17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
How to achieve group intelligence,
This review is from: The Wisdom Of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economics, Society and Nations: Why the Many ... Business, Economies, Societies and Nations (Hardcover)
It is often believed that a good remedy against the madness of groups is to give much power to extraordinary individuals. People who are aware that they cannot fully understand complex problems often believe that there are other people, more intelligent, knowledgeable and strong than they are, who do posses the answers to these problems. They are quite prepared to follow and depend on these leaders, people who do seem and or pretend to know the answers to pressing complex problems. But is this wise? No!
James Surowiecki fights the idea that group decisions can only be mad and lead to misery and that extraordinary individuals should therefore solve pressing problems. He says that the potential of groups is underestimated and the value of expertise overestimed:
"... the more power you give a single individual in the face of complexity and uncertainty, the more likely it is that bad decisions will get made".
If the circumstances are right groups can behave highly intelligent, often more intelligent than even the most intelligent individuals. Under those circumstances, groups are better at solving problems, making predictions, assessing situations accurately and deciding wisely.
The right circumstances for collective wisdom are:
1. Diversity: when arguments, views and opinions do not differ from each other they don't add anything to one another. Diversity guarantees that multiple perspectives are brought into the decision-making process and that a broader range of information is included.
2. Independence: when individual group members are strongly influenced by arguments, information, experiences and onions of others this will suppress the diversity of input into the decision-making process. This increases the likelihood of groupthink.
3. Decentralization: the chance to achieve collective wisdom is greatest when individuals get a chance to bring their own information and experience into the process. Surowiecki calls this `local experience'.
4. Aggregation: a mechanism and a process to come to an integration of the different views and opinions. It is very important to prevent there will be too much interaction before each other to strongly so that the pressure to conform may get too strong and any deviating opinions will be suppressed.
An intelligent group does not ask of its individual members to conform to the dominant view. Instead it has created a mechanism that resembles a democracy or a market. Individual group members get the opportunity to bring in their own information and opinions and are not forced to change their views. Their independence is explicitly protected.
I found this book very interesting and accessible.
The Wisdom Of Crowds: Why the Many are Smarter than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economics, Society and Nations: Why the Many ... Business, Economies, Societies and Nations(32 customer reviews)
Used & New from: £0.01