Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Group think and chaos

MIT has proposed a new project to make "group-think" a positive endeavor. They are getting a bunch of people, connected Wiki-style, to collaborate and essentially jointly write a business book on (what else?) collaboration.

One thought that immediately jumps out at me. What if we got everyone in the world to collaborate on a single project, similar to what MIT is doing. Imagine drawing on the skills and insights of everyone on Earth, and focusing that brainpower on a single project or a single piece of writing.

And how depressing would it be if the end-result sucked?

What would it say about the human condition?

I guess this goes to the heart of the question of where do really great ideas come from? A group or an individual? A wise person once told me that never in the history of the universe has a good idea been thought up by committee. But MIT's project here isn't about ordinary committees (or indeed, some sort of super-committee).

In Chaos, a single random event can launch of a series of other events culminating in a completely unpredicted result.

Is it therefore possible to use technology to take the chaotic inputs from many individuals and assemble them so that the end result is greater than the sum of the most valuable inputs from each individual?

I don't know the answer, but I think it is a great question and I look forward to seeing what MIT comes up with.

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