How collective intelligence practices can help keep companies stay afloat against COVID-19

Decentralise or die

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It’s no great secret that we’re in uncharted territory with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Companies that live to see the end of this crisis and beyond will, without a doubt, be changed forever by its impacts. Whether it’s a crisis plan readily put together by all departments in case of a future outbreak or a renewed push for a workplace that’s driven by digital collaboration, controlling circumstances is of the highest priority. Which is why these factors and many others weigh heavily on companies now and very likely will be central to their success in future.

Decentralising the structure of traditional businesses and promoting autonomy not guided entirely by top to bottom governance is seeing many companies through the rough seas of this crisis.

Adaptation is the natural state of all companies who experience some kind of hardship that directly impacts how they do business. Think of examples like restaurants, cafes and bars opening their kitchens to provide take-home meals, or industrial part suppliers refitting 3D printers to create much needed medical supplies.

The sad truth is, however, that some businesses will find it harder to adapt than others. Whether through the rigidity of their corporate structure or the industry they exist in, many operators throughout the world will inevitably close their doors before COVID-19 heaves its last dying breath.

But there is hope for companies struggling to change their ways to better fit with the current climate.

Decentralising the structure of traditional businesses and promoting autonomy not guided entirely by top to bottom governance is seeing many companies through the rough seas of this crisis.

Although, it may be less the case that companies are embracing these virtues and more that factors such as social distancing and working from home are forcing them to take another look at how their entire operation functions.

Regardless, help for those struggling to decentralise can be found in an unlikely, yet powerful source of inspiration.

The collective intelligence industry has been built on the practice of decentralised contribution, and its practices have the ability to help other businesses adapt effectively.

Collaboration is the name of the game in the collective intelligence world. So much so that it’s best to think of it like a sports team in both its structure and mission.

Just like a sports team, a collective intelligence outfit seeks to empower each individual to contribute their best for the betterment of achieving some predetermined goal.

Perhaps another analogy better explains the difference between traditional corporate structure and the makeup of a collective intelligence group.

This idea of a decentralised workforce, given the freedom to act for the betterment of the conglomerate it exists within, is a radical departure from the corporate practices of old.

In a traditional corporate structure, the role of those not at the top of the company is likened to that of a cog in a machine, reliant on those around them to do as they do for the betterment of all.

Collective intelligence outfits instead arrange their members like links in a chain, freestanding entities that while being reliant on others to form a whole, are much more focused on how they specifically can benefit the mechanism they are part of.

This idea of a decentralised workforce, given the freedom to act for the betterment of the conglomerate it exists within, is a radical departure from the corporate practices of old.

But, it’s strength is in its ability to open up the forum of exchanging ideas and building strategies, getting the most out of every person who works within a business, no matter their place or role.

When considered in this way, it’s almost as if the collective intelligence industry was made to operate in a crisis such as COVID-19. A structure that gets the most out of every individual, employing not only their labour but the ideas, input and knowledge that they bring to the table as well.

Which is why companies struggling to adapt would do well to meld these practices into their everyday operations.

Something as simple as crowdsourcing ideas from employees (a core practice in collective intelligence), can bring previously unthought-of yet incredibly successful strategies for survival to light.

Decentralised peer review structures also have the potential to spread out the burden of adaptation amongst multiple parties within a company, without necessarily lessening the effectiveness of the decisions made.

Fostering new kinds of intrinsic collaboration between professional departments that, in a traditional corporate structure, would never have interacted other than to pass information back and forth also has great potential.

The key now is to take a step back from desperate attempts to prevent the fragmentation of a workplace as employees are stood down or moved into an online setting, and instead look at how this can be made a strength instead of a burden.

Because, as collective intelligence practices have evidenced and continue to prove, with the right thought and adaptation put in place, even a fragmented workplace can be just as if not more effective.

Stay on top of the collective intelligence trend

Ingredients for Successful Crowdsourcing: Crowdsourcing for policymaking combines the aspects of knowledge gathering and democratic deliberation and in this way, provides a path for knowledge-sharing and space for public debate that can impact policy creation

As Coronavirus (COVID-19) worsens, there has been a surge in demand for collaboration tools: Mindhive is offering organisations free Premium+ during COVID-19 pandemic

On the front lines: Digital Herd Immunity: How collaborative work software is changing how we fight pandemics. How to find the right problem to solve and create the right solution to solve it.

Pandemic fatigue: So why are so many people already sick and tired of hearing about Coronavirus?

The Future Lies In Our Collective Intelligence: How human knowledge and machine learning have the potential to combat fear. Is machine learning now more important to collective intelligence than those who created it?

Seeing an opportunity: An upside to being a part of Mindhive is collectively generating ideas, problem-solving and learning with a really interesting community of people from around the world. What are you curious about?.

How I can help: ‘I had nothing to offer anybody but my own confusion’ We make the road by walking.

Bring the crowd with you. Colombia has been in a state of civil war for more than 50 years. And recently, they rejected peace.

More here: Mindhive Insider Blog. Sign up to Mindhive here.

Written by

Mindhive | ex — Eidos, Boilerhouse, Basement, Margaret Marr | Speaker, Author | Bringing the shared economy to problem-solving #collectiveintelligence

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