Teamwork and swarm intelligence are always hotly debated topics. But how do you overcome the group effect so that the cunning swarm doesn't turn into a stupid herd? 6 tips.

swarm intelligence

Effectively work together in the team

The Term swarm intelligence originally comes from biology. According to the motto "Together we are strong" some animal species have interesting Strategies developed when searching for food or protecting against enemies. Recently, the term has also been increasingly used to describe group dynamics.

Numerous experiments show that people achieve more together and make better decisions. However, also can fast the opposite effect occurs, the herd stupidity. At team meetings, the opinions of others are prematurely accepted, your own ideas however, hardly expressed. Social psychologists refer to this phenomenon as the so-called group effect. The desire for Harmony or conformity within a group subsequently leads to irrational decisions.

6 Tips for overcoming the group effect

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With the following six easy-to-follow tips, you can take advantage of the positive effects of swarm intelligence and counteract the development of the group effect:

1. Provide diversity

Groups in which only like-minded people work together are often and quickly affected by the group effect. In order to achieve the best possible result, the group should consist of people with different Features im Company and experience exist.

For example, at the annual hackathon where all ShutterstockEmployees Working 24 hours a day in teams on own ideas and projects, the team members come from at least three departments.

2. Reset personal

An integral part of each group is one employee who holds a managerial position. It is often the person who does it Projects, which is discussed, leads or is at the top of the hierarchy. Consciously or unconsciously, this brings its own personal Set join the discussion.

Sooner or later, the group will be influenced by their work. For this reason, the personal background in the teamwork should remain outside. This is the only way to ensure a working atmosphere in which an open exchange can take place and ultimately the best possible result can be achieved.

3. Create space for debate

Current research from the BerkeleyUniversity in California show that debate creates an atmosphere in which we thrive Attention pay attention to what others are saying and consider our own view. However, this only applies if debates are conducted constructively. The Opinions every team member counts and needs to be heard.

4. Take the role of devil advocate

In order to prevent the group effect from occurring in debates and to accept majority voting tacitly, it can be very helpful if a team member assumes the role of Advocatus Diaboli. This person should be entrusted with the task of initiating the discussion of different views, as well as to critically examine the results of the group.

5. Provide external feedback

The cooperation in the group can be positively influenced by the presence of outsiders. The first step should be cross-departmental Feedback be caught up. For example, an open room design enables employees to quickly connect with colleagues from other departments Contact to kick. Her mostly untroubled view and her fresh ideas lead to a higher effectiveness in the group. The aforementioned role of devil's advocate can also be filled more easily by external parties, since they can identify mistakes more quickly.

In the second step, it is advisable to Risks to break through the company's internal protection zone and to rely on external feedback. Especially in digital companies Industry like Shutterstock, almost everything is quality controlled with the help of so-called A/B tests. For example, selected users are presented with two minimally different variants of a product in order to check its practical suitability. Customer feedback also plays an important role at Shutterstock. become daily customers invited to give detailed feedback so that the offers can be continuously optimized.

6. Enter the individual employees

Last but not least, the Personality of the individual group members and their communication preferences are not neglected. In every group constellation there are employees who do not dare to present their opinions openly to others. Introverted team members in particular should therefore be given the opportunity to work on problem solving and to give feedback outside of the group situation.

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