Through its emphasis on workers and the future of collaboration, PerformanSe was able to use its annual event to open the debate on collective intelligence. This concept has endured a lengthy struggle trying to assert itself despite the advances it brings to companies in terms of work team efficiency.

Collaboration isn’t a topic that inspires all that many writers to pick up their pens and can be rather difficult to grasp. One reason for this is the way in which it is regularly impacted by the latest trends and developments. Several months ago, the idea of the liberated company was everywhere. People were talking about it constantly in human resources and management circles and using all the language that comes with such a concept: autonomy not control, happiness not profit, and so on. Although the odds of the liberated company model being able to keep all its promises are – as corporate auditor François Geuze pointed out in his remarks about collaboration and new managerial techniques – pretty low, it deserves some credit for increasing awareness of the much more interesting subject of collective intelligence. “[Collective intelligence] is the capacity of a group to be more intelligent than its individual members,” explained Doctor of Cognitive Psychology and founder of Lumenogic and Hypermind Emile Servan-Schreiber, speaking at PerformanSe Day’s closing conference. This is a definition that makes even more sense in a corporate context, where the collective dimension ought to be optimised and work groups valued. “Building collective intelligence basically means cultivating a variety of subjective points of view, encouraging originality as opposed to conformity and gathering specialist information on the ground then consolidating it all objectively,” he explained.

A concept that could be accompanied by tools…

There’s no reason we can’t develop tools to go along with this miracle recipe. Emile Servan-Schreiber offers the specific example of predictive markets. This system is like a sort of “predictions trading platform”: it involves asking individuals to make online bets, which it uses to generate predictions (in this case in the form of shares in a publicly-traded company). It can be applied to the corporate sphere to provide “much more reliable probability calculations compared to surveys and traditional data-based methods as a whole,” insisted Emile Servan-Schreiber.


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