True Collective Intelligence? A Sketch of a Possible New Field

January 21, 2014 by Geoff Mulgan

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Collective intelligence is much talked about but remains very underdeveloped as a field. There are small pockets in computer science and psychology and fragments in other fields, ranging from economics to biology. New networks and social media also provide a rich source of emerging evidence. However, there are surprisingly few useable theories, and many of the fashionable claims have not stood up to scrutiny. The field of analysis should be how intelligence is organised at large scaleā€”in organisations, cities, nations and networks. The paper sets out some of the potential theoretical building blocks, suggests an experimental and research agenda, shows how it could be analysed within an organisation or business sector and points to the possible intellectual barriers to progress.