Connected Intelligence in Practice

Exemplifying the principles of the Wealth Of Networks, Mobilizing Minds, and Wikinomics, organizations everywhere are implementing creative new connected intelligence initiatives. For example, InnoCentive is an e-business venture of Eli Lilly and Company (2007) that matches top scientists to relevant R&D challenges facing leading companies from around the globe. Scientific innovations are rewarded through financial incentives.

Studying challenge resolution through InnoCentive (Lakhani et al, 2007) is helping understand the dynamics of open innovation and factors in successful problem solving. Notably “problem-solving success was found to be associated with the ability to attract specialized solvers with a range of diverse scientific interests. Furthermore, successful solvers solved problems at the boundary or outside of their fields of expertise, indicating a transfer of knowledge from one field to others.” (Lakhani et al 2007, p.1)

At the Open Architecture Network
founder Cameron Sinclair is providing a platform to connect intelligences across the globe in an effort to share knowledge and develop solutions for low cost housing. Google has experimented with prediction markets to assemble connected intelligence to “forecast product launch dates, new office openings, and many other things of strategic importance to Google.” (Bo Cowgill 2005)
No doubt every reader has examples of how connected intelligence is at work in the grassroots of their organisations. ConnectedIntelligence wiki contributor Jack Vinson provided his first hand experience problem solving in a laboratory (Vinson, 2007) that was not effective using all the diagnostic tools at hand, but took a collaboration between those involved to find the solution.

Sue Mandley, a teacher at TAFE in Australia shared how she uses a Sharepoint Portal to connect teachers to their students, share student work and references, and inspire “less techy teachers to use technology in their classrooms/work areas”. (Mandley 2007)

Connecting Enhances Personal Performance

Network analysis research is also revealing how personal network structure impacts performance. Studying how top talent in organisations uses networks Rob Cross and Robert Thomas (2006) found three important aspects:
“The first is structural: High performers have a great tendency to position themselves at key points in a network, and they leverage the network around them better when implementing their plans. The second is relational: High performers tend to invest in relationships that extend their expertise and help them avoid learning biases and career traps. The third is behavioral. High performers value network and engage in behaviors that lead to high-quality relationships- not just big networks.” (Cross R. & Thomas, R. 2006)

Raytheon Executive Education goes so far as to teach understanding of social capital and networks. Their program is based on research showing the relationship of personal network structure to improved performance ratings, faster promotions and higher retention rates (Ronchi & Cox 2004). Examining on the job performance post program importantly Ronald S. Burt & Don Ronchi (2006) demonstrated “Active participation matters. The subsequent careers of executives who were quiet spectators in the (social capital) program cannot be distinguished from the careers of people in the control group- peers who never attended the program.” (2006 p. 30).

The literature also includes many studies (Andersson, 2001; Cooper-Thomas & Anderson, 2002; Droege & Hoobler, 2003) that examine the importance of social networks in helping newly hired employees learn how to do their jobs. These studies have found that getting new employees up to speed and helping them be more productive sooner and socially comfortable earlier in their careers can be accomplished by connecting them to both informational and social networks.

Next...Putting Connected Intelligence to the Test: Our Wiki Writing Experiment

From "Learning Through Participation and Connecting Intelligences: Experimenting with a Wiki to Co-create an Article:
Submission to Knowledge Tree eJournal 2007 by Jenny Ambrozek, Victoria Axelrod & Kiki Mulliner