In 2006, Gartner predicted a shift toward more collaborative working models for businesses. Eight years later, it looks like they were right. Collaborative intelligence is part of every successful business model, emphasizing the value of collaborative decision making.
By definition, Wiki says: Collaborative intelligence characterizes multi-agent, distributed systems where each agent, human or machine, is uniquely positioned, with autonomy to contribute to a problem-solving network.
A more in-depth definition reads: Collaborative intelligence characterizes the attributes of cross-disciplinary problem-solving teams – a distributed group mind at peak performance in solving creative problems, dynamics that occur when people from different disciplines with diverse skills, agendas and priorities produce outcomes that a majority of participants and stakeholders in the process view as more effective than what independent individuals, or single discipline groups, could have produced alone. A method to guide processes that require collaborative intelligence can benefit from tools, such as evolvable templates, problem-maps, online process tracking, improved search, visualization and decision support.
Now that we know the definition of collaborative intelligence, let’s look at some of the characteristics and skill sets that make an outstanding, collaborative team member.
1. Willingness to collaborate
You are willing to engage with others for mutual benefit, or to help get to a specific goal.
2. Willingness to share
Are you a knowledge hoarder? These are people who believe that their value is their knowledge and to share it would diminish their value, when it would actually increase it.
3. How to build trust
One of the ways trust is built is through sharing. Also being consistent in your words and behaviors and following through on what you promised helps with trust, as does knowing how to deal constructively with disagreements.
4. Understanding team dynamics
The most critical factor for success (by far) is the team or project leader. Their ability to understand the dynamics of their team is critical for success.
5. Hubs, bridging and networking
Are you a hub, bridge or networker? A hub is someone who everyone talks to, a bridge is a person that connects to two or more groups that don’t normally interact with each other and a networker is someone who knows how to interact.
6. Mentoring and coaching
The role of coach is to guide someone through a process to a goal. Mentoring is a bit different. It is the willingness to share your knowledge and experience with someone who requests it. It’s also a way to foster someone to help them achieve more. These are critical skills in a collaborative environment.
Flexibility in thought is critical for collaboration. Processes are great, but people are messy. Things rarely turn out the way you expect and you need to be flexible enough in your thinking to adapt to any changes that come your way.
Overall, collaborative intelligence can serve as a great predictor of where relationship problems might occur, who would be the best to lead a high performance team, or which people have the most influence on different groups.