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What is a Collective Intelligence Model?

Updated: Jul 1

Revitalising HR Decision-Making with the Collective Intelligence Model: Exploring Key Dynamics and Leveraging the Right Platform for Effective Decision-Making, Collaboration, and Success.

Every phase of human evolution has depended on excelling in something specific. Far in our past, we aimed to be excellent hunters or gatherers, successful at quickly picking berries. During the agricultural era, prosperity was based on efficient crop cultivation. In the industrial age, those with superior factories and machinery were rewarded. And now, in the information age, organisations thrive through knowledge and access to the best information.

collectieve intelligentie model

Organisations are increasingly undergoing a transformation towards collective intelligence, or team intelligence. This concept utilises the combined knowledge, insights, and perspectives of employees to tackle complex challenges and drive effective decision-making. We also see this principle reflected in Agile and Scrum methodologies. By embracing the three fundamental steps of the collective intelligence model—Crowdsourcing, Co-Creation, and Self-Organisation—organisations can be agile, engaged, and successful. These stages represent growth phases in which organisations gradually transition from passive and individualistic mindsets of employees to active and collective engagement.

collectieve intelligentie crowdsourcing

Crowdsourcing within the Collective Intelligence model

Crowdsourcing is a commonly used approach in the passive and individualistic quadrant. It is often realised through employee satisfaction surveys conducted by HR professionals. In this phase, management initiates the process by requesting information via a platform. The platform then forwards the request to the employees, who provide their feedback or input. Through the platform, management can find and follow up on this feedback. While this method can yield valuable insights, it often lacks active participation and collective ownership. The focus is mainly on individual satisfaction and contributions, thereby hindering collaboration, innovation, and the full potential of the organisation.

collectieve intelligentie co-creatie

Co-Creation within the Collective Intelligence model

As we move to the middle of the model, we encounter co-creation—a dynamic that balances between individual and collective mindsets. Co-creation involves the active involvement of employees in collaborative efforts, where they can contribute their unique perspectives and expertise. In this phase, management asks for input from employees via a specific platform. Employees give their feedback or input, and the platform facilitates communication between management and employees for follow-up. This approach fosters a sense of collective ownership and shared responsibility, fully utilising the potential of collective intelligence. By encouraging individuals to actively participate in decision-making, problem-solving, and innovation, organisations can stimulate creativity, foster a culture of collaboration, and achieve results more easily.

collectieve intelligentie zelforganisatie

Self-Organisation within the Collective Intelligence model

At the top of the model, we find the dynamics of self-organisation, driven by an active and collective mindset. Often a challenging step because the foundation may not be adequately laid in the previous stages. In this quadrant, individuals take responsibility for their role within the organisation and actively contribute to collective goals. They are empowered to make autonomous decisions and collaborate. In this phase, management takes a moderating role, while employees communicate directly with the platform. Employees request input, provide information, and follow up on this feedback through the platform. This direct interaction promotes the free exchange of information and ideas, enabling efficient decision-making and problem-solving. Self-organisation unleashes the full potential of collective intelligence, fostering innovation, agility, and long-term success. This dynamic enables organisations to respond swiftly to challenges, seize opportunities, and, from engagement, achieve extraordinary results.

To support an organisation’s progress through these phases of collective intelligence, it is essential to use the right technology. The ideal platform should provide a centralised space where management and employees can interact seamlessly. Through this platform, management can initiate requests, gather feedback, and closely monitor employee input, along with their team members. In turn, employees actively contribute, share their ideas, and participate in meaningful discussions, thereby contributing to the solution. HR professionals should strive to find a platform that facilitates smooth information exchange but, most importantly, promotes collaboration. By choosing the right platform, organisations can use engagement as a means to collectively elevate the organisation to unprecedented heights.


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