Monday, March 24, 2008

'Collective' Thinking....Collective Thinking....

Thinking about knowledge, multiple perspectives, wisdom and the like....

In retrospect, I think most of the times that I've been able to come up with a very simplified version of why something is the way it is, or what something is all about or how something works, that simplified conclusion has more often than not, been preceded by excessive rambling and collection and consolidation of information and knowledge from all over the place. Sometimes it seems like just a little bit of introspection but something tells me that introspection is a mysterious process in which the subconscious refers to all the stuff that it knows and somehow manages to quickly see through the piles of information, pull out what's most relevant and connect everything that matters to arrive at a simple explanation. Of course, this isn't a radically new discovery that I need to be awarded for but something that many people out there may have already spoken/written about. But it occurred to me this morning.....and reminded me of one of the prominent innovation methods which recommends that we adopt divergent thinking and follow it with convergent thinking to find a solution to a problem.

So, what am I getting at finally?

Point #1: More often than not, simplifying something requires accepting and absorbing and filling ourselves with loads of information and perspectives.

Point #2: With relevance to KM and Collaboration, point #1 is perhaps one of the key processes and reasons why it (KM and Collaboration) makes all the difference. When people are sincere and serious about collecting information from various nodes and encourage the bringing forth of multiple perspectives, someone in the group/community begins to see the connections, the relevance, the irrelevance etc. Someone else may pitch in at this point and discover something through such a connection. One more person then joins in and so forth. Then, somewhere down the line, it suddenly hits the entire group or maybe just one passionate person or some involved people in the group that the whole damn thing can be simplified to mean XYZ....!

Thus, a group of people who are keen to gain knowledge and not reluctant to voice their thoughts and opinions and not waiting to gain credit for themselves for things that are discovered are bound to have fun and achieve a lot. Of course, the biggest problem is that this doesn't seem to happen in organizations most of the time.....whereas it may quite happen in Internet-based communites....where there are no organizational politics, deadlines, pressures and incentives to worry about.

PS: Now I know why we use the term Collective Thinking....collect....reflect.....simplify....
;-) I heard you say..."collective means....many heads together...dudhead"


P.S said...

Good one, particularly the adoption of divergent thinking followed by convergent one.
Are you speaking from Personal Experience or reflecting on thoughts ?? ;)

Nimmy said...

hey prashant, :-)
hmmm...this is an idea i learned from one of Edward De Bono's books and some others as well, i think....and yes.....i have used it......i mean i have experienced the way it works.... :-)....(think wild and take everything that comes and then filter the stuff...)