Continuous business transformation strengthens organizations’ position in a rapidly evolving world. Whether they must meet economic, technological, social or cultural expectations, it often involves significant changes in structures, processes and behaviors. However, successful transformation is not an easy task. Numerous challenges and obstacles can arise along the way. To successfully transform, many companies today leverage collective intelligence.
One of these methods is to develop collective intelligence. Collective intelligence can be an essential lever in the success of a business transformation process. Those that promote commitment, collaboration and creativity of their ecosystems, create synergies to identify innovative ideas, encourage employee commitment and facilitate organizational transformation.
In this article, we explore the collective intelligence model in business and its role in organizational transformation. Finally, we will propose methods and best practices to foster collective efforts and co-construction and maximize the chances of a successful transformation process.
Collective intelligence in business: definition and key principles
Definition of collective intelligence
The concept of collective intelligence refers to the ability of a group to think and act in a coordinated way to achieve a common goal. It is similar to a crowdsourcing approach. Solutions emerge from interaction and collaboration between group members. They share their knowledge, skills and experiences to solve problems or make decisions.
Collective intelligence is based on the idea that the sum (of intelligence) is greater than its individual parts. It mobilizes human skills and resources of a group of individuals to achieve results that are more relevant, innovative and effective than what each individual could achieve alone.
The 5 key principles of collective intelligence
Collective intelligence is based on five fundamental principles:
- Transparency: Mutual understanding and cooperation requires transparency. Participants must be transparent about their knowledge, skills and limitations, as well as about information relevant to decision-making.
- Diversity: Diverse skills, knowledge, cultures and perspectives of participants fosters the emergence of new ideas and creative problem-solving.
- Inclusion: Stakeholders should be included and listened to, regardless of their hierarchical position or experience. This ensures that all perspectives are taken into account and that everyone is engaged and involved.
- Trust: The expression of ideas, risk-taking and collaboration requires an environment built around trust. Participants must trust each other and the process of working together.
- Interdependence: Participants interdependence empowers collaboration and mutual support. Everyone must understand that their contribution is important to the success of the joint project.
The business transformation process
Implementing a business transformation process allows organizations to adapt to the changes they encounter. Whether it is within their environment, their industry or their market. Business transformation became indispensable to meet new customer needs, improve competitiveness and comply with regulations. Each of which affects companies’ ability to remain competitive in an ever-changing market. However, it often is a source of challenge and uncertainty.
Organizational transformation takes on many forms. Some common focus areas are the company culture, operational processes and adaptation to new technologies. Read our article on digital transformation to dive deeper into these topics.
Sometimes, transformation involves internal reorganizations, changes in the company’s strategy or adjustments in the business model. In all cases, the implementation process requires in-depth reflection and rigorous preparation to succeed.
Take these factors into account:
- Define objectives of the transformation and communicate the reasons for the change.
- Involve internal ecosystems in the process to encourage support and commitment.
- Create an environment conducive to innovation, experimentation and risk-taking by encouraging collaboration and collective intelligence.
- Set up indicators to monitor the transformation. This is to measure the progress made and adjust the strategy accordingly.
We don’t know what we don’t know. And it’s strongly limiting senior management’s ability to identify all the relevant pain points and opportunity for growth and transformation. Thus, companies must implement a system to overcome their own iceberg of ignorance. For example, by leveraging collective intelligence.
How to leverage collective intelligence in a business transformation?
Business transformation can be a difficult transition period for managers and employees. Indeed, “55% of employees say they are not sufficiently involved in decisions about changes that concern them”. Thus, to succeed in this transition, it is important to foster collective intelligence. Here are some methods to achieve this:
Methods to leverage collective intelligence
- Group problem solving methods: collective thinking methods such as brainstorming, problem analysis or design thinking allow employees to work together to find creative solutions to complex problems.
- Recognition and reward systems: a recognition and reward system can encourage people to share their ideas. This encourages sharing and contributes to the collective intelligence of the company.
- Work groups: work groups allow employees to collaborate together on specific projects and to share their ideas and skills.
The importance of communication
Communication is essential to leverage collective intelligence in a business transformation. It is essential to communicate openly and regularly with employees. The goal is to keep them informed about the progress of the transformation process and to give them the opportunity to share their ideas and concerns. Additionally, it is important to actively listen to employees and take their ideas and suggestions into account.
According to a study conducted by the authors of “Courageous Culture” with the University of Colorado, 40% of employees surveyed said they did not feel confident enough to share their ideas within their company.
Therefore, it is crucial to set up an environment that allows for effective and open communication so that everyone feels confident to share their ideas.
In short, fostering collective intelligence as part of a business transformation can help overcome obstacles and make the transition a success. Implementing collaborative work methods and open and transparent communication can help create an environment that fosters collective intelligence.
The key role of collaboration platforms in successful business transformation
Collaboration platforms are essential tools to leverage and foster collective intelligence. They enable employees to work together in real time, share information and resources, and identify problems.
Companies overcome some of the barriers to transformation thanks to collaboration platforms. For example, by challenging organizational silos and resistance to change. Collaboration platforms enable closer communication and collaboration between different departments and teams. This results in a more open and collaborative company culture.
Consequently, it’s important to choose the right platform to meet the needs of your business and your employees. A platform that is easy to use and deploy will augment the adoptions research and as such increase the number and quality of idea contributions. Managers play a vital role in this phase too, as they must promote the relevance of participation among their teams.
Over 300 companies have chosen Agorize to reveal the ideas and talents in their ecosystems to accelerate their transformation. Based on user reviews on renowned platform G2, Agorize has been named a leader in the market of idea management software. This solutions offers a centralized space to reveal, identify and assess the ideas of teams and ecosystems. For example, those of their own employees, startups or fellow business partners.
Thanks to integrated communication tools (chat, comment sections, video conferences) participants exchange ideas and work together more efficiently. With a playful interface and features, Agorize’s IDEA BOX platform stimulates participants’ commitment. The results? Agorize clients have reduced go-to-market time from 24 to 9 months, improved processing time by 50% and achieved 3x faster skills transfer.
In conclusion, the success of any business transformation depends on a number of factors. The company’s ability to mobilize all the resources at its disposal is key. This includes leveraging the skills and knowledge of its employees. Collective intelligence offers a relevant answer to this need, provided that it’s executed such that employees are given a real opportunity to contribute.
In order to succeed in the collective intelligence approach, it is important to set up a work environment that favors co-construction. This means equipping yourself with the right platform for smooth collaboration within your ecosystem and improved collaborative work.
Adopting a collective intelligence approach in its organizational transformation process allows to leverage the benefits it offers in terms of efficiency, innovation and resilience. By encouraging the active participation of all employees, companies ensure that their transformation will be successful and sustainable.