2011-07-14T06:52:07+01:00

Even beyond our individual skills, possibilities and limitations

Before we did the research, we were afraid that collective intelligence would be just the average of all the individual IQs in a group. So we were surprised but intrigued to find that group intelligence had relatively little to do with individual intelligence.

In theory, yes, the 10 smartest people could make the smartest group, but it wouldn't be just because they were the most intelligent individuals. What do you hear about great groups? Not that the members are all really smart but that they listen to each other. They share criticism constructively. They have open minds. They're not autocratic. And in our study we saw pretty clearly that groups that had smart people dominating the conversation were not very intelligent groups.

Anecdotally, we know that groups can become too internally focused. Our ongoing research suggests that teams need a moderate level of cognitive diversity for effectiveness. Extremely homogeneous or extremely diverse groups aren't as intelligent.

Yes. And you can tell I'm hesitating a little. It's not that I don't trust the data. I do. It's just that part of that finding can be explained by differences in social sensitivity, which we found is also important to group performance. Many studies have shown that women tend to score higher on tests of social sensitivity than men do. So what is really important is to have people who are high in social sensitivity, whether they are men or women.

--Anita Woolley

There are two interesting thoughts in this article. 1st that if we want to move further even beyond our individual skills, possibilities and limitations, we have to cooperate in a group. 2nd if the group of "A class"-know-it-all-supper-stars is not performing well, it's time to hire a woman.

What if the woman are like a catalyst in a chemical reaction? A catalyst that speeds up or sometimes even allows a reaction between a strong independent molecules. What is more important in the process? One molecule, the other or the catalyst? If we want to see the product of the reaction in a finite time, all the participating members are equally important. It just won't work without one of the component.

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