Monday, October 4, 2010

Better Informed, Better Connected, Better Decisions 202

I'm reading through Peter Miller's The Smart Swarm : How Understanding Flocks, Schools and Colonies Can Make Us Better at Communicating, Decision Making, and Getting Things Done and was pleasantly surprised to read that the U.S. intelligence community has for four years used it's own Intellipedia!
Why? Intelligence is essentially about gathering information. What Miller does so well in his book, is look at how things like bee colonies, termite mounds, and ants produce complex behaviour with simple rules. Rules that can and do work for our complex societies and organizations. The basic principles are: Seek a diversity of knowledge; Encourage a friendly competition of ideas; Use effective mechanisms to narrow your choices.
What the intelligence community in the U.S. found in the wiki software format was a way to get closer to those principles.
What we also see here is another layer to what a process such as my three pillar approach of "systems thinking"; "organizational and personal learning" and "rich social media networks" can bring to your organization--being better informed, be better connected, making better decisions.

What is remarkable here is this is the intelligence community, which is traditionally notorious for being secretive, hoarding of information and not sharing, started it's own wiki site to do just that--share information voluntarily across a highly distributed network. Yes, it is going through the natural struggles of escaping the gravitational pull of the old guard culture.On his site on " Insight, analysis, and research about emerging technologies"  Alex Howard at Radar O'Reilly does a great job in a blog post Connecting the dots with intellipedia of gathering several insights and opinions about how well this is working, along with the challenges.

What does this mean for your organization? This is yet another example of how a very complex organization with a deep rooted culture is extending itself to broad benefits of the tools of Web 2.0, and doing so so they can be "better informed, better connected, better decisions".

Check out the Daniel Pink youtube link in the post that precedes this one. There are very likely people within your organization that perhaps already have the motivation to increase your organizational intelligence through the vast array of Web2.0 tools, creating a "rich social media network" that can be a vital source of innovation and knowledge sharing that will boost your organizational performance. This already exists within your organization. The question is do you have the leadership within to tap into this vast resource of knowledge and talent that lies dormant within?

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