Objective of Collective Intelligence = Get the support of all
Collective intelligence is a generic term for a set of methods and protocols to run more efficient meetings and workshops, animated by one or more consultants acting as facilitators.
The facilitator is at the service of the group before serving the project: he designs protocols to structure and animate the discussion and to lead the group to the expected results. Protocols erase the egos, engage each participant, creates the atmosphere and the framework for everyone to fully contribute in the process of collaborative construction, and mindfully participate in accordance with himself. Collective intelligence methods open up a great space of freedom so that each personality, each individuality, each “I” can express itself in a environment ensuring the comfort and the security of the group, the “WE”. Collective intelligence assumes that there is no “WE” without “I”.
The facilitator unleashes the potential for creativity, cooperation, collaboration and joint decision of a group. This role is particularly important in the context of managing long projects, or in the process of change management, because caught in the whirlwind operations, a team does not always take the time to create and maintain the adherence of all its members.
Success = Relevance x Acceptance²
The success of a project is equal to its relevance and the acceptation by both internal and external stakeholders. A project will be a success, certainly if it is relevant, but above all if it succeeds in obtaining the adhesion of all. It is the co-construction that makes it possible because the project becomes everyone’s which encourages the engagement of its stakeholders in the implementation of the decisions which result from it.
The 10 principles
To enable this co-construction and the benefits that result from it, collective intelligence methods are based on 10 main principles:
- The circle: as far as possible we systematically settle in a circle since it makes it possible to place each one equal to the other, and to focus the attention of the group;
- The roundtable phrase: “The first person who wishes to express himself do so and parole turns in a clockwise direction”. Each one, in turn, is free to express his ideas or not on the question or the subject which calls the turn of speech, and agree not to make aside or cross talks;
- Everyone acts in full sovereignty: each person is responsible for his words, actions, emotions and participation. Words make sense, we choose them carefully. Everyone speaks in the present and speaks from his own perspective. It is often said that you have to speak intentionally and listen carefully;
- Clarity and conciseness. Everyone agrees to express their ideas in a clear and concise manner in the respect of the timing. If necessary, the facilitator can ask for help to rephrase words clearly and briefly;
- Ideas are put in the centre: everyone offers his word in the group. Participants are not talking to one person and debate between individuals must be reduced as ideas and opinions are there to be expressed not judged;
- Ideas add up: when expressed by one, ideas must add up in a constructive way and not fight each other. It’s not about having to choose who’s right or wrong and to let alone a winner and a loser at the end. All ideas are not meant to merge into one unique idea, and differences can live together;
- The objections must be argued: an objection is not a preference for one option over another. It is a constructed argument that explains why the proposal made to the group may jeopardize the common project.
- There is no truth: each participant must let go of the belief “I am right, my idea is the best”, and to accept the different opinions with kindness and look for the best option that will bring together the group with a minimum of objection. Non-judgment is the golden rule. The goal of is not to know who’s right, but to make decisions that take into account the legitimate needs of each and proceed from an ethic that inspires team spirit;
- The ideas belong to everyone: participant must let go on the ownership of ideas and avoid repeating what has already been said. People and their ideas are dissociated. In collective intelligence, ideas become the property of everyone as a group.
- Benevolence posture: optimism and enthusiasm are key behaviours from participant so they can express themselves with sincerity and refuse undercover languages.
In accordance with these principles, the consultant facilitator is the guardian of the circle, the group gives him his confidence to maintain the framework and enforce the rules. His role is to keep everybody throughout the workshop. Collective intelligence is a process of continuous improvement, both collective and individual. It is therefore important to be tolerant of oneself and other members of the group. Once again, cooperation is neither simple nor intuitive.