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CORESO factsheet: Collective intelligence

What is it?

Collective intelligence is the combined intelligence of the members of a group of people, which is usually greater than the sum of the individual knowledge. This combined intelligence aims at reflecting the best thinking of the members of a group and may emerge spontaneously. However, in most cases, it requires certain catalysts that help organise such thinking and compile the resulting information for a sense of action and/or direction. CORESO has techniques that can serve as catalysts for groups of actors, small or large. Depending on the subject, size and composition of the group, different techniques are preferred.

Why should we use it?

The sum of all the intellectual knowledge coming from a group increases the likelihood of finding good ideas and convergence. Collaboration between stakeholders also saves time and facilitates the implementation of the chosen solution(s). It is a win-win approach, especially for stakeholders who may not have a direct influence on the decision-making process, as they are recognised for their contribution in the best interest of the group.

Where can we use it?

Collective intelligence represents a modular set of participatory methods that do not depend on a particular project, theme or tool. These participatory techniques can be applied face-to-face or virtually. These methods and support tools are chosen depending on the initial challenge and can evolve according to the dynamics of the participant stakeholders and their interactions. Collective intelligence methods are well appreciated in public services and social related innovations, because it can bring clarity in the representation and mapping of a complex scheme according to multiple actors with different needs, perspectives and objectives.

What are the challenges?

A key challenge being faced by all groups of stakeholders is to have a dialogue focusing on the elements that can help describing and identifying key characteristics of a given phenomenon or issue; avoiding drifting into endless discussions, less relevant details or even prevarication. To meet this challenge, it is necessary to get a good understanding of the basics by asking the right questions to the relevant actors. Both operations are far from straightforward; however, they can be addressed by using the right combination of collective intelligence scientific methods.

How we use it at CORESO?

CORESO relies on the synergy between the qualitative side of collective intelligence and the quantitative side of computational modelling to capture a greater intellectual rapport from a group of stakeholders. With the help of collective intelligence workshops, face-to-face and virtually assisted, it is possible to engage participants in a facilitated dialog to define the right questions and target actors in a proper and seamless way. This combination of methods can reduce information gaps related to the complexity of a topic, create reliable models out of stakeholder interactions, make data understandable for a solid evaluation of scenarios, promote the adoption of results and save time in reaching consensus when making strategic decisions.