22 January 2020

What is collective intelligence?

You know the notion that a crowd is dumber than its parts, right?

  • Research on collective intelligence has argued that central to collectively intelligent systems is the capability to engage in both convergent and divergent modes of thought, as well as to leverage the insights from reflection into course correcting changes
  • Skunkworks projects are critical to maintaining diversity and outsider thinking which in turn enable creativity
  • evolution vs exploration

Collective Intelligence in the Organization of Science

Whereas some suggest that consensus is the desirable end goal in fields of science, this paper suggests that the existing literature on collective intelligence offers key alternative insights into the evolution of knowledge in scientific communities.

Drawing on the papers in this special issue, we find that the papers fall across a spectrum of convergent, divergent, and reflective activities. In addition, we find there to be a set of ongoing theoretical tensions common across the papers. We suggest that this diversity of activities and ongoing theoretical tensions—both signs of collective intelligence— may be a far more appropriate measure than consensus of the health of a scientific community.

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