Consulting Tips

Your Firm Needs Collective Intelligence. Here’s why.

AI has raised BI to a whole new level. Collective Intelligence is the final piece of the puzzle.

Swarm Intelligence

Have you ever looked up at a group of starlings, as they appear to form mesmerizing shape-shifting flight patterns? This is called the phenomena of “murmuration”. They use this to exchange information about feeding areas and also as a means of safety. The same type of swarm intelligence can be seen with ant colonies or beehives. But what does this have to do with business? The answer is Teamwork.

Two Heads Are Better Than One

Swarm Intelligence is an aspect of Collective Intelligence that showcases how groups of animals or insects can come together and collectively create solutions that the individual could not have achieved. With teamwork playing an important role in the workplace, it has become more of a necessity to understand these dynamics and apply them within current organizations. When a group of people tackles a problem, it allows for multiple perspectives and facilitates finding an appropriate solution. However, this is not always the case. According to a study conducted on Collective Intelligence Factor in the Performance of Human Groups, many elements contribute towards higher collective intelligence such as: diversity, social sensitivity and equality. So it’s not always about the size of the group, but more importantly whom the group consists of. 

Quality Not Quantity

If one member tries to dominate in a group, the collective intelligence factor will most likely be negative. Similarly, a group with no or less females won’t be as beneficial as one including females. This means that just having a large team is not enough to bring collective intelligence to the organization. It is more important to note what each individual brings to the table. For example, when coming up with a presentation for a client, each person on the team can bring something known as “general individual intelligence”. This is an individual’s knowledge base and skill set. Having a team full of leaders who possess larger skill sets, increases the organizations collective intelligence. The team develops a sort of “group IQ” and it’s much smarter than any member on their own!

Theory Becomes Practice

Knowing all the fancy terms and definitions is one thing, but actually applying Collective Intelligence in your firm is another. This can be achieved in a number of ways. According to a study by Harvard Business Review, collective intelligence emerges when internal competition is introduced in the workplace. Comparing productivity can give a rise to the firm’s overall success. GroupThinq, for example, uses a timesheet score system to create a bit of competition while enforcing the submitting of timesheets on time. This is a way for team members to monitor their productivity against their colleagues. Other ways to increase collective intelligence in your consulting firm include:

  • Connecting Controllers: Connect controllers in the organization directly to people doing the work so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Real-Time Feedback: Allow real-time feedback at every phase of a project to create shared solutions.
  • Sharing Project Status: If team members can see the status of every project right from their timesheets, it allows them to self organize and meet budgets better.

A carefully conceived delegation system can help individuals and groups to become more effective project managers and team members and also create an over collectively intelligent organization. Organizations that will thrive are the ones where interconnected groups of people and software work together to create desirable results. It’s time to lose the hierarchies, and truly collaborate.     

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