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From NY Times: Solitude is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place. Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in. But there’s a problem with this view. Research strongly suggests that people are more creative when they enjoy privacy and freedom from interruption. And the most spectacularly creative people in many fields are often introverted, according to studies by the psychologists Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and Gregory Feist. They’re extroverted enough to exchange and advance ideas, but see themselves as independent and individualistic. They’re not joiners by nature.
From ALIA Institute: Tucked away in the small Appalachian community of Burnsville, North Carolina, is a family farm and a place of meeting that has recently become the new home base for Juanita Brown and David Isaacs, Co-Founders of the World Café. Together with Ashley Cooper, a young educator, community organizer, and Executive Director of TEDxNextGenerationAsheville, they are collaborating with Juanita’s 90-year-old mother and younger members from the nearby community to deepen the legacy of the farm for future generations.
From the Lift blog: The research conducted by Anita Williams Wooley and her colleagues and published in the journal, Science, reveals that the idea of generalized intelligence can be applied to teams as well. People who do well on one mental task tend to do well on others as well–across a wide range of content and methods of administration. This finding has been replicated across people and tasks for over 100 years. Wooley and her colleagues show us that this same finding is true for groups. Groups that perform well at one interdependent task tend to perform well at other tasks, across different content or methods of delivery, as well. Teams tend to develop a collective intelligence that carries over with the team from activity to activity.
From Science Daily: When it comes to intelligence, the whole can indeed be greater than the sum of its parts. A new study co-authored by MIT, Carnegie Mellon University, and Union College researchers documents the existence of collective intelligence among groups of people who cooperate well, showing that such intelligence extends beyond the cognitive abilities of the groups’ individual members, and that the tendency to cooperate effectively is linked to the number of women in a group.
From ChangeThis: “If conventional approaches aren’t working, then what should we do? Instead of attacking people’s weaknesses, we need to find the strength that is hidden inside their apparently negative characteristics. It is time to stop trying to create well-rounded and balanced employees. We need employees that are unbalanced. We need employees that are freaks. It is time to build a freak factory.”
From Venkatesh Rao: We humans are simpler in collectives than we are as individuals. We like to think there is a “whole greater than the sum of the parts” dynamic to human collectives, but there really isn’t. The larger the meeting, the dumber it is. If you find a large deliberative body that is acting in ways that are smarter than its size should permit, you can be sure its workings are being subverted by, say, Karl Rove. I’ll argue that larger thesis in a future article, but for now, I’ll just use that element of my personal doctrine to explain why I’ve been fascinated by meetings for years — they are simpler to study, understand and influence than individuals (in particular that most stubborn individual, yourself). When introspection gets to be too tiring, I turn to thinking about groups.
Thursday, September 24, 2009 · Topics: group-effectiveness
Book by Kathy Ryan and Geoff Bellman: Why do some groups achieve amazing results while most others do not? What do extraordinary groups have in common that sorts them from all the rest? What can be done to create these terrific results more often?
In 1985 Stasser and Titus published the best sort of psychology study. Not only does it shine a new light on how groups communicate and make decisions, it also surprises, confuses and intrigues. Oddly, the results first look as if they can’t be right, then later it seems obvious they are right, then attention turns to what can be done about it.