Collective Intelligence – The Evolution of a Time-Tested Concept

A borrowed portion of a well-known quote by Forbes Magazine founder, Malcolm Forbes, — “…the art of thinking independently together” — is an enlightened way of saying, “Two heads are better than one,” an expression many of us have likely heard all our lives and benefitted from its application. The basic concept is not new but has evolved into a trending approach to collective brainstorming and problem solving – referred to as Collective Intelligence.

Expanding on the “two heads are better than one” idiom and the principle of synergy, the foundational concept is that collaborating individuals can achieve problem-solving capabilities and a level of intelligence beyond the abilities of any individual member of the group.

The most efficacious collective intelligence emerges from groups whose participants have a wide range of skills and perspectives and when decision-making is distributed within the group rather than allocated to a single individual “leader.” Superior results are reliant on effective communication and coordination of efforts, along with the collection and synthesis of information from diverse sources, which may often involve the application of technology.

Collective intelligence can be a valuable method for problem solving and strategic planning within small groups, businesses, communities, or globally. It is increasingly considered an essential tool in addressing issues such as climate change and other scientific issues that may require collaboration across multiple organizations and even nations. Examples of collective intelligence are also found in nature where interactions within groups of birds, animals, and even insects result in complex, adaptive behaviors that benefit the group as a whole.

Our Exit Planning Peer Advisory Board is a perfect example of the use of collective intelligence. Business owners bring their challenges to the table – whether related to business growth or exit planning – and share knowledge, experiences, insights, and ideas, based on the many decades of business ownership experience represented around the table. With the support of their peers, all participants benefit.  Challenges are discussed and dissected. Solutions are brought forth in ways that may not have been considered on one’s own.  And the cycle doesn’t break once an idea emerges and is implemented.  In fact, as the individual group members and their companies improve operations and grow, the organization becomes a stronger, more valuable resource for existing participants and other business owners who come on board.

Our Peer Advisory Board is an effective and efficient way to build your business and your future simultaneously, all because of the results of the collective intelligence approach we have been implementing for years. As one of our members affirms, “One of the greatest benefits of participating in the Exit Planning Peer Advisory Board is being able to talk through business challenges with a group of your peers who are usually facing, or have dealt with, the same issues.” Contact me if you’d like to learn more about this innovative way to grow your business and create your future, or to attend a meeting as our guest to see for yourself.

Bob Zarlengo is a certified exit strategist and CPA. With more than four decades of experience in public accounting, his expertise in financial reporting, income and estate planning, and tax compliance makes him a valued and trusted advisor to his clients. 

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