Individual Intelligence Vs Group Intelligence

Any combination of individual intelligence does not make an intelligent group, no matter how logical it sounds on paper.

The ‘A’ Players, the cream of individual intelligence, bring in drive, integrity and the ability to mentor, but all of which is not possible without the collective effort of other players of the team, who are not A players.

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The A Player

Many stories have a lone person, who is unknown but eventually becomes a hero due to his years of toiling and getting success. We like to think of this ‘heroic’ feat as something done exclusively by the hero.

The role of the team, the other people that are not in the frame is often overlooked. Any important achievement cannot be done alone, and if we look closely, a person is a product of the education system, society, environment, luck, the internet and a lot more.

The job of a leader is to get the right team, which according to an estimate provides three times more output than an average team.

The work of a leader isn’t as simple as hiring the best talent, and merely putting smart people together as a team is not an effective strategy.

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Succumbing to the Availability Bias

After a particularly stressful event, most people prepare for a repeat of the same challenge they just faced. From the micro level to the macro level, we succumb to the availability bias and get ready to fight a war we’ve already fought.

We learn that one lesson, but we don’t expand that knowledge to other areas. Because we focus on the specific details, we don’t extrapolate what we learn to identifying what we can better do to prepare for adversity in general.

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Collective Intelligence

While looking for solutions and answers, we find that an individual provides a different answer than a group of people. Wisdom of the crowd is often considered better, as an individual might be biased, manipulated or have some ulterior motive. Depending on the problem, the wisdom of the crowd may be inferior to the individual.

Joel Mokyr
“Technological progress requires above all tolerance toward the unfamiliar and the eccentric.”

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