A lack of collaboration and cooperation within a team can prove a company’s downfall. The solution? Collective intelligence – the only response suited to our ever-changing and increasingly complex world.
Vincent Leenhardt defines collective intelligence as “the dynamic interaction of responsible, interconnected stakeholders working together to achieve a shared vision”. Let’s break down this definition and see how collective intelligence can help boost innovation in your company.
1. Dynamic interaction
“Interaction” should be understood as a dynamic process of constant movement and change. Think about a bike: without speed, the bike will fall, taking the cyclist with it. The same is true of managerial innovation: it drives the change and movement within it. The collective intelligence of your teams helps create this dynamic and foster innovation within your company.
2. Responsible stakeholders
Everyone is a “stakeholder” and perhaps even a “responsible stakeholder”. All the members of a team are stakeholders with their own responsibilities. Each can see the impact of their work (“my work serves a purpose”). As such, each stakeholder can put forward new ideas for their company, of which they are an integral part.
3. Interconnected stakeholders
All your employees are responsible, interconnected stakeholders. This has several implications. Firstly, it is important to be aware that there are many connections within your company. Secondly, it is vital that your employees can bounce off one another. This will allow them to move forward – together – and develop new, more informed, more tailored ideas. It is by forging connections between different departments and between differing needs and expectations that we make faster progress, add value and enrich every individual’s role.
4. Working together
Responsible, interconnected stakeholders work together, in a spirit of cooperation, towards a shared goal. There is no room for “every man/woman for him/herself”; we win or lose together.
Have you heard the bridge analogy? A businessman, a farmer and a couple find themselves stuck on one side of a river, needing to get to the opposite bank. Some are young, others older, but all share the same goal of crossing the river. The businessman needs to get across to make money, the farmer to buy provisions and the couple to find their child. These 4 people all have very different reasons for wanting to cross the river and, as such, very different goals.
However, what unites them is their shared aim of crossing the river, despite the fact that it is infested with piranhas and has a dangerously strong current.
The solution? Collective intelligence and cooperation. In this instance: building a bridge.
And so, they decide to build a bridge together, putting their differences to one side and focussing instead on their shared aim. The lesson we can learn from this tale is that strength lies in unity, even when our goals and challenges are very different from those of others.
5. A shared vision
The power of collective intelligence really comes into its own when this dynamic team of responsible, interconnected stakeholders work together towards a shared vision. Each knows where the team is going and how it will get there. It is at this point that we can decide on the process, objectives, expected behaviours and resources to be put in place. This step is key to developing collective intelligence and boosting innovation within your company.
So, how do we get there? Here are the 6 steps to follow: