Collective Intelligence.

The way that you have been familiar about collective intelligence is perhaps through the ways that it presents itself, like a group think, empowered groups, think tanks, special advisory task forces and so on and so forth. Join me here as we explore why collective intelligence works and at time doesn’t and what is that we can do to harness its seemingly unlimited power of the aggregated human minds!

To understand about why and how collective intelligence works, we must understand what is the whole story about intelligence to begin with! Well, I am no psychologist, but if you ask me what Intelligence means to me, well simply put- it is about bringing together, your experience, academic credentials, skills, competencies all of that to a moment and applying it to overcome a challenge that you are staring at! Sure enough you also require to add in other external aspects like knowledge, information and your own ability to stay wise to the context that you may be living about. So what limits our individual intelligence?

The whole issue with intelligence is that, it is dependent on multiple intrinsic aspects and the most important being- the Quality- the quality of the past experiences, quality of the value system followed and everything that goes on to construct the individuality of the person, needless to say if this quality is average- what is an ordinary problem ends up being an extraordinary challenge for an individual, while the same becomes a cake walk for someone else and that’s how we have end up having intelligent people acting dumb- because they are limited by the boundaries of their own intelligence. Can this be overcome? certainly, it cane be and hold your thoughts as we will visit this part towards the end of this article.

When it comes to collective intelligence, it is about applying the intelligence of a group of people to address something that they are working on or have been asked to sort out! The essence of collective intelligence is that, collective intelligence is only as effective as the quality of individual intelligence of the people in that group! In a way collective intelligence is the net intelligence of the members in a group (not the average intelligence) because when you have very intelligent people or very average/ dumb people coming in to apply collective efforts- it almost always ends up into even more ambiguity! You see the super intelligent group- will spend a lot of time shooting down great ideas (you know how this bit works!) and the average or below average group will go after every idea or thought (hoping something will work!) to hit one crisis after the other! Hence it’s no wonder that at one end of the spectrum you have some amazing minds working as a group and deploying solutions through pure innovation and ingenuity- space exploration, futuristic technologies are all part of this group and on the other end you have those never ending mundane groups which go on to address the routine problems of the corporate world and those meetings just seems to go on and on and strangely enough the problems too tend to keep coming back and back each time disguised as something else! So what is getting played out?

As I said earlier, people get limited by their intelligence and whether you are working on something individually or collectively, this remains! So as long as the horizon of your intelligence is far and wide, you will get into a tight spot, not because that you are reflecting incompetence, but simply because you are trying to venture into something that your intelligence is not equipped to deal with! Intelligence led failures are not because of incompetence, but mostly are owing to not been equipped to deal with what is manifesting- our pandemic is the case in point! No matter how advanced our science has been, irrespective of hundred and hundreds of the best minds collaborating to seek solutions to the menace, even to this day, as I write, we come across new findings and new insights about the virus and what seemed a scientific solution three weeks back, now seems to be all but vain! So how can we overcome this fragility of our intelligence, is there a way? Sure you can and this is how you go about it!

It is about doing, what great thinkers, seers and philosophers have always done- Internalize and Reflect. The human brain happens to be is a one of the most potent bio machines- and when it finds no challenge – it goes into a mode- what I call- “Leave me alone” or “Do whatever” and when people start functioning and going about their lives using this mode of the brain- the result is recurrence of same problems in different ways- as the vital, radical course correction is missing which is so much needed to arrive at a different outcome! Similar or same actions will almost and always give the same result as long as the context are the same, only when the thinking alters, will the outcome!

So, the only way, if you ask me to overcome the challenges of limited intelligence, is by expanding your horizon of intelligence and whether you want to do that for problems that you work upon individually or as part of a group. The way to expand your intelligence is by constantly spilling the cup of your mind, emptying it regularly and replenishing it with what’s relevant and recent! We live in an era where we are bombarded by information and not knowledge, unless you align your mind to acquire knowledge that is recent and updated and that serves your area of life and work- your intelligence will always continue to be more hollow than you really know!

Minds that are constantly emptied and replenished are the ones’ that lead and provide fresh perspective to age old problems or are often better equipped to provide solutions to new challenges! Although it looks deceptively simple, the task of throwing away something that you know (when it doesn’t serve you) and making space for something new (for which you have to take efforts) is perhaps the most difficult to do! It’s only when you have gained the ability to direct and manage your mind well, that you will be able to (with practise) see new perspectives and possibly identify the blocks to your thinking mind. When you do this is as an individual and when individuals in a group are able to do this, as a routine and make it natural to have a fresh and vibrant mind on an ongoing basis, a mind that is filled to the brim with what serves and and all that doesn’t make n impact is junked that the quality of collective thinking improves and you can than see groups coming up with path breaking ideas and moments!

Collective Intelligence progresses and fosters only as long as the minds of the individuals that form the group apply themselves to the conscious effort of keeping themselves relevant, updated and in-synced with what serves them and do away with thievery that doesn’t help.

For an organisation, society or a nation to progress, it is but imperative that vibrant thinking by empowered minds remains at the forefront at all times and for that to happen the quality of Intelligence needs to be enhanced with every passing moment by replenishing what helps and weeding out what doesn’t hold up to the present beliefs and the oncoming future!

I will leave you here with these thoughts for now, urging you to reflect on how you are ensuring that your Intelligence is vibrant and what are the groups that you represent and when was the last time, were you able to come up with a vibrant idea that was path breaking empowered by your expanded and updated Intelligence!

Ciao for now, will be back soon with another article! Until than stay progressively intelligent! Stay safe!