Smarter together. It has a great ring to it, doesn’t it?
To be smarter together, to achieve more together.
Because everyone is best at something, and no one is best at everything.
Collective Intelligence is bringing intelligence together; bringing different ideas, experience and characters together – to create better ideas, solutions and results. It’s about intelligent collaboration and teamwork, where 1+1 can equal so much more that 2!
Talent wins games,
but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.
Collective intelligence is when intelligence meets intelligence and is multiplied.
And we can all play a role in making that happen – especially as a leader. In fact, as a leader, it’s part of our job. By creating collective intelligence we are making our organisations more intelligent.
An interesting study carried out by a group of scientists at MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, led by Professor Thomas W Malone, found that just putting smart people together doesn’t necessarily make the group smarter. Looking at a number of factors identified in earlier research, they found that the groups that had the highest collective intelligence had the following three factors; social perceptiveness, equal participation and a higher proportion of women. The higher proportion of women in the group was statistically mostly explained by the measure of social perceptiveness.
Simply put – the more people are able to perceive what’s going on around them (and how others are feeling) and have everyone contribute equally to conversations (not letting a few people dominate) are more collectively intelligent than other groups.
Interesting research. You can read more about it here.
Look around you in your team – are you encouraging social perceptiveness and equal participation? What else could you do to further develop/promote those skills and habits in your team? And what would that do to your results as a team? What happens when we are smarter together?
Now there’s another interesting dimension to Collective Intelligence – and that’s when we combine human and artificial intelligence – and that’s what next week’s Future Leaders Blog will be about. See you then!
The moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.
J. K. Rowling
I want….What do you really want?
A new job? A better relationship? A dog? A new car? To be happy? To be successful? To sleep better at night? To lose weight? To read a book a week?
Whatever it is, now try saying “I choose….” and whatever it is that you said you want.
It feels different, right?
Many people experience that the word “choose” is so much more powerful. It’s a real indication of commitment to say that you choose something. Maybe, when you said, “I choose….” you realised that you didn’t want it so much that you would actively choose it. Or maybe you felt very strongly about it and could feel your determination grow and deepen by the choice you expressed.
We sometimes walk through life wishing we had many things, but would we really choose them all? Probably not. The key to powerful self-leadership is our ability at any given time to make conscious choices.
Make choices to empower yourself
So, think about it – what choices are you making? And if you REALLY want something, will you make the powerful CHOICE of actually going for it?
It’s your choice. Remember, you’re more powerful than you think.
Last weekend, one of the world’s largest hackathons for women took place in Stockholm, Sweden.
The organisers were aiming to beat the world record but didn’t quite get there (it was very close!) It was however Europe’s largest ever hackathon for women. And I, Elisabet, had the pleasure of being there, watching close up what happens when great people come together to do great things.
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”
11 challenges were put forward by 10 organisations, including well-known names such as Microsoft, Gap Gemini, E&Y, McKinsey, AstraZeneca and Adyen. Women and girls (existing or budding developers and product designers) were asked to step forward and take part in the challenge of their choice.
The list of challenges included subjects like
Inspiring girls to code
Using AI to analyse images
Integrity on your own terms
Empowering women to take control of their personal finance
Better Health App
Accelerate adoption of circular economy
It all kicked off at Stockholm City Hall, an amazing building, probably most famous outside Sweden as the place where the glitzy Nobel Prize Gala Party takes place each year!
Once everyone had joined a challenge team, the work started. Brainstorming, free thinking, ideas creating new ideas – it was so inspiring to watch! They had just under 24 hours before the winner of each challenge needed to be back presenting their ideas in competition with the other challenge winners.
On jury service
I had been asked to be on the jury for Adyen’s challenge to inspire girls to code, so had the chance to see them in action. We spent all of Sunday in the recently opened WeWork office in Stockholm (the very first to open in Scandinavia). They talked, listened, crafted ideas, drew pictures, coded and finally put together their 3-minute pitches to present to the jury.
We listened with interest, asked questions and started rating their pitches in various categories. One of the other jury members was a 14-year old girl who as the target group of the challenge was invaluable in really looking at the challenge from that perspective (my teenage years are far behind me and as much as I would like to think I can put myself in their shoes her observations clearly highlighted something all the adult jury members had overlooked). Not only did she do a good job at that but she also had the ability to clearly and thoughtfully share her thinking and influence the thinking of others (all adults – such a cool and inspiring girl.
The winner of the Adyen challenge (and the jury was unanimous) was Filter () – an app that will allow the user to create their own filters by learning simple coding, hence laying the foundation for an interest in coding by making it fun, engaging and relevant. A brilliant team, brilliant teamwork – we were delighted to see them go forward to the final.
Every single person will have walked away from there richer through the insights they’d had, the people they’d met, the accomplishment they’d experienced.
And we all win because everyone who was part of it will continue to impact people around them and beyond.
Everyone is clearly a winner when this kind of collaborative effort takes place. Every single person will have walked away from there richer through the insights they’d had, the people they’d met, the accomplishment they’d experienced. And we all win because everyone who was part of it will impact people around them and beyond. The ripple effect in action.
There was of course also an overall hackathon winner, which is described like this by Soraya H Contreras, one of the idea creators: “Lucy is an innovative self-help app that takes you through life’s various stages. The goal is to give women knowledge about their bodies and their sexual health while breaking down shame and stigma around pleasure”
Great, fearless innovation – well done to this engaged and innovative team!
You can read more about the winning LUCY app here.
We love seeing people collaborate in the way represented by this event! What we can achieve when we truly open up to others, fearlessly exchange our thoughts, keenly listen to the ideas of others is INCREDIBLE. We feel truly inspired.
“It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.”
Are you a leader or want to be one? Then check this out!
This week, we want to share a short video that we made about “The Leader’s Guide to Impact”.
The book is the next in the popular series from the Financial Times called “The Leaders Guide to …..” and in this video we talk about the three important parts of the book and how they are relevant to your impact.
In this section we really make you think about the impact that you have on the world around you and those people who are influenced by you. We ask about your awareness muscle and how developed that awareness muscle is. Leadership is about being aware of the effect you have on others and that starts with your own self-awareness. How are you impacting those around you minute by minute. We all have an effect, whether it be good or not so good. So, let’s make sure we are intentional about it
In this part of the book we get into great detail on the impact you have on the audiences around you, we look at your impact on:
People who are more senior than you
Your peers or people at the same level as you
Your external stakeholders; including media/press and social media
In this section we move into the impact you have on specifics outcomes you want to create, we focus in on 4 key areas:
Change driving impact
Creating a more collaborative impact
How to drive an innovative impact
And finally, a sustainable impact, driving a more long-term sustainable business
The book covers all of these using examples, giving you tips and techniques to maximise your impact. We also spend time in each chapter explaining the impact that all of this has on the culture, your effect on the organizational culture.
It’s so important to communicate in such a way that we can reach and connect with other people, right? We all want to be understood the way we intended.
“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” John Keating
And yet, we can so easily misunderstand each other, as we all interpret words, sentences and even situations differently. We all have different lenses through which we observe and make sense of the world. And those lenses are made up by our unique experience; the challenges and opportunities we’ve faced, the insights we’ve had, the people we’ve met.
So, our ability to communicate with others is definitely one to focus on and keep developing, to ensure we are truly understood the way we intended to.
The challenge with ‘suitcase words’
‘Suitcase words’ can be a great communicative tool, as they can include so much, but that’s also the reason why they should be used with care. So, what are ‘suitcase words’? They are BIG words that could contain/mean all sorts of things – they don’t just have one clear meaning.
Here are a few examples:
If you look at those words, can you straight away say what they mean through a crisp, clear definition? Probably not. And even if you think you could, would those definitions match everyone else’s? Definitely not.
And yet we often use these words expecting them to make sense to others. So, next time you use a ‘suitcase word’, think through what it means to you and what it is you want to convey to others. Your idea of “right” and “wrong” could be completely different to the other person’s, for example.
“Words are containers for power, you choose what kind of power they carry.” Joyce Meyer
The power of ‘suitcase’ words
There are also times when ‘suitcase words’ can be very powerful and useful.
When you don’t want to give someone all the answers, but want them to explore a subject further, using their own creativity and interpretation, then these words are great on their own, without further definition. They can ignite excellent dialogues and new insights.
One such example which we recently observed was when a team wanted to think about ways they could bring real value to the company, so they decided to brainstorm what value could mean beyond what they were already doing. Here are just a few of the ways they identified they could bring more value:
Ask their stakeholders what their needs are – and what value means to them
Be proactive in sharing knowledge and ideas
Be active participants in conference calls and meetings
Review work practices to identify overlaps and unnecessary rework
And by going through that process of ‘suitcase word’ exploration, they were able to go beyond assumptions of what value was and benefit from the collective intelligence of the whole team to add more value than before.
What are your thoughts on ‘suitcase words’? How much do you use them? When is it helpful and when not? And do you have a favourite ‘suitcase word’ – and if so, what does it mean to you?