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.