“Teamwork makes the dream work”. Without collaboration and collective effort, it is hard for a business to succeed. 

Even in sports, teams that play as a collective unit have gone on to win trophies. Working together in a team is not as straightforward as it seems. When different people work together, they bring in their own share of thoughts, ideas, concepts, and thought processes. 

There may be a lot of disagreement but at the same time, if everyone has the capacity to see the bigger picture, that is what good teamwork is all about. 

Now imagine creating a team for an upcoming project. Who would you pick? What according to you would be the right combination of people? 

Every time you build a team, you are working toward one goal – to work together and do things as seamlessly as possible. 

However, before you build your dream team, you need to understand what the process would look like and your approach. 

A lot of research has been done to understand what collective intelligence is. Today, we have a fair understanding of what it is in practice. With more and more efforts being made to understand collective intelligence, we are likely to see more of it in the upcoming years. 

Let’s understand what collective intelligence is and you can boost it within your teams. 

SEE ALSO: Can Artificial Intelligence Influence Human Behavior?

What is collective intelligence?

Collective intelligence is also referred to as “Factor C”. A lot of studies have pointed out that collective intelligence does not relate to an average or sum of individual group participants, but to how the group was created. 

When you work in a company, the collective thinking power as a unit is higher than the sum of each component when you focus on three things. 

These include:

  • Gender demographics of the team
  • Opportunities team members have to share their thoughts in a conversation. 
  • The degree of the social perceptiveness of a group. 

We are aware that a group structure and dynamics are very important during decision-making. However, history has shown that “too many cooks can spoil a broth”. This is why taking the measures to enhance collective intelligence is the need of the hour. 

According to Cass Sunstein, Professor at the Harvard Law School, the benefits of improving collective intelligence are many. For example, a group with high collective intelligence allows us to use different perspectives to make informed decisions. 

As a group, we think creatively, look for other avenues to move forward, and eventually make sound decisions. 

How can companies improve collective intelligence?

When we start thinking about the group design instead of being pally with all individuals, we are already on our way to improving collective intelligence. 

Here are a few points that can help you improve collective intelligence. 

1. Size of the group matters

Collective intelligence primarily relies on creating a nice balance between practicing social sensitivity and diversity. The best example of this is Jeff Bezo’s Two Pizz Rule, which states that every team should be small enough that two pizza pies can feed them. 

2. Improving collective intelligence with different communication styles

Equal participation is very important to enhance collective intelligence. It primarily depends on your ability to grab the spotlight or step back if and when required. 

If a team has a great understanding of its communication style profile, all the members of the team find it easier to determine the conversational dynamics, and also find ways to improve their collective intelligence as a group. 

3. Include more women

Group of diverse team joining hand in the middle

A lot of companies are looking for new ways to enhance diversity. However, we are also seeing a lot of backlash against tokenism. What does this mean?

It means that a lot of individuals are of the opinion that companies are fulfilling ‘gender quotas’ just for the sake of it. However, that is not the case as organizations are advocating the inclusion of more women for an array of factors. 

While women bring a lot to the table, they play an important role in increasing the emotional intelligence of a group. Since empathy and relationship management skills are the key components of attaining collective intelligence, it becomes logical to include more women across different teams. 

Besides, the more we relate to one another as a diverse set of people, the higher the chances of improving our collective intelligence. 

4. Boost collective intelligence by staying humble

When you think of strong leaders, what are the few qualities that come to mind? Did that list of qualities include humility? We are certain that it did not, and we do not blame you. 

However, psychological research has revealed the advantages of this quality which is often overlooked. Research has shown that humble individuals learn faster, communicate better, and are also better decision-makers. 

Besides, they also inspire improved problem-solving in their teams. A humble leader will promote humility among his team members and employees, creating an open-minded set of individuals. 

5. Encourage and build emotional awareness

A great amount of research has shown that the best teams are those with above-average emotional awareness and regulation. 

This allows team members to stay motivated and clears the path for productive disagreements which do not end in conflicts. A simple “How is everyone doing” before the start of the meeting can yield amazing results. Communicate with your team members regularly and ensure you are on the same page. 

Final words

Colleagues having a video conference while working from home

What are your thoughts on this topic? Do you think these methods are good enough to promote collective intelligence?

While a lot of emphases is placed on a range of factors including proactiveness,  learning capacity, ability to work in a team, and so on, collective intelligence seems to be one of the key areas companies are working towards. 

Collective intelligence is vital and we are likely to find new ways to promote the same with additional research in the years to come. 

SEE ALSO: Demystifying the benefits and challenges of cognitive computing and artificial intelligence

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