I’m going to continue this exposition where i left off in my last post. What happens when millions of people are willing to fail? Theoretically, they should have a common goal which they are trying to propel themselves towards, but it isn’t as simple as that though, is it? 20 million people chanting in unison one day doesn’t magically lead to success the next. The journey takes time, but it usually isn’t as long as one might imagine, if they’re willing to go the distance together.
I’ve briefly spoken before about crowdfunding and crowdsourcing to explore the possibilities of integrating crowd input into urban planning, development and management. Here i want to explore organizing and enabling collaborative frameworks and platforms for urban economic development.
There are many different types of collaborative frameworks for collective input. The better known of these are shared workspaces and intensive bootcamps. In addition to resources, incubators provide mentorship and exposure to an investor community. Hack-a-thons add a different flavor to temporal coordination aimed at problem-solving productivity and meetups attempt, amongst other things, at finding people who ‘click’ and unleashing their joint potential on extant or undiscovered problems primarily because studies and experiments show that people who aren’t professionally associated churn out better products and set a higher standard of excellence.
Harvard Business School recent published a working paper on online collaborations which lends some insight into the complex dynamics of online collaborations since productivity is fueled by a variety of factors and not solely influenced by money.
Wikipedia exists as a result of collective intelligence gathering, which isn’t incentivized by monetary compensation and yet retains a high level of accuracy and integrity, even when closely compared to Britannica.
The following are a few of the reasons why collective intelligence and collaborative frameworks are popping up as entire businesses, and as an internal management tool in the corporate and government sector globally.
“Knowledge is unevenly distributed in society” - Fredrich von Hayek
The expertise lying latent in any given society is staggering. Channeling that dormant talent and potential towards well-rounded, common goals catalyzes desired results at an astounding pace.
Astia CEO Sharon Vosmek recently spoke about the results of MIT’s research into group dynamics. Amongst many revelations, one important finding was that individual IQ had no correlation to group intelligence. So to put a bunch of individually smart people in a room doesn’t necessarily translate to better results. Instead, the social perceptiveness of its individual members, the evenness of its conversation and the proportion of women in any group led to a much higher group intelligence rank.
Discourse weeds out flaws and simultaneously brings transparency into any equation. People who ‘click’ disagree without begrudging anyone to identify potential problems, and therefore rank higher in anticipatory issue tests which augment the product, service or system’s lifecycle by increasing it’s lifespan.
In a structured, tested framework division enables productivity to be increased by several orders of magnitude as input doesn’t initiate sequentially. Several individuals working together yields better results, faster and more economically.
Karachi is a republic of 23 million ‘I’s with a burgeoning middle class. For any metropolis in the midst of any transformation, constant development is key as it produces a system of checks and balances which constantly realigns the city’s efforts with its goals. Context changes with time and therefore human decisions and actions cannot be extrapolated without testing and validation. What worked in the past may or may not be a barometer for success today, and vice versa. Using the frameworks above, any number of projects can be initiated in varying capacities to inject momentum. Made in Lower East Side is a small initiative which started in Manhattan, NY to revitalize shuttered and vacant storefronts into crowd fueled, temporary hubs of commerce. There are literally, hundreds of example to cite.
Collaborative problem solving and building reduces barriers and initiates the pursuit of excellence. It creates much needed momentum and results in employment, revenues, growth, training and overall excellence. Whether it is the advent of a distributed innovation platform or an open platform for property development and evaluation, the results are usually positive and their effect encompasses more than the sum of its parts.
What can we accomplish together?
The writer is a technology advisor and strategist.