Groupthink can be harmful, but collective intelligence can bring out the best in this world.
With the incredible amount of data now available at our fingertips, hoarding knowledge no longer holds much power. Being knowledgeable is has lost its association with being smart. In fact, if you’re not freely sharing your knowledge, it can be seen as holding society back.
There’s a great appreciation for diverse views that we can only get when people individually share their opinions. Collective intelligence comes from the consensus of these individuals, but consensus is not necessarily a majority vote, it’s about finding the best feasible solution.
The key here is to ensure that each person’s diverse view is taken into account. It can be inspired by, and build off other ideas, but must stay individual and unique.
Collective intelligence can be incredibly beneficial, but we need to be wary of its antithesis, groupthink, where a few people influence a group in such a way that instead of getting differing perspectives, we get irrational decision-making. Groupthink is often characterized by one big ego backed by the energy of many sheepish followers. Collective intelligence, on the other hand, benefits from a network of perspectives, and is known for solving the world’s biggest issues, such as eliminating disease.
Take action: Wikipedia is an excellent example of collective intelligence, but it can work on a small scale as well. Next time you need a second opinion, try getting a third, fourth or fifth opinion from people who will have different perspectives. Then make your decision based on the consensus, that is, the best workable solution for your situation.
:: Influenced by Rod Collins’ book, Wiki Management: A Revolutionary New Model for a Rapidly Changing and Collaborative World.
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