Building Smarter Teams

Thomas Malone on Building Smarter Teams

Building Smarter Teams

What if you could measure the intelligence of a group? What if you could predict which committees, assigned to design a horse, would end up with a camel, versus which would develop a thoroughbred—or a racecar? The MIT Sloan School of Management’s Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI) was set up to accomplish just that sort of evaluation. Under the leadership of its founding director, Thomas W. Malone, the center’s ambition is to put forth a new theory of group performance, bringing together insights from social psychology, computer science, group dynamics, social media, crowdsourcing, and the center’s own experiments in group behavior. The results could help business teams produce more thoroughbreds and fewer camels.

I began to imagine what it would be like to have very intelligent organizations. From there came the question, which would ultimately be the core research question of the Center for Collective Intelligence: How can people and computers be connected so that—collectively—they act more intelligently than any person, group, or computer has ever done before? When you take that question seriously, it leads to a view of organizational effectiveness that is very different from the prevailing wisdom of the past.