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Collective Intelligence: Proposed Categorization of Approach

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The formation of Collaborative Intelligence requires the same elements as discussed in the section on Autonomous Collective Intelligence. It also requires methodology for intentional interaction.

Intelligence produced by the group is derived from an intentional process or methodology that guides how the individuals in the group create with one another.  The process or methodology may be one that has been applied previously in other efforts or it might be one the group develops together. Furthermore, collaborative efforts are often facilitated. The facilitator’s role is to ensure that the agreed upon process is followed and that all of the participants have the opportunity to contribute. The facilitator can be a member of the group or a person who facilitates professionally and has no stake in the outcome.

By collaborating actively, there are resources available to enhance the interaction between the members of the group that were not necessary for the creation of the two other forms of collective intelligence. Some of these include: exercises for brainstorming, techniques for clarifying ideas, activities for re-focusing, and new facilitation processes.

When people collaborate, the expectation is already set to work together, to share openly, to gain common understanding, and to communicate ideas that may be out of the comfort zone of the group.  The results can be unexpected and shift the thinking in a new direction.

Summary

The term ‘Collective Intelligence’ is used broadly to describe intelligence that is created by a group. By distinguishing between the manner in which the group creates the intelligence, expectations can be managed, processes change, and intentionality is applied.  Three categorical approaches to collective intelligence are proposed: Evolved Intelligence, Autonomous Collective Intelligence, and Collaborative Intelligence.  Each of them has distinct properties and focus on different elements of collective intelligence. Evolved Intelligence focuses on the intelligence itself. Autonomous Collective Intelligence focuses on being created by a group. And, Collaborative Intelligence focuses on the interaction of the group in creating the intelligence.

 Photo Credit: Meaghan Farren Smith

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