Thinking forward: How to plan for the future of your collective intelligence think tank

Bruce Muirhead
5 min readSep 1, 2020

All outfits, including collective intelligence think tanks, must grow and expand over time.

This is a sentiment that’s proven true again and again, as the push for a sense of agency in the world is something that every business seeks to tap into.

To have a greater impact is to make a bigger difference, and to make a bigger difference is to enrich the lives of more people throughout the world. This is the mantra of many collectives who seek to push thought boundaries and create knowledge as a positive process-driven think tank.

Yet a phenomenon also seen throughout the world is the drastically short lifespan of the average collective intelligence outfit, a puzzling situation that warrants further investigation.

For many collectives, the ultimate goal is to expand boundaries and venture into the unknown. However, when that unknown becomes known, the drive to go further seems to lessen quickly. Most think tanks either die out or reach their chosen goal and disband over time. The main contributing factor to this seems to be that its members have achieved what they set out to do and now desire to move on to other things.

But why not pass on the torch to those who want to push further?

It must be conceded that unique properties of collective intelligence outfits mean that it can sometimes be hard to add new members to an already fluid and cohesive think tank. Collective outfits are often formed to hit the ground running as an already very effective unit, meaning that outward growth is unnecessary for the majority of their goals.

To put it another way, growth is an afterthought, pushed to the back of the pile in favour of greater pursuits.

But this sentiment is beginning to feel quite dated.

We live in a time where thought leaders are more crucial than ever to the way we make decisions for the betterment of not just ourselves, but those around us.

In this current world climate, we can’t be satisfied with just letting our collective think tanks close up shop once they achieve their goals.

Bruce Muirhead

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