Facilitation, Group Process, Strategic Thinking

Are groups really able to “think” better than individuals?

A recent article in Fast Company says no, or probably not, or you decide…  Great article and thought-provoking for those of us that gather ideas from smart people and help craft tangible business strategies.

In my strategy work, I use decision support tools that allow participants to give simultaneous and anonymous comments using many-to-many networked computers.  This totally avoids the crowd-pleasing mentality that inhibits good ideas, as mentioned in the article.  Often, WHO says something is more important than the content value of the idea itself.  The “who said it” often shuts down the creativity of the group as much as critical challenges to ideas.

The jury is still out, and there are hundreds of studies that show better results for group process over individual ideas than those cited in the article below.  I firmly believe that anonymous, technology-assisted group process produces far superior outcomes than produced by people working alone, particularly when the strategy or issue is complex.  Effective group idea triggering consistently leads to superior strategies and solutions.

Reminds me of the old African proverb…. “If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.