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Why we all win with collective intelligence

Updated: Apr 16, 2020

I’m learning a lot of new terms of late. And today I found a term that really resonated with me: collective intelligence.

Why does this resonate with me so strongly? Because I’ve seen it in action. Only in my world, I’ve called it collective wisdom or peer power.

It is the process of sharing ideas, perspectives, and knowledge through conversation. It’s where the brains of multiple people meet to a share, discover, and develop ideas.

Not every conversation reaches this place. Some conversations are side tracked by “group think”[1], others get bogged down in divergent thinking, which leads to an ongoing debate. Some get taken over by one voice determined to “sell” their position at all costs, while others fail to creatively bridge the ideas that are being presented into any cohesive, useful results.

For collective intelligence to arise, a strong facilitator is needed to open a safe space for conversation with agreed-upon guidelines. This ensures the conversation remains fluid, respectful, and bridges ideas. The conversation must be primed with trust-based exercises (that’s a whole other blog post!) that allow participants to transition from a “me”-centric to a “we”-centric perspective. [2]

When the conversation shifts to a “we”-centric approach, it naturally transitions into a space where results and outcomes are co-created[3] and innovation is possible.

Take a moment now and think about a business problem that you’ve been struggling with.

  • How great would it be to access the collective intelligence of a group of women entrepreneurs?

  • What innovative solutions might be discovered if the group worked on your idea from a we-centric perspective?

  • How might co-creating the solutions to your idea (and likewise, you co-creating the solutions to their ideas) influence how you engaged with these individuals moving forward?

What business idea or problem would could you use some collective intelligence and wisdom to fine tune? Share your ideas below... who know's you might start a conversation that helps you unearth just the right answer for you.


[1] Group think is when new ideas fail to arise as the group wants to avoid conflict by sharing / proposing something that is different from what everyone has suggested. When it comes to creativity and innovation, group think is must be avoided at all costs.

[2] I-centric and we-centric are from the work of Judith Glaser in the book: Conversational Intelligence, Glaser, Judith.

[3] Co-Create is also a conversational intelligence term from the work of Judith Glaser and Conversational Intelligence.

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