Collective Intelligence: the Antidote to Post Truth

#CollectiveIntelligence is the antidote to the #PostTruth era characterised by political manipulation & populism , media misinformation & manipulation, an absence of ethical & moral fibre that made for "good character" all of which have led us inexorably it seems to colletive stupidity. Time to turn the corner.
Collective Intelligence: the Antidote to Post Truth

In our #OECDForum #IdeaFactory I suggested that harnessing our #CollectiveIntelligence in the era of #digitalisation could be the antidote to the #PostTruth era characterised by political manipulation and populism, media misinformation and manipulation, an absence of ethical and moral fibre that made for "good character" all of which have led us inexorably it seems to collective stupidity. 

This piece by Martin Duval of Bluenove gives grounds for hope that we can start turning the corner:


By Collective Intelligence I mean the ability to:

  • tackle a strategic question or issue (within an enterprise or by a smart city)
  • get hundreds or thousands of participants to contribute to an online debate 
  • in a short time (about 2 months)
  • to co-create a concrete deliverable (action plan, set of recommendations, analysis report, etc.) as an answer

This new way to work does disrupt strategy consulting because:

  1. There are less and less people still believing that 10 experts are brighter that 10,000 brains. Not much to add to that: if you don't agree that the more people we are trying to solve a challenge together, the most innovative and impactful we can get, do not waste your time reading the following points
  2. CEOs and Top Management now value as much the quality of the solutions as the level of engagement the outcome can generate from their teams. So many great and clever strategy plans have not succeeded because of the lack of ownership by the overall organisation. Proposing a Version 1 Strategy Plan to all your employees and ask them to enrich it, challenge it, bring extra ideas, help select high potential opportunities, etc. and get a Version 2 embedding all their contributions has a lot of value in terms of speed of implementation afterwards.
  3. New consulting skills are required to manage projects based on collective intelligence dynamics. Such projects have to do with: defining an inspiring strategic question, setting a first tree of ideas, prepare and launch a 2-month long online community, become an idea 'harvester', create iterative synthesis, stimulate knowledge sharing, provide fact-checking, suggest creativity moments, organize the best synergies between online and offline collaboration, etc. Very much different from a typical strategy consulting mission made of benchmarks, interviews, analysis and producing power-points. 
  4. The final deliverable is not a standard power-point report. It would rather be an object including a detailed idea tree, tens of 'golden nugget' verbatims, a set of key recommendations directly linked with real online discussions, or even fewer ones that have been co-selected using online betting methods inspired from predictive markets. 
  5. Once co-defined, no need to communicate it ! As it has been co-built by most of the stakeholders within an organization (it can also involve outside contributors such as customers, academics, partners, etc.) there is no need to spend a communication budget to explain it and promote it. It is ready for implementation.  

For a strategy consulting budget of 200 to €500k, a CEO can now get the creativity value from hundreds or thousands of willing contributors versus the one from few experts and obtain a high quality deliverable in a matter of 3 months.

There are plenty of use cases for a Corporate collective intelligence approach to replace a strategy mission such as : post-merger to define new corporate values of the merged entities (check this other post), complete a training program involving hundreds of trainees with a co-designed action plan, co-analyze an opportunity with a 1000 contributors as an input prior to a strategy seminar involving 10 decision makers, etc. Companies such as Michelin, SNCF, Carrefour, Galeries Lafayette, Rexel, EDF, etc. have already used Assembl.

There are also 'Civic Tech' cases such as the online debate Bluenove managed for the Cities For Life conference about 'Inclusive Cities' in 2016: which led to the co-creation of this deliverable of 45 propositions you can download here.

Collective intelligence is disrupting strategy consulting but the good news for strategy consultants is that some of their skills can be shifted and used during its process ! 

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