Collaborative intelligence

A necessity for our organisations

The Rafael del Pino Foundation, Innovation Center for Collaborative Intelligence -ICXCI- and Dontknow organised the conference "Collaborative Intelligence: a necessity for our organisations" on Thursday 1 October 2015 at 9.15 am.

The exponential changes we are experiencing, together with digitalisation, globalisation and the complexity of challenges, make smart collaboration more necessary than ever in society, organisations and companies. But collaboration is not automatic. This conference analyses the keys to collaborative intelligence, identifies obstacles and provides specific knowledge and methodologies to implement it.

This document summarises what was discussed during the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation. The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility.


<strong><em>Collaborative intelligence. A necessity for our organisations (1 October 2015) </em></strong> Collaborative intelligence is a form of intelligence that emerges from the action of many individuals interacting with each other in the context of digital culture, according to Wikipedia. This topic is especially relevant, according to Rafael Mira, promoter of the Innovation Center for Collaborative Intelligence (ICXCI), because the world is in a moment of radical change, where extraordinary opportunities appear, but also enormous threats. To try to better understand this phenomenon, the Rafael del Pino Foundation, the Innovation Center for Collaborative Intelligence (ICXCI) and Dontknow organised the conference "Collaborative intelligence: a necessity for our organisations" on Thursday 1 October 2015. The first speech was given by Beatriz Lara, physicist and expert in innovation and digital/corporate transformation, who spoke about the ten global trends that will characterise the 2020-2030 period. This decade will be defined by one of the following three possible scenarios, depending on the response to these trends: a world in fluctuation, which is the most likely today; a very big crisis, which can be reached very easily; and sustainable growth, the best of them all, for which we have to start working now, according to Lara. These planetary trends that could determine our future are global migratory movements from poor to rich countries, climate change, the plundering of the planet and its natural resources, the energy problem, the growth of cities, the accumulation of waste, the deterioration of the countryside with the consequent disappearance of bees (these insects are responsible for the pollination of a large part of the vegetables consumed by human beings), the repression of half of the planet's inhabitants and, in particular, of women; the lack of qualified professionals to meet the basic needs of the population, such as healthcare, and digital security. In Lara's opinion, the resolution of these problems and, therefore, a sustainable growth scenario depends on everyone - governments, companies, citizens, organisations - collaborating in their solution, in other words, on collaborative intelligence or intelligent collaboration. The next speaker was Derrick de Kerckhove, disciple and follower of Marshall McLuhan and creator of intelligent collaboration workshops, who focused on the role of big data and digital technology as instruments of intelligent collaboration. Kerckhove said that 'big data' is a massive volume of data, structured and unstructured, so enormous that it is difficult to deal with by traditional means. He clarified that what it is, in reality, is a huge, connective, collective, limitless, intelligent system that has no content until you ask it a question. So the real work is not the collection and processing of that data, but asking the question it has to answer. This is the first time in history that the emphasis is precisely on the question. As he pointed out, social media data are instantaneous, real-time and specific sources for big data analysis. Big data also enables internal or external collaboration and can help organisations by allowing them to assemble data in a coherent and relevant way, identify common databases, learn how to manage Hadoop (open source software for big data analysis), select the most appropriate platform from among existing ones and find the right answer to questions. Rafael Mira, an expert in multinational corporations and collaborative intelligence, focused his speech on collaborative leadership and digital transformation. According to him, the company of the future is either collaborative or it will not be, because we are in a world of growing complexity and uncertainty in which digital transformation is accelerating the pace of change. This change affects all sectors and is changing the rules of the game. In such a situation, it is impossible for companies to identify the way forward on their own, which is why it is necessary to rely on collaborative intelligence. The problem, in his opinion, is that we do not know how to manage groups. Mira, therefore, believes that the collaborative leader must recognise complexity, must not be a leader of answers, but of questions, and must be aware that his role must be to set the big issues, open them up to more people, encourage deliberation, gather information and, finally, decide. Amalio Rey, director of eMOTools, an expert in collective intelligence and R&amp;D&amp;I marketing, spoke about the challenges and opportunities of collective intelligence for social innovation. In his speech, he defined collaborative, or collective, intelligence as the ability to collaboratively aggregate individual actions and opinions of a group into a collective decision or behaviour. From this perspective, the key question for organisations is how interconnections are designed so that collective decisions are smarter than those of the individual or an expert. For collaborative intelligence to work, Rey said, it is necessary to facilitate participation and reduce the costs of such participation for the individual and for the company, to avoid the 'herd effect' (following the leader) because it leads to collective stupidity, to choose the right mechanisms to convert individual preferences into collective intelligence, and to take into account inefficiencies, especially the fact that the larger the group size, the more inefficiencies are generated. Javier Nadal, President of the Spanish Association of Foundations, spoke of the necessary collaboration in the third sector, of which he said that it is society's response to the problems that surround us. The third sector arises from the conjunction of two impulses: solidarity and generosity. But it has limits because many initiatives are very similar and have difficulties in finding mechanisms for collaboration and cooperation. Enrique Baca, psychiatrist and chairman of the Dontknow Corporate School's scientific ethics committee, spoke about the need to better understand human beings if we want them to collaborate. According to him, in all living beings there are three things that are genetically given: (1) collaboration, which implies (2) organisation and (3) communication. What differentiates human beings from other living beings is that human beings are aware of themselves and their identity, that human language as a means of communication can be equivocal, and that a dynamic of freedom of behaviour emerges in people that allows them to make decisions about themselves. Man is the product of a very subtle interaction between genetics and the environment in which he has developed. Genetics provides the limits to development and the environment facilitates or hinders it. The result is the person and the structure it supports is the personality, which is what determines his possibilities for effective and efficient integration into an organisation. Taking this into account, for collective intelligence to work, it is necessary for people to have intelligence and personal maturity, motivation, a sense of belonging and loyalty. Leticia Soberón, psychologist, PhD in communication and co-founder of Collaboratorium, discussed how to promote deliberation around challenges and decisions. To this end, she differentiated between face-to-face conversation - which is anchored in time and space, is linear and sequential, is enriched by body language, limits the number of people and has personal biases - and digital conversation, which is delocalised and detached from time, hypertextual and disembodied. In the latter, the interlocutors, spaces and topics of conversation are multiplied and the sessions are extended at will. And although personal biases do not disappear, they can be managed and reduced. As a result, the digital conversation is richer, but more complex. The digital conversation is the starting point for collaboration, but it is not enough. It depends on what form it takes. It can be deterrence, debate or deliberation. The first two involve imposing oneself on others. The third, on the other hand, involves posing a problem in order to find a solution together. This is the most efficient way. The problem is learning to deliberate because human beings are, by nature, both collaborative and competitive. To be effective, deliberation has to overcome two types of obstacles. First, there are the personal ones: leaders' fear of losing power, improvisation and lack of understanding, egocentricity and insecurity, prejudices and attitudes of contempt. And then there are the group ones: the limitations of the tools used in the digital world, the limits involved in the sequential use of time or the complexity of some tools. Juan Mateo, an expert in negotiation and conflict management, spoke about how to inhibit non-collaboration. He explained that we are in a competitive world, but that it has a problem: competitiveness is based on the scheme 'I have to win to win'. In the business world that means a zero-sum game. Moreover, the pyramidal structure of organisations also encourages this win-win scheme. Collaboration, on the other hand, implies much more than having a common goal. It also implies that there is a price to be paid for a benefit and that it is necessary to understand why potential competitors will collaborate. The tools to achieve collaboration consist of inhibiting non-collaboration, knowing how to manage conflict, which implies understanding that what people have in their minds is the individual versus the collective, and negotiating to establish the conditions for collaboration. Agustín Cuenca, an expert in strategic innovation and digital technology, spoke of redarchy, a new way of understanding organisations, where the contribution of people is not linked to the organisational chart, but to the promotion of participation, cooperation and collaboration, as opposed to hierarchy. In a hyper-connected and rapidly changing world, organisations have to be managed by the context in which they operate, which implies a structure that allows everyone's talent to flourish. Finally, Javier Garilleti, Director of the Ernst &amp; Young Foundation and expert in strategic positioning and corporate social responsibility, spoke about responsible collaboration for sustainability. He pointed out that we face three major challenges: population growth and its impact on natural resources, inequalities in access to essential services, and climate change. But he also pointed out that we have the greatest resources and the greatest capacities to face these challenges: we live in a globalised world in which innovation is the norm, the digital world means that humanity has never been as close as it is today, and in this scenario the key element is the entrepreneur. From this perspective, sustainability is a way of understanding the management of global systems that aims to minimise imbalances in the economic, social and environmental systems. At the level of the company, which cannot be a passive actor, it implies a collaborative policy of understanding the environment, generating value for all.

The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for the comments, opinions or statements made by the people who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their sole responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio González, are the result of the debates held at the meeting held for this purpose at the Foundation and are the responsibility of the authors.

The Rafael del Pino Foundation is not responsible for any comments, opinions or statements made by third parties. In this respect, the FRP is not obliged to monitor the views expressed by such third parties who participate in its activities and which are expressed as a result of their inalienable right to freedom of expression and under their own responsibility. The contents included in the summary of this conference, written for the Rafael del Pino Foundation by Professor Emilio J. González, are the result of the discussions that took place during the conference organised for this purpose at the Foundation and are the sole responsibility of its authors.