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The Reality of Collective Intelligence

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Iconic political, religious and corporate leaders characterize the history of the world. Those leaders often represented an era or a movement, and their strategies may have been identified as what changed the outcome of an event like an election or a war. Arguably, while they may have been considered the face of change, they could not be individually responsible for the force of change. The force of change is a result of the co-action of members of an organization, community, or team operating with Collective Intelligence.

Leadership as a critical component to success on a personal, political, or corporate level is discussed, evaluated and trained practically ad nauseam. There is no question on the value of leadership as critical to success. However, success and transformation do not and cannot only occur at the leadership level or on an individual basis. History shows us that change and success are a direct result of how individuals mobilize themselves through their collective intelligence. The point is that leadership alone does not make the difference in exacting change or in delivering winning strategies. The successful outcome of anything is just as likely a result of the collective intelligence and collective experiences of the group of people who come together under the same rallying cry.

What Collective Intelligence represents in its simplest form is that two heads are better than one.  Consider each word on its own: according to Dictionary.com, ‘Collective’ without ‘Intelligence’ is only a group of people viewed as a whole, and ‘Intelligence’ without ‘Collective’ is the simply the capacity for learning, reasoning and understanding relationships, facts and meanings. Together, these two words or concepts are referred to as a ‘Phenomenon’. Collective Intelligence by definition is “a phenomenon in sociology where shared or group intelligence emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals”.

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