The Power of Collective Wisdom

In a world facing increasing complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty, it is both good and necessary to be reminded of deeper truths and practical principles for creating lasting change. This book is for leaders, groups, communities, and networks desiring to increase our human capacity for creativity, well-being, and social change. This is a foundational book for anyone exploring the higher potential of groups or wanting to find personal ways of being a better leader, organizer, or collaborator. Readers will be impressed by the depth of insight and accessible style that offers both inspiration and practical real-world knowledge. “When you connect your dots, good things happen. When many find their dots interconnected, great things can happen. Collective wisdom doesn’t imply convergent thinking. An intra-connected group gains traction by respecting its members’ diverse perspectives. Intra-connected groups function with a picture window view, so decisions are based on what’s best for all.” Supported by the visionaries of the Fetzer Institute, this book is required reading for anyone interesting in collaborative social change. Based on nine years of research, The Power of Collective Wisdom shows how we can reliably tap into the extraordinary co-creative potential that exists whenever human beings gather together. The most significant challenges of our time- social, economic, and environmental- are calling for leaders to understand, trust, and draw upon relational and co-creative capacities. This inspiring and practical book points the way. Not only have authors written about collective wisdom, they have created it.

Source: The Power of Collective Wisdom | Learning Change

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The Collective Intelligence of Online Communities 

Recent research with face-to-face groups found that a measure of general group effectiveness (called “collective intelligence”) predicted a group’s performance on a wide range of different tasks. The same research also found that collective intelligence was correlated with the individual group members’ ability to reason about the mental states of others (an ability called “Theory of Mind” or “ToM”). Since ToM was measured in this work by a test that requires participants to “read” the mental states of others from looking at their eyes (the “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” test), it is uncertain whether the same results would emerge in online groups where these visual cues are not available. Here we find that: (1) a collective intelligence factor characterizes group performance approximately as well for online groups as for face-to-face groups; and (2) surprisingly, the ToM measure is equally predictive of collective intelligence in both face-to-face and online groups, even though the online groups communicate only via text and never see each other at all. This provides strong evidence that ToM abilities are just as important to group performance in online environments with limited nonverbal cues as they are face-to-face. It also suggests that the Reading the Mind in the Eyes test measures a deeper, domain-independent aspect of social reasoning, not merely the ability to recognize facial expressions of mental states.

Source: The Collective Intelligence of Online Communities | Learning Change

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WiserWorldWeb – Collaborative Inquiry on Collective Intelligence

WiserWorldWeb – Collaborative Inquiry on Collective Intelligence is an effort to bring together people who are advancing the collective understanding of collective intelligence. It is a space where a wide variety of thinkers can share their thought on collective wisdom, collective learning, organizational learning, swarm intelligence, complex adaptive systems, crowd resources, social change, cultural change, economic development, and related subjects. At the kernel of most of our problems is the problem of how to improve our collective intelligence. As it is, there is much opportunity in the rapidly emerging communications and computing technologies. These forms of collective intelligence all are greatly increasing our capacities to work together to address problems. Fortunately, the emerging tools are being used to understand Collective Intelligence in new ways. Researchers from cognitive science, computer science, sociology, organizational theory, biology, anthropology, political science and other fields are discovering many aspects of the dynamics of collective intelligence. But more can be done to cohere and quicken the diverse discoveries. The more intelligent the community of CI scholars becomes, the more quickly can their insights be applied in address societal problems. So it will be interesting to find out what is the collective wisdom of this diverse group about how to nurture CI as a field of inquiry, as an emerging discipline. WiserWorldWeb will offer a space where researchers can easily continue to share ideas.  And as the site grows, it will become a forum for deliberation for an expanding community of thinkers. is a new site, and much remains to be done to realize the possibilities. But it hopes to be one part of the effort to increase humanity’s collective intelligence.

Source: WiserWorldWeb – Collaborative Inquiry on Collective Intelligence | Learning Change

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A Conversation on Collective Intelligence

A Conversation with Thomas W. Malone, Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and the founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence. As all the people and computers on our planet get more and more closely connected, it’s becoming increasingly useful to think of all the people and computers on the planet as a kind of global brain. What does collective intelligence mean? It’s important to realize that intelligence is not just something that happens inside individual brains. It also arises with groups of individuals. In fact, I’d define collective intelligence as groups of individuals acting collectively in ways that seem intelligent. By that definition, of course, collective intelligence has been around for a very long time. Families, companies, countries, and armies: those are all examples of groups of people working together in ways that at least sometimes seem intelligent.

Source: A Conversation on Collective Intelligence | Learning Change

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Growth of Collective Intelligence by Linking Knowledge Workers through Social Media

Collective intelligence can be defined, very broadly, as groups of individuals that do things collectively, and that seem to be intelligent. Collective intelligence has existed for ages. Families, tribes, companies, countries, etc., are all groups of individuals doing things collectively, and that seem to be intelligent. However, over the past two decades, the rise of the Internet has given upturn to new types of collective intelligence. Companies can take advantage from the so-called Web enabled collective intelligence. Web-enabled collective intelligence is based on linking knowledge workers through social media. That means that companies can hire geographically dispersed knowledge workers and create so-called virtual teams of these knowledge workers (members of the virtual teams are connected only via the Internet and do not meet face to face). By providing an online social network, the companies can achieve significant growth of collective intelligence. But to create and use an online social network within a company in a really efficient way, the managers need to have a deep understanding of how such a system works.Thusthe purpose of this paper is to share the knowledge about effective use of social networks in organizations. The main objectives of this paper are as follows: to introduce some good practices of the use of social media in organizations, to analyze these practices and to generalize recommendations for a successful introduction and use of social media to increase collective intelligence of a company.

Source: Growth of Collective Intelligence by Linking Knowledge Workers through Social Media | Learning Change

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The Collective Intelligence Handbook – An Open Experiment

Collective intelligence has existed at least as long as humans have, because families, armies, countries, and companies have all–at least sometimes–acted collectively in ways that seem intelligent. But in the last decade or so a new kind of collective intelligence has emerged: groups of people and computers, connected by the Internet, collectively doing intelligent things. In order to understand the possibilities and constraints of these new kinds of intelligence, a new interdisciplinary field is emerging. This book will introduce readers to many disciplinary perspectives on behavior that is both collective and intelligent. By collective, we mean groups of individual actors, including, for example, people, computational agents, and organizations. By intelligent, we mean that the collective behavior of the group exhibits characteristics such as, for example, perception, learning, judgment, or problem solving. The book is under contract with MIT Press, and we are making early draft chapters available here, in part, to solicit comments from a wide range of people via the Web.

Source: The Collective Intelligence Handbook – An Open Experiment | Learning Change

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Solving Problems With Collective Intelligence – Towards an Internet of Thinkers?

How can technology that we are able to build with today’s tools help us to solve the big problems of individuals, organizations, and the world at large? More specifically: How can we use the internet in the best way to improve our collective problem-solving capabilities? Questions like these don’t seem to be asked very often, perhaps because people usually focus on specific problems, rather than general problem-solving in its own right. Today, a vast plethora of different websites, online platforms, and apps exists. Currently, the web is dominated by what can be called web 2.0 platforms, which facilitate social interactions and collaborative co-creation. Can these platforms help us to use some kind of global Collective Intelligence (CI) that is actually good at solving difficult problems? The answer is probably yes. Nevertheless, there doesn’t seem to be one single absolutely prominent platform that is really dedicated to solving serious real-world problems by using CI. Again, this may come from people not seeing themselves as problem-solvers, or not associating the internet with solving big problems – as opposed to solving “minor” problems like boredom.

Source: Solving Problems With Collective Intelligence – Towards an Internet of Thinkers? | Learning Change

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