What is Network Intelligence?

The March/April issue of Harvard Business Review features impactful content on The Future of Leadership Development and how the training needs of organizations are evolving in order to effectively equip their future leaders, in a rapidly changing business climate.

Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, contributes to a section of the article called “Learning from People, not Classes” and his story is used to make an important distinction between what we may learn in a classroom, versus the intelligence we may have access to within our networks:

“The most successful leaders we know learn in a different way:
by tapping into what we call network intelligence.”

Keith Sawyer writes about the concept of “group genius” (or what we may refer to as “collective intelligence”) in his book of the same name. One of the most significant conclusions drawn from his research on hundreds of case studies of team collaboration, is that just because you bring a group or team of high performers together (or any group for that matter), does not guarantee that they will successfully tap into their collective intelligence or unlock the group genius that exists among them.

In fact, the primary indicator, the one thing that consistently predicts which groups are able to effectively tap into their collective intelligence, is the pattern of interactions between the group members.

When examining how members of an organization or community interact with one another, we identify three forms of what we refer to as “capital” or “intelligence”, all three of which align with the term “network intelligence” in different ways. When Insight Solutions serves clients, the goal is often for us to create an environment of meaningful interactions, which will leverage all three of these forms of capital.

Individual or Intellectual Capital is the intelligence any one person brings to the group through their expertise, education and life experiences. The challenge then becomes, how to ensure that the best, most powerful and impactful ideas are being uncovered and amplified throughout the group, when individuals come together in the form of a meeting, workshop, retreat or summit. The surfacing and spreading of these ideas often helps generate whole new ideas, which may lead to breakthroughs or exponential growth opportunities.

Social or Relational Capital is working to ensure the way in which groups of people are brought together is done at the highest levels possible, in service to both the individual and the group, in  a way that enables people to meaningfully connect with one another. This environment then helps to unleash the power of what might be possible when a group of amazing individuals are brought together to have meaningful dialogue, share experiences and crowdsource ideas.

Communal Capital is the macro level potential that exists when a group of like-minded people begin to deeply connect around a shared sense of purpose and values, ultimately choosing to co-create the future of their organization. They become stewards of their own destiny, creating future visions of what opportunity areas they will support and how they will organize resources to support their own growth and impact on the community.

These three forms of capital exist in all groups, teams, communities, organizations, etc., however, the unfortunate reality is that too often when groups come together, the environment and agenda of activities does not support or create the opportunity to effectively tap into this collective intelligence or group genius. As a result, the impact of the convening may be lessened or become a lost opportunity to uncover and breathe life into the next big idea.

At Insight Solutions, we design experiences that create the necessary interaction patterns for groups to unleash the power of their collective intelligence. We apply this approach to meetings, workshops, summits, retreats and conferences, where the investment in bringing groups of people together are significant, but the opportunities that exist among them are even bigger.

We help our clients perform at their best, by tapping into these opportunities.

Contact us to learn more about how our approach can change the way you bring your people together.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.