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Collective Intelligence: How does it emerge?

This paper discusses the cognitive, social and technological prerequisites for collective intelligence.

This paper discusses the cognitive, social and technological prerequisites for collective intelligence.

Key findings:

  • Collective intelligence emerges when there is a balance between technology, governance and joint goals.
  • Collaboration builds on our cognitive capabilities to think as we and have joint intensions.
  • Technology should make visible the assemblages of information and support the modification of knowledge.
  • Organisational models must mimic cultural transmission allowing for imitation, appropriation and combination.

The report includes a detailed case study of the Missing Maps project engages thousands of volunteers to map vulnerable areas for humanitarian intervention and disaster relief using satellite imagery and Openstreetmap, an open data-mapping platform. This is a powerful example of collective intelligence which allows us to analyse what are the prerequisites for new forms of collaboration.

We discuss the cognitive predisposition that allows humans to elaborate shared intentions, the characteristics of digital tools that support co-ordination across time and space, and the systems of governance that encourage the free transformation of knowledge.

The challenge is not only to create settings where people can share and communicate, but also to provide the means for knowledge to be made public, to be assembled, sedimented and reflected upon.

Authors

Stefana Broadbent and Mattia Gallotti

Authors

Stefana Broadbent

Stefana Broadbent

Stefana Broadbent

Head of Collective Intelligence

Stefana led Nesta’s research work on Collective Intelligence, exploring the new forms of knowledge and problem solving that are emerging from the collaboration of networked publics, ...

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