What sets us apart can help bring us together under the banner of collective intelligence.
The power of diversity
Diversity is an odd concept to grasp.
It is as much a topic of immense joy and pride, as it is a brush that has tarred many cultures and groups of people throughout history.
Diversity has divided nations, but it has also brought them together just as frequently.
In fact, diversity is such a divisive topic that to simply mention it in an article will no doubt instantly raise some speculation and critical thought as to the intent and message of this writing.
But to ignore diversity in the field of collective intelligence is to ignore one of the foundational elements on which the very concept of a ‘collective’ is constructed.
Knowledge is built on understanding, something made stronger by different views, opinions, and experiences, a fact that cannot really be argued in any sensible fashion.
In this context then, diversity is stripped back to its barest function, because difference itself, not limited by concepts such as gender, education, race, or creed, is what drives diversity to be such a powerful force in the collective intelligence sphere.
Which is why the inclusion of diversity in collective intelligence begins by understanding that there is no such this as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ diversity.
The idea of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ diversity is one no doubt formulated to stifle ideas and suppress the creation of different strains of thought. This is naturally something that collective intelligence must resist with every fibre of its being.
At its heart, the potential of diversity is to approach problems and situations from a different angle, prompted by experience and knowledge specific to the entity tackling the issue.
To harness this potential, diversity must be courted in such a way that individuals are willing and ready to risk stating their opinions and sharing their knowledge for the betterment of the collective.
And to achieve this, diversity must be allowed to unfold naturally, never forced to take precedence.
If one thing is clear of diversity when looking to the past, it is that cohesion is essential to its integration into group dynamics.
Forced diversity it a loser’s game, making both the entering party and the existing group feel forced into an integration that may have naturally evolved over time if allowed to run its course.
Which is why it’s important to think about how diversity can grow your collective intelligence, rather than including it for the sake of doing so.
A failure to properly integrate different entities into a collective intelligence outfit can diminish the effectiveness of tasks and create dysfunctions that lead ultimately to problems with teamwork and other day-to-day interactions.
Nobody likes to be forced into accepting circumstances that they do not see the logic behind, meaning that diversity must have a clear purpose and goal for it to be properly brought into the fold of an existing collective intelligence group.
But by far the important factor to including a greater level of diversity in any group is to extol the virtues of such an inclusion to both parties, letting them know that this new integration will help everyone move forward to achieve their collective goal.
This is because collective intelligence is an equal playing field where everyone can contribute something. Which is why it is important to embrace that fact and never shy from its power.
The momentum created by a collaborative space in which everyone knows the worth of their own views while also being receptive to the thoughts and concerns of others is something to behold.
Do not hesitate and worry that too much freedom for expression is being given, as a strong part of what makes collective intelligence so effective is that the groups created in this industry are linked by like-mindedness or a shared mission.
This breaks down the initial barrier of ‘difference’ that many tend to point out as the antagonistic force behind Diversity in any form.
Joint purpose facilitates listening and collaboration, even when those brought together by said purpose are completely different in every conceivable way.
Never be afraid to take inspiration from diversity.
Not every collective intelligence outfit is in the proper position to include more diversity in their makeup, and that is a completely fine situation to be in.
What is important is that the door is always open should the opportunity to grow as a group ever announce itself.
Take inspiration and guidance from the best examples of diversity and use it to tackle issues and create knowledge in ways not previously thought of.
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