brothers to the USSR in the 1980s – fail to spot big facts in the world around them and so stumble? ” – Geoff Mulgan