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The Reality of Collective Intelligence

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History, success and even failure are constantly in the making because ordinary people in a changing world are always gathering towards shared hope and a desired outcome, shaped by their common understanding, values and needs. The results of the phenomenon of collective intelligence are impressive, revolutionary and inspiring. Consider any human rights movement, any advancement in medicine, or any branded product in the market today. Most examples that come to mind would be attributed to some form of Collective Intelligence.

This phenomenon occurs whenever and wherever there is a defined or undefined conflict.  It occurs when a collective entity comes together, by accident or on purpose, because people want to work on something that is important to them and something they believe is possible.  It happens every day in every part of the world. If leadership matters (and it does), the most intelligent thing that Leadership can do is to recognize when and where it is happening, provide the intellectual property that is needed to shape its direction, and harness its power and momentum.

An organization’s success in capitalizing on the power of collective intelligence is possible when it is able to reach the ideals of its constituents and allow them to lead the transformation through their command of the subject matter, their ability to coordinate themselves, and their own desire to collaborate toward the defined outcome. In corporations, Collective Intelligence is more effective than individual intelligence because it leverages the thinking, strengths and diversity of a broader entity. When the members of that entity are focused on the same common goal, the results achieved can exceed expectations.

An example of collective intelligence within most organizations is what is commonly referred to as the consensus process. An example of this process is when multiple functions to come together and align on one number that will represent the volume and profit outlook of the organization. Throughout this formalized process operates the fundamental belief that no one function, one role, or one person within the organization has access to the crystal ball that will predict the future.

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