Harnessing collective intelligence

Collective intelligence is the ability among group of people to be smarter than the smartest individual in them.Harnessing collective intelligence plays an important role in generating new ideas, solving age-old problems, disaggregating and distributing work in new and innovative ways, and making better and more informed decisions about the future.Collective Intelligence is a powerful resource for creating value using the experiences and insights of vast number of people around the world.

Building a web application that harnesses the power of collective intelligence means the application is not functional when development is complete. It requires people and the collection of that intelligence to become functional. Companies that adhere to WEB 2.0 principles understand how to harness the collective intelligence to make their systems better. Collective intelligence is achieved when a critical mass of participation is reached within a site or system, allowing the participants to act as a filter for what is.


Ways to harness collective intelligence are :-

1) Be The Hub of A Hard To Recreate Data Source – This is a classic Web 2.0 concept and in this approach success often devolves to being the first entry with an above average implementation. Examples include Wikipedia, eBay, and others which are almost entirely the sum of the content their users contribute. And far from being a market short on remaining space, it’s lack of imagination that’s often the limiting factor for new players. There are much more software’s like digg and del.icio.us waiting to be created. So don’t wait until it’s perfect, get your collective intelligence technique out there that creates a user base virtually on its own from the innate usefulness of its data.

2) Seek Collective Intelligence Out – This is the Google approach. Google Search  is a web search engine owned by Google Inc.  It is the most-used search engine on the World wide web. The order of search on Google’s search-results pages is based, in part, on a priority rank called a “PageRank“. Google Search provides many options for customized search using Boolean operators. There is an endless supply of existing information waiting out there on the Web to be analysed, derived, and leveraged. In other words,if  you are  smart you can use what already exists instead of waiting for it to be contributed. For example, Google uses hyper-link analysis to determine the relevance of a given page and builds its own database of content which it then shares through its search engine. Not only does this approach completely avoid dependency on the ongoing kindness of strangers it also lets you build a very big content base from the outset.

3)  Provide A Folksonomy – Self-organization by your users can be a potent force to allow the content on your site or social software to be used in a way that more befits your community. It’s the law of unintended uses again, something WEB 2.0 design patterns strongly encourage. Allow users to tag the data they contribute or find and then make those tags available to others so they can discover and access things in dynamically evolving categorization schemes. Use real-time feedback to display tag clouds of the most popular tags and data; you’ll be amazed at how much better your software works. It worked for Flickr and del.icio.us.

4)  Create a Reverse Intelligence Filter – The Blogosphere is the greatest example of this and sites like Memeorandum have been using this to great effect. The idea is that hyper-links, trackbacks, and other information references can be counted and used as a reference to determine what it’s important is. Combined with temporal .filters and other techniques you can create situation awareness engines easily.

I just want to conclude this  by saying collective intelligence strongly contributes to the shift of knowledge and power from the individual to the collective.









4 thoughts on “Harnessing collective intelligence

  1. Hello Naresh,

    Sorry for my late comment. I appreciate your work on concluding harnessing collective intelligence. You mentioned the Google approach, which is to improve the searching mechanism by retrieving information from the existing links. Personally, I think this is more related to data collecting and analysis, and coincidentally, massive data is one of the results of web 2.0 platforms. Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, eBay… These giants are really paying great attention to data itself, as we may find lots of useful information from it. Anyway your post is good and keep on working man!


  2. Hello ishenqiwei,

    I do agree with you that these giants are really paying great attention in harnessing data and provide valuable information to users. Google uses a algorithm called PageRank that helps in ranking the web pages to match a given search string. The PageRank algorithm analyses human-generated links assuming that web pages linked from many important pages are themselves likely to be important. The algorithm computes a recursive score for pages, based on the weighted sum of the PageRanks of the pages linking to them. I just mentioned that Google uses this mechanism.
    If the user is smart enough to obtain data without depending on Google, he can get the data by himself by using existing links. I think I have clarified your doubt any let me know if I’m wrong.

    Cheers mate.




  3. Hey Naresh,
    Your post about harnessing intelligence is good and helped me in understanding about it. I would also like to add some more information that will add value to your post.
    Collective Intelligence is the aggregated knowledge, insight and expertise of a diverse group – has become a reality. As individuals become more adept and comfortable sharing thoughts and ideas in virtual spaces, companies can use these insights to address critical business challenges. Harnessing Collective Intelligence can play an important role in generating new ideas, solving age-old problems, dis-aggregating and distributing work in new and innovative ways, and making better, more informed decisions about the future.
    Cheers Naresh !!

    • Hello HariKrishna,

      Thank you for sharing valuable information about collective intelligence. I do appreciate you for your active participation and for having great knowledge about harnessing collective intelligence. Cheers mate!!

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