“Two brains are better than one.” This magical expression divides an individual task into a partnered exercise–a great way to delegate part of the work and safeguard it against potential fallacies of a solo flyer. The same logic invites multiple people into a bubble of creativity by virtue of the popular activity of brainstorming. Collective intelligence tells us, after all, that collective intelligence is greater than individual intelligence.


What makes this machinery tick? It turns out that “social sensitivity,” or the ability to read each other, is positively and significantly correlated with collective intelligence. In particular, the individual lowest social sensitivity had more impact than each of:

  • the individual highest social sensitivity
  • the average social sensitivity
  • the group social sensitivity


It’s not surprising, given that to get the benefit of all minds, they must be linked enough that their output is interpreted the same way by all members of the collective. It’s like the idea that communication is not about what you are saying, but what the listener is hearing (to paraphrase from some wisdom shared with me by a former boss).


So, for the love of collaboration, let’s get smart about ourselves and each other.


[Image source: iStockphoto]





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