Picture this: A Startup swap-meet where the entry fee is your knowledge.
Collective intelligence has grown up in the digital age.
From its humble roots in crowdsourced ideas and small-scale think tanks, the ability for thousands of people around the world to tackle a single issue is one that’s changing the way that thought and knowledge are generated.
However, the online realm comes with its own set of unique drawbacks, and the one that’s felt the most is without a doubt the complete loss of face-to-face interaction.
Which is why it’s time for the collective intelligence industry to look to the past and create its own specialised physical forum for the good of its future.
But in a world where long-standing events are shutting down every year due to lack of interest, an innovative solution must be found to make the concept work.
The proposal is simple, an event where the attendees run the show and the only currency exchanged is the knowledge that they bring.
The immediate problem, however, is that traditional event parameters would no doubt fail to take hold in the world of collective intelligence. Therefore, a new way of doing things must be found in order to achieve a formula that works.
Add to this that commercial interests are also all too often intertwined with the provision of knowledge, blurring the lines between altruism and self-interest.
The challenges are clear, with cost and structure being the key barriers to entry, both of which are issues that are easy to point out but far more complex to solve.
However, addressing these issues is essential to getting a concept like this off the ground, and this process begins with redefining the meaning of ‘cost’.
Collective intelligence is founded on the core principle of generating and sharing knowledge
Rather than working the room and arriving at a sum that everyone agrees on, cost should instead be removed entirely from the equation.
Collective intelligence is founded on the core principle of generating and sharing knowledge, which makes knowledge itself the perfect currency for transactions within this event.
Attendees enter with questions and have their own expertise to barter with.
The beauty of this system is that it circumvents the traditional one-to-one exchange of currency for knowledge.
By placing the emphasis on knowledge as both the means and the ends, the result is a dynamic where attendees are willing to share their knowledge and expertise with everyone present, not just with a single other party in the hope that they will do the same right back.
The obvious detractions to this idea are that there would be consumers who have no intention of contributing something of their own. Yet the system denies them this by leaning on the strength of the industry itself, namely, it’s collaborative roots.
Just like in problem-solving situations, the more parties who contribute, the greater the benefit shared by all parties involved in the process.
This creates an environment where everyone is working together and the ability of a single entity or group to pursue their own ends is made next to impossible.
Structure is the next problem to be solved.
The idea of the ‘swap-meet’ is one that fits perfectly with what this theoretical event tries to achieve. It takes a step back from the structure of a festival or a convention, i.e. a scheduled system led by a driving force with its own internal goals in mind.
Instead, the swap-meet is a place where providers set up at will and answer questions freely. This opens the ability for different collectives to switch freely between the role of both host and attendee.
By decentralising control of the event, the problems of structure-based interests are mitigated as collectives act to both assist and in turn, be assisted by others doing the same.
Understand however that this concept is only destined for success if it’s adopted by willing industries.
In order for the idea of a collective intelligence swap-meet to get off the ground, those participating must be both numerous and willing to offer themselves entirely to the concept.
..like-minded people to meet and form an entirely new collective
Networking is a valuable opportunity regardless of the industry it occurs within and the potential for a forum such as this to facilitate the linking of like-skilled professionals is immense.
Just like events such as Burning Man are a means for like-minded people to meet and form an entirely new collective, this event would by nature seek to do the same.
That’s why it’s not just what is brought to the swap-meet, but what is taken away that’s important.
Just like collaborative intelligence seeks to provide knowledge to a wider community, enriching and augmenting lives in the process, so too would a collective intelligence swap-meet.
The ideal effect is that of a snowball rolling down a hill, gathering momentum and mass as it does so, drawing in more collectives looking to both learn and contribute in equal measure.
In a world where digital collectives grow and expand every day, the potential for a collective intelligence swap-meet to multiply this growth is immense.
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